A community of practice approach to enhancing academic integrity policy translation: A case study

Alison Kay Reedy, Penelope A.S. Wurm, Amanda Janssen, Alison Lockley

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    Introduction: Academic integrity policy that is inaccessible, ambiguous or confusing is likely to result in inconsistent policy enactment. Additionally, policy analysis and development are often undertaken as top down processes requiring passive acceptance by users of policy that has been developed outside the context in which it is enacted. Both these factors can result in poor policy uptake, particularly where policy users are overworked, intellectually critical and capable, not prone to passive acceptance and hold valuable grass roots intelligence about policy enactment. 

    Case description: The case study presented in this paper describes the actions of a community of practice (CoP) at a regional Australian university to deconstruct and translate ambiguous academic integrity policy into a suite of accessible academic integrity resources that were intelligible to staff and students, and which assisted academic staff to consistently enact policy. The paper narrates the formation of the CoP, the tangible and intangible value it created, the social learning practices enacted by its members, its grassroots policy work and the material resources produced from that work. 

    Discussion and evaluation: An evaluation of the CoP was conducted using a value creation framework to explore its immediate value, potential value, applied value, realised value, and reframing value. These values were considered at each stages of the CoP’s lifespan. The evaluation was a useful process that demonstrated the wide-ranging value created by the CoP. Six insights were drawn from the evaluation which promote understanding of the value created for a university by a CoP, particularly in contributing to academic integrity culture over a sustained period of time. 

    Conclusions: This paper contributes to a research gap on specific examples of discretion within rule-based systems. It illustrates how academics and members of the CoP used their discretion to interpret and enact academic integrity policy within a higher education setting. Drawing from the evaluation of the CoP we argue for greater understanding of the grass-roots contribution of academic and professional staff to academic integrity policy translation and enactment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number12
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalInternational Journal for Educational Integrity
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021


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