Policies are there for a reason

SAIT is a huge organization. In such a big machine having policies and procedures in place helps the wheels turn relatively smoothly, although sometimes it seems to cause them to slow down a huge amount.

 

I recently had an experience where I had to reference the Policies and Procedures handbook at SAIT, something I never really thought I would have to do. In our program, we review all of our exams with our students. We do this because one of our main purposes at school is to prepare them for a final government exam, so reviewing the exams helps us, help them get better at writing that style of assessment. During take up of the exams we always enforce a strong position of no electronic devices. We do this so that the exams do not become compromised and we can use them (or something close to them) for the next group of learners. While reviewing my final exam, I was in an auditorium style room, which is great for teaching, but a little bit tougher to keep an eye out for cellphones. I took the exam up like normal with no issues. After I was done we took a break, and during the break I received an email from one of my students stating they typically don’t rat on people, however somebody in the front row was taking pictures of the exam during the exam take up. Obviously, this is quite a serious accusation which needed to be handled appropriately.

 

Luckily there is a great support system in place including, but not limited to, colleagues and academic chairs. I chose to go talk to my academic chair about the situation really quickly and he quickly emailed me the section of the policies and procedure that deals with this type of academic misconduct. This type of offense is up to the teacher’s discretion how far up the ladder they choose to take it, so he left it in my hands. Taking the applicable policies into account and discussing it with the instructors who are also teaching the same group, we came to a decision. We had no proof about the photo taking, so we decided to address the entire class all at once. We just took the opportunity to remind all of the students in a non-confrontational manner about the strict policies we have against academic misconduct. In addition, afterwards we did individually address it with the accused student to make sure he understood the consequences “IF” he had done this. I guess we will never know the truth, but I feel like as an instructor group we did the right thing in this case. We utilized the existing policies and procedures to point out the importance of our action and potential con=sequences in the classroom.

 

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