Regulation is an important aspect in learning about anti-corruption. Students should first learn their national anti-corruption laws and the appropriate associated guidance and procedures. Each lecturer should provide at least the key elements of the national regulation. In some countries, there are many laws dealing with corruption. Rather than provide all the legal texts, professors may decide to give out internet links to them and discuss their key aspects in class. A key message for the teacher to convey should be the risks associated with the use of corruption both at the firm and individual levels.
Furthermore, students should learn about the regulations in other countries that nevertheless influence their country. This is especially the case when an anti-corruption law has an extraterritoriality component. For example, the 2012 UK Bribery Act posits that non-British firms with interests in the UK have to respect UK regulations.
Finally, students should have a basic understanding of the international laws and conventions related to the matter. Very often, the international regulations have been implemented in a country’s domestic laws against corruption. However, this is not always the case.
The most authoritative international and national sources of information and statistics about corruption and the fight against it are the following:
The analysis of regional and national content is useful method for understanding and explaining corruption. Although there are a good number of case studies, both in business and public administration, few sites offer systematic geographical coverage of world regions. Moreover, an additional problem is that in several instances, case studies do not deal specifically with corruption, or they treat it in a poorly critical manner, thus providing poor educational contribution. Some possible solutions to this problem are:
One of the striking features of corruption is that it presents a high degree of cultural variation in its causes and in the public perception of the phenomenon. It is recognised by a flourishing literature, especially in the field of anthropology, which stresses the magnitude of the variations and challenges the customary wisdom that corruption has similar ethical frameworks worldwide.
The problem of managing these differences may easily emerge when teaching on anti-corruption, as different and perhaps conflicting moral standards may surface according to the socio-cultural background of students. The following is a list of possible ways to deal with cultural differences:
The closing segment of a session depends on the teaching style of the lecturer, the type of students, and the type of course being taught. It is important to allow about ten (10) minutes for this closing segment. During this time, the teacher should summarise what the session has been about and indicate how this has met the objectives of the session as stated from the beginning. At this stage, the lecturer could ask the students for any questions or comments.
Some academics close their sessions by means of a minute paper, which often entails asking the students to each write down the most important thing they have learnt during that session and their most critical unanswered question from all the sessions so far. This could have a disadvantage over simply doing the same thing orally, since it means the teacher will need to go through all of them later on in order to ensure that nothing is left unanswered.
Alternatively, the teacher could ask questions that prompt the students to summarise the session themselves, recall the objectives, or discuss the practical applications of what they have learnt. If it was not already included in the course outline, it might be useful to give them some reference material for further reading on the topic of the session – for those who may be interested in knowing more about it than what was covered in class. Also, the lecturer could let them know that if they have challenges in future in applying the learning, they could come back to him or her, especially if they are faced with real-life anti-corruption dilemmas.
In addition to the above, the teacher could give the highlights for the next session or assign material to read or an exercise to carry out before the next session.
Finally, due to the sensitive nature of the topic of corruption, the lecturer could remind students that they can contact him/her to discuss any matter related to the course. If the class is hostile, the lecturer could ask some students to stay back in class to share their feelings about what happened.
The topics of an anti-corruption course could be very sensitive for many students. Hostility could result from a feeling that the session is judgmental in tone, especially if in an environment where corruption is widespread and some or many of the students have been involved in it in the past. Another source of hostility could be feelings of insecurity about what is expected from doing a course on anti-corruption. Therefore, lecturers should keep in mind that it is not a personal matter – more likely it is the topic that is arousing hostility.
To deal with an antipathetic class, try the following:
Many theories exist to understand student motivation that can be applied to a specific anti-corruption course. To motivate students, Fink stressed that one should design the course to increase student engagement and learning (2003). With a learning-centered and integrated course design, students will be more engaged in the learning process and thus motivated. The action-orientation and peer coaching components in the “Giving Voice To Values” curriculum (described below) can also encourage student engagement.
Rather than developing a course that is solely focused on corruption content, one needs to design an anti-corruption course integrating the situation factors, learning goals, learning activities, and feedback/assessments.
For the situation factors, lecturers may need to collect information about the kind of students studying anti-corruption, their expectations, and the nature of the information to be taught. For the learning goals, scholars should decide as soon as possible what they want students to learn in the field of anti-corruption. Fink has proposed a taxonomy of significant learning which could be a course design guide (2003):
For the learning activities, the main principle is to select activities that allow students to reach the pedagogical goals. This Toolkit provides many learning activities.
For the feedback and assessment, an interesting idea is to design them as a teaching tool (Wiggins, 1998), which not only gives an evaluation but educates as well. The reader could refer to the assessment section of the Q/A section for more information.
Fink, J. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences: an integrated approach to design college courses. Jossey-Bass.
Wiggins, G. (1998). Educative Assessment: design assessments to inform and improve student performance. Jossey-Bass.
A final assessment is summative and is carried out at the end of the teaching period. The results are used to evaluate the students. Assessing students’ performance follows a 3-stage process:
Lecturers should be particularly cautious about reliability and validity. Since a corruption course could have complex learning outcomes, academics should pay attention to having clear criteria and standards of evaluation.
The backwash effect refers to the fact that lecturers generally see learning outcomes as the central pillar of the teaching/learning system, while students see assessment as the most important part (Ramsden, 1992). Students learn what they think they will be tested on (Biggs and Tang, 2007). To resolve this issue, some authors have proposed implementing a constructive alignment between learning outcomes/teaching/learning activities/assessments. In an anti-corruption course, the assessment could be problematic if some learning outcomes are linked to the moral development of the students. Therefore, lecturers should be careful when linking assessments to learning goals.
One potential way to address this concern is to use the Giving Voice To Values approach to pedagogy (described below). Since this pedagogy revolves around asking students to develop well-researched, well-reasoned, and realistic approaches to enacting ethical and values-driven objectives that are stated/given in the case assignment, the faculty member can assess the rigor, clarity, and soundness of students’ work without being placed in a position of assessing their characters.
Plagiarism is also an academic problem related to assessment. Many students do not see it as a moral issue. A compulsory final written exam could be a solution. Wiggins has also suggested that assessment becomes a learning opportunity (1998). In such a case, the assessment allows the student to learn, not only to get a grade.
Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for quality learning at university (3rd ed.). McGraw Hill.
Ramsden, P. (2003/2010). Learning to teach in higher education. Routledge.
Wiggins, G. (1998). Educative assessment: design assessments to inform and improve student performance. Jossey-Bass.
Feedback to students could be oral or written, individual or for groups. One should give feedback in terms of explicit criteria. It is necessary to say in advance which are the characteristics of a good piece of work for an assignment.
There are some basic principles of effective feedback:
Give your feedback promptly and at the right time.
Nowadays, many universities have implemented systems of formal feedback on and evaluation of courses. Such feedback and evaluation could be used to improve learning activities. To make this possible, it is necessary to first define the learning objectives and what assumptions are being made.
There are several means of evaluating the success of a lecture and gaining useful feedback. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but it provides a brief overview of possible options:
At the beginning of a session it is essential to gain students’ attention. There are several effective ways to open a lecture. The following list of opening techniques is by no means exhaustive, but it provides a brief overview of possible options: