Academic Integrity: The Student Partnership Approach – Keynote Presentation Slides

Quality and Qualifications Ireland have established a National Academic Integrity Network which is doing great work in Ireland to raise awareness of academic integrity and the related challenges. They invited me to deliver the opening keynote presentation for National Academic Integrity week and I was able to talk about a topic that’s been at the forefront of much of my recent activity, working in partnership with students.

You can see the slides I used below (and also on my SlideShare account).


In the keynote, I shared lots of examples of how the sector approaches student academic partnerships, including the very first activity of this type I can remember being involved with as part of the Birmingham City University Student Academic Partners Scheme back in 2010.

Much of my recent activity in this area has been working with students as research partners. I have seen so many interesting new findings developing through this route and my biggest regret is that I haven’t yet found homes for all of the research.

There are many other ways to work with student partners, including involving students in academic integrity decision making processes. I do recommend that everyone explores the opportunities available at their own institution.

Creating An Engaged Student Community Through Hackathons

A large proportion of my recent working life has been focused around looking at improving student experience and student engagement. As part of this, I’ve been introducing students to hackathons, usually programming collaborations and competitions where students get to work in teams to develop software and solve problems.

There have been multiple different strategies used to accomplish this, but key has been encouraging students to attend external hackathons, as well as putting on internal hackathons as safe environments for students to participate in. There has also been an element of internal hackathon and programming training, designing to help students to enhance their current skill levels.

I had the opportunity to present some of the progress that we’ve made in this area alongside Liam Sorta, one of the student mentors who has been supporting the project, at a Learning Lab.

The slides for the hackathon presentation are available for access online. These can be viewed on my SlideShare account, or you can also see the slides below.

One of the main successes from the hackathon strategy came from running BCU Hack, a 24 hour hackathon on 29 February and 1 March 2016, where students stayed overnight to work to develop products matching the overall theme of “Take A Leap”. Several sponsors also attended and/or supplied prizes, so students worked to complete challenges that the sponsors had set. The overall standard of software produced was high, particularly from the overall winners, who created an innovative online site designed to help students to learn Python programming.

The presentation was well received, with visitors from other universities sharing their experiences with hackathons. There was also a discussion about how hackathons could be held across disciplines and how hackathon like events could be held for other subjects, including music.

Importantly, the value of hackathons for improving student employability, developing a portfolio and making contacts, was considered. Hackathons are clearly a valuable way for universities to introducing course defining experiences for their students.