Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Dr. Keith Miller


Dr. Charles Granger

Dr. Helene Sherman

Dr. Amber Henslee


One benefit of inculcating professionalism into engineering degree program curricula is a measure of the extent to which future practitioners adopt an engineering code of ethics (Abaté, 2011; Davis, 2006). Studies have indicated more dishonesty among engineering students than other groups of undergraduate learners, but the effects of technology on dishonesty in the classroom was not addressed (Bowers, 1964; McCabe et al., 2012). An explanatory, sequential mixed methods study was designed to explain to what degree course pedagogical practices and attitudes of civil, architectural and environmental engineering students of various academic levels (freshman/sophomore and senior) relate to academic dishonesty. The design allowed for the collection of quantitative survey data from engineering students and the instructors who teach those students through self-reports of attempted dishonest behavior, perceived descriptive norms and descriptions/definitions of the behaviors by both students and their instructors and reporting the consistencies and inconsistencies between the two groups. Additionally, instructors were surveyed for the courses in the program sequence of courses which connected the two courses under study to determine student attitudes, intentions and actions as well as instructor perceptions of the same behavioral characteristics based upon Ajzen’s (1991) theory of planned behavior.

Overall freshman/sophomore engineering students (n=31) described the 12 academically dishonest behaviors as less dishonest than graduating seniors (n=52). There were five statistically significant differences in attempted dishonest behaviors between the two student groups. Perceptions were also significantly different. Senior students perceived dishonest behaviors similarly to instructors (n=6), for 11 of 12 dishonest behaviors while freshman perceived higher rates of dishonesty than the actual self-reports.