Educational institutions rely on academic citizenship behaviors to construct knowledge in a responsible manner. However, they often struggle to contain the unlawful reuse of knowledge (or academic citizenship transgressions) by some learning communities. This study draws upon secondary data from two televised episodes describing contract cheating (or ghostwriting) practices prevalent among international student communities. Against this background, we have investigated emergent teaching and learning structures that have been extended to formal and informal spaces with the use of mediating technologies. Learners’ interactions in formal spaces are influenced by ongoing informal social experiences within a shared cultural context to influence learners’ agency. Building upon existing theories, we have developed an analytical lens to understand the rationale behind cheating behaviors. Citizenship behaviors are based on individual and collective perceptions of what constitutes as acceptable or unacceptable behavior. That is, learners who are low in motivation and are less engaged with learning may collude; more so, if cheating is not condemned by members belonging to their informal social spaces. Our analytical lens describes institutional, cultural, technological, social and behavioral contexts that influence learner agency.
International Journal of Educational Integrity, 2021, 17 (5)