ASUCR’s Student Voice Committee conducted their second case study following the success of their first one conducted in March. The committee’s overall goal is to amplify student voices at UCR and to ensure that they see their concerns are listened to and heard by faculty, staff and administrators. 

Mark Hanin, director and vice chair of the Student Voice Committee, explained the overarching purpose of this second case study. He highlighted his pursuit to understand the experiences of students with group chat services, considering the surge of their usage with the prominent transition into remote learning. The committee aimed to determine how students benefit from these services and whether they should be retained come this fall. The second case study and survey also looked at the impact of cheating on such services, given the idea that students rely on group chat services to commit academic misconduct. Hanin best explained the purpose of the case study stating, “I was hoping for this second case study to serve as a mediator of some sort by explaining both sides of the issue with group chat services.”

The committee surveyed 405 respondents and had a total of 12 case study participants from a variety of backgrounds. Beginning with the question of group chat usage, 75.5% of the survey respondents and 91.7% of case participants expressed that group chat services are beneficial and should be in use when in-person instruction returns come this fall. This majority expressed how group chat services were invaluable to their learning experiences as they helped them connect with other individuals and allowed them to remain engaged with course instruction.

Onwards with the question of academic misconduct, 12.2% of survey respondents stated outright that they have been academically dishonest on an assignment or exam, while 12.8% of survey respondents stated that they would not wish to answer that particular question. The remaining 75.0% of students reported they do not commit academic misconduct. 

The case study, however, revealed a number of conclusions regarding this latter question. Students generally did not know their rights if they were ever involved in a case with academic integrity and were unsure of where to go online in order to access a list of those rights. Students generally attributed their reasoning behind committing academic misconduct primarily to outside pressures, such as familial expectations, the fear of failure and low grades, as well as a lack of substantial time to prepare for exams and assignments. 

Students expressed that counseling is needed to combat cheating, although there appeared to be a debate on how this counseling can be delivered. Some students expressed that attending tutoring sessions rather than outright counseling can be one way to combat cheating while others expressed that understanding the reasons why students cheat, such as looking into their mental health, housing status or financial situation through private sessions, is another way to combat cheating.

With the success of the first case study and the completion of this second one, Hanin expressed his desire “to continue disseminating the results as widely as possible to all administration groups, faculty groups, student groups and staff groups on campus so that it brings our campus community closer together.”