FAQ

faq

Where can one find the most important laws against corruption?

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.

Where could one get statistics about corruption and anti-corruption?

The most authoritative international and national sources of information and statistics about corruption and the fight against it are the following:

Where does one get national/regional content (such as local cases)?

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:

  • Encourage students to develop their own cases. By providing a sound introductory education to the causes, consequences, and features of corruption, it is then possible to expect that each student develop his/her own case based on experience and knowledge. Attention is needed, however, to take this option through the end of the course in order to ensure that sufficient knowledge has been achieved.
  • Confront existing case studies with media coverage. By encouraging students to select an existing case and work on it critically, it is possible to strengthen analytical skills and greatly enhance sensitivity to the issue through comparison with media coverage (TV, internet, printed publications).
  • Organise case study competitions. This is an efficient (but long-term) method that increases access to national and regional content. By organising and sponsoring prize-winning contests of integrity-related case studies, it is possible to involve more participants and also to increase visibility of the educational project in general.

How could one manage cultural differences in understanding corruption?

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:

  • Principles of morality: The issue of different moral statements about corrupt deeds must be taken into account, considering that the ethical principles about integrity that are generally taught are not necessarily accepted in all societal contexts or may assume conflicting meanings. At the same time, underlying universal principles, such as the need to avoid harm to others, should be discussed and applied to the varying contexts.
  • Case studies: It can be particularly effective to teach using case studies that take place in the countries from which the students come. However, these case studies should be analytically and critically examined.
  • Discussion on cultural features: The class should stimulate discussion about comparative cultural features such as, for instance: values; importance attributed to family and kin ties; gift giving, reciprocity, hospitality; and so on.
  • Simulation scenarios: One possible way to take advantage of cultural differences in teaching anti-corruption is by arranging simulation scenarios set in different cultural contexts. In these, at least one participant should come from that cultural setting.
  • Public discourses: One method to deal effectively with cultural differences is to stimulate discussion about how the media and public discourse of a particular country treat corruption. Reading articles from national/regional media and commenting on them can help in detecting cultural nuances on the topic and its transmission in society.

How does one close a session on anti-corruption?

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.

How would one deal with a class that is hostile towards anti-corruption?

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:

  • Remember that not everyone in the class is hostile, even if it seems so.
  • Empathise with them – if one knows ahead of time that an audience might be hostile, it may be good to find out what kind of comments to avoid that may antagonise them further and what could show that you understand their feelings.
  • Be cordial throughout and speak with sincerity. Acknowledge that not everybody thinks the same way about these things. Listen attentively to their comments and try to address every issue they raise. At the same time, be firm and give good reasons for the points you are trying to pass across.
  • Avoid being defensive. Pass questions around the class – i.e. ask someone to respond to someone else’s question. Try to make them reflect on the issues themselves.
  • Maintain good humor. While not ignoring anyone, focus on the ones in your audience that seem least antagonistic. This will help you to overlook frowns, lowered brows, heckling, or any other signs of hostility from others. Ignore negative body language – people slouching in their chairs, working on their Blackberries, etc. If someone is openly disruptive, e.g. holding a side conversation during the class, politely and firmly ask him or her to desist.
  • Start and end the session with an expression of readiness to continue discussing these issues individually with anyone that wants.
  • If things get out of hand and as a last resort you are forced by the students’ disorderliness to end the session earlier than planned, still end it with cordiality and perhaps indicate a willingness to revisit the issues at a later and more propitious time.

How could one motivate students to learn anti-corruption?

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):

  • Be clear about the foundation knowledge that is required from the students in order that they understand anti-corruption from various perspectives.
  • Try, with the students, to apply this knowledge to specific situations using various means such as case studies.
  • Make sure that the students integrate the knowledge and are then able to apply it to different contexts, for example bribery in emerging countries/developed countries in a multinational corporation/SME.
  • Make sure that the anti-corruption course will be an opportunity for students to learn something about themselves or about how to interact with others in corruption situations.
  • Accept the existence of different feelings, interests, and values regarding corruption and that potential changes could take place.
  • Teach students how to learn about anti-corruption during the course and after.

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.

How would one develop the final assessment at the end of the course?

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:

  1. Setting the criteria for assessing the work
  2. Selecting the evidence
  3. Making the judgment to as to whether the criteria were satisfied (Biggs and Tang, 2007)

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.

How could one give feedback to students?

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 positive information first. Explain what they have done well. Good news should be clear, specific, personal, and honest.
  • Give information regarding what the students have done poorly. Bad news should be specific, constructive, kind, and honest.
  • Suggest ways in which their work could have been improved.
  • Do this in a way that respects the individuality and worth of each student.
  • End your feedback on a note of encouragement.

Give your feedback promptly and at the right time.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of teaching an anti-corruption course using e-learning?

ADVANTAGES

  • The advantages and disadvantages of teaching an anti-corruption course using e-learning are connected with advantages and disadvantages of e-learning as a whole.
  • The major benefit of e-learning is flexibility. Thus, students can take classes anytime and anywhere. E-learning also allows students to have more flexibility to schedule their learning programme. They are able to work and learn at their own pace. Furthermore, students can be more active in the learning process and therefore benefitting from a deeper learning approach.
  • Furthermore, e-learning saves time and reduces costs for educational institutions and students. It can also be easily managed for a large group of students.
  • Finally, an e-course can be updated easily and quickly.

DISADVANTAGES

  • Students need to have access to a computer and the internet.
  • They must also be highly motivated and responsible, as all the work is done on their own. They therefore need to have discipline to work independently without assistance.
  • Another disadvantage of e-learning is that students may feel isolated and unsupported while learning. E-learning does not provide enough interaction among students. That could be a problem for those who like to discuss and communicate during class time. Also, a major problem with an anti-corruption e-course is that students may not be willing to share their views on such a sensitive subject.
  • Another constraint for academics could be the time that they have to spend in preparing specific materials for the e-learning platform and in interacting with students.

How could students give feedback about an anti-corruption course?

 
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:

     
  • Self-reflection: After a lecture, it is important to reflect realistically on what students have learned and what could be improved upon with regard to content and student activity.
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  • Feedback during the lecture: During a lecture, students could be asked to name two things they liked about the lecture, two things they found difficult, and two ways in which the lecture could be improved.
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  • Feedback after the lecture: After a lecture, students could be requested to ask questions and or to contribute to discussions using a web-based learning environment, as well as to provide feedback on the lecture. Alternatively, students could be asked to submit comments on the lecture via e-mail.
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  • Formal student questionnaire: A questionnaire gives students the opportunity to evaluate and to comment on specific aspects of the lecture, including its clarity, pace and relevance.

How does one open a session?

 
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:

  • Testimonial: Quote an influential person and/or celebrity the students know of/respect.
  • Evidence: Present interesting statistics or other data on the importance of anti-corruption and corruption prevention.
  • Anecdote: Tell the story of someone directly affected by corruption.
  • Statement: Make a bold and powerful statement on the importance of corruption prevention.
  • Example: Give an example of a firm or a person whose life was affected by corruption.
  • Question: Ask a challenging question that requires students to think hard.
  • Activity: Engage the students in an activity, such as a role play.
  • Surprise: Start with a suspense-building or unpredictable sentence that hits with surprise.