OU UN – The Open University and partnership

UNODC and The Open University are partnering to support anti-corruption, integrity and ethics education in universities

Why study this course?

This certified, five-hour online training course provides an accessible and inspiring introduction to the teaching methods and ethical concepts that underpin the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative. Providing practical support for educators in universities, it aims to develop the capacity of lecturers to successfully incorporate anti-corruption, integrity and ethics teaching into the curriculum.


NARRATOR Education for Justice is an exciting global initiative that aims to support the rule of law by promoting a culture of lawfulness at all levels of education. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime launched the Education for Justice initiative in 2019. It forms part of its Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration. This integrates Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice into the wider UN Agenda. Education for Justice seeks to facilitate and promote teaching on issues related to the UNODC’s mandate areas, including anti-corruption, human trafficking, cybercrime, criminal justice, as well as integrity and ethics.

This interactive course aims to inspire you to engage with the Education for Justice Initiative and to assist you in utilising the teaching resources on Integrity and Ethics. Drawing on these materials and other resources, you will be introduced to some of the many interactive activities and case studies that form the backbone of the Integrity and Ethics Modules.

These engaging activities are designed to enable your students to engage actively and critically with integrity and ethics issues. The activities and case studies were developed by leading academics from around the world and are informed by five core teaching principles, which you will be introduced to during the course.

The core teaching principles are based on the latest education research and can be used to help create effective learning environments. Awareness and understanding of these core principles will increase your confidence and capacity to make the most of the engaging teaching activities. These are the foundation of the Education for Justice resources. You will be able to enrich the integrity and ethics teaching in your university. We hope that you will find this course insightful and that you will be inspired to support the Education for Justice initiative by adopting the materials on integrity and ethics for use in your university.

Innovative interactive teaching methods

This course will introduce the core learning principles from educational theory research that have informed the design of the E4J Anti-Corruption, Integrity and Ethics Modules. Applying these learning principles will help you adapt and structure the E4J materials to create an effective learning environment for your students.

Promoting ethical capabilities through experiential learning

The course will help you get the most out of the many experiential learning exercises that form the bedrock of the Anti-Corruption, Integrity and Ethics Modules. These activities help develop critical thinking skills, ethical decision-making capabilities and motivate students to become committed to ongoing ethical improvement.

Teaching Exercises

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Gender Equity

Students are asked to find a job advertisement for a role they would be interested in applying for. They use the “Gender Decoder for Job Ads” tool to review the wording of their chosen job advertisement and then they answer the following questions:

  • Consider how this tool and the Ethics of Care would direct you to rewrite the advertisement to ensure it is more gender neutral. What words did you change?
  • Are there any words in the Decoder (used in the original research) that you would question, or you feel are missing? Explain why that is.
  • Reflect on what you learnt about your own biased use of language.

Finally, facilitate a class discussion drawing on their responses. As an alternative, you could conduct an exercise in which students transform sexist or discriminatory phrases into inclusive and gender ethics-based language.

Case studies

There are three categories of exercises for lecturers:

  • Case studies that can be used for the subject of professional ethics
  • Case studies that specifically address role morality
  • Additional exercises

To prepare for using case studies as a teaching methodology, lecturers can consult the short but informative “Leading Case Discussions” from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Discussion questions are provided for all case studies, but if lecturers identify a need to review ethical theories with students, they can begin discussion by asking how different theoretical ethical perspectives would analyse the problems, and then ask how students would analyse the discussion questions. The case studies and the exercises lend themselves to a variety of teaching techniques, including individual and group-based discussion, debates, and role plays. Debates are well-suited to students who are hesitant to express their personal views, because students are expressing a view that they do not have to defend as their own personal view. Role plays are well-suited to creating awareness of the variety of persons and interests involved in ethical issues and may also help to create empathy.

Reception on values

After a short brain-storming on important values, distribute cards to the students and ask them each to write on the card one value that is the most important value in their life. Ask them to imagine that they are at an opening reception of a new programme and must introduce themselves to the other students by referring to the value on their card. Their card is their business card. They must go to others and present themselves by explaining their guiding value. After short mutual introductions, they should walk to others, to make new contacts.

Exercise Behaviours

The first three exercises are surveys that could be completed as part of the class preparation process. The students should answer all questions as honestly and naturally as they can as there are no right or wrong answers.

Survey 1: Own versus others’ behaviour

A very reliable empirical result is that people tend to be self-righteous, believing that they are more ethical than others. Recent research has revealed that this effect is nuanced, such that people tend to be especially confident that they are not as unethical as others.

Survey 2: How much?

This survey asks students to indicate how much they would need to be paid for performing a number of different actions and reflects the existence of five different basic moral foundations. Although individuals may value some foundations more than others, almost everyone recognizes the importance of each foundation.

Survey 3: Investment adviser demonstration

This demonstration illustrates the concept of ethical awareness by asking students to imagine that they are investment advisers who are considering four mutual funds, one of which (Fortitude Investments) is the Bernard Madoff feeder fund (the fund that was the largest Ponzi scheme in history, to date). Case study: Ethical beacon Students are asked to think of the organization or society that seems most ethical to them. This would be an organization or society that is an ethical beacon that the students might want to emulate, and they are asked to focus specifically on what the organization or society does to turn its ethical principles into daily practices.

How to uncover community corruption

Before or during class, assign students to read The Guardian’s article Nine Ways to Use Technology to Reduce Corruption and watch France 24’s video Tech24: Meet Rosie, the A.I. Bot helping to detect corruption in Brazil. Then put students into small groups to create a new use of technology to combat corruption in their community.

Lecturers may wish to assign similar videos and articles from local media that might be more relevant and interesting to the students.

Students can be very creative, especially with new technologies and social media, and it is likely that they will see uses for new technology and systems that lecturers may not. Technology access will vary by region and country, but students all use text messaging, apps on smart phones, and Facebook, Instagram, or their equivalent. Use this exercise to foster the students’ creativity and connect the issues of corruption to their online world. What some students will create may be surprising and interesting; lecturers choose whether to share all or some of the examples with the class.

From ideas to action: development of a roadmap

The students nominate one of them to play the role of a newly elected president in a country where citizens are highly unsatisfied with the work of the government and suffer from systemic corruption (the students can also choose the country). The president is committed to improve the governance and to reduce corruption, but he/she needs to figure out the best approach to do so with the help of his/her citizens.

After the students nominate the president, divide the rest of them into groups. Ask each group to develop a roadmap, including guidelines of how to improve the quality of (good) governance and reducing corruption in a country. Then each group should present its roadmap in front of the class. The president should ask questions and choose the best roadmap at the end of the exercise. The lecturer should facilitate the discussion and help the president formulate the criteria for selecting the best roadmap.

"I am corruption" – where do you stand?

After introducing the topics of the Module, walk into the middle of the room and announce: “I am corruption. Now, on the basis of me being the actual embodiment of corruption, I want you all to get up from your seats and arrange yourselves accordingly. Please proceed to whatever part of the room you wish. And then please stay put and remain silent.”

Students will likely hesitate and give each other sideways glances. If they do not react to the instructions as stated above, the lecturer may wish to clarify as follows: “We are conducting an experiment here. You must imagine right now that I am corruption – that corruption is here, now, right where I am standing. On this basis, you must position yourselves wherever you want in the room.” Give students a minute or two to position themselves, remind them not to move once they have found their place, and then once everyone has stopped moving, begin the following two-step debrief.

The first step is to ask the class as a whole: “Why have you chosen this particular place in the room?” Usually several hands go up, but if not, the lecturer may simply call on students at random. It is important to reframe students’ responses and ask “is that right?” to give them a chance to fully formulate and confirm their reasons for standing or sitting where they are, and for other members of the class to better process those reasons and begin reflecting on their own. In a class of 15 students or less, it is possible to have an exchange with each student, most of whom will only require 5-30 seconds to give their responses. Students who are called only later, once others have shared their answers, will tend to take less time to give their responses, many simply echoing others who came before.

After exploring several responses to the above question, the second step of the debrief is to ask a number of students to relate their position in the room to their definition of corruption. For example, “Mr./Ms., you mentioned that you are standing far away from corruption in order to escape or keep a safe distance. Why? What are you implying that corruption means or is?” “Mr./Ms., you stated that your close proximity to corruption reflects an interest in courageously standing up to it. But what do you understand it to be? Why is it important to stand up to it?” “Mr./Ms., you chose a position that allows you to critically observe corruption. Why is that important to do? What do you understand corruption to be? Why must it be observed or monitored?”

Supporting the global E4J initiative

The Education for Justice initiative has brought together hundreds of lecturers and academics from across the world to support the work of the UNODC in promoting a culture of lawfulness. While UNODC’s work traditionally revolves around law enforcement and crime prevention, the organisation recognises that a culture of lawfulness can only exist when societies and individuals are guided by principles of integrity and ethics. This course is designed to help you get involved in this global effort.

DONHATAI HARRIS: I have quite high hope for these modules.

ABIOLA OLUKEMI OGUNYEMI: I’m hoping that lecturers, the faculty, would find it easier to put in ethical content in their courses, even if they don’t normally teach ethics. And I’m hoping that will have an impact on the way the students see themselves and live their lives beyond their practice or the professions that they do.

DIMITRI VLASSIS: What we’re looking forward to is your using the modules that are being developed, and inspiring your peers to use these modules also in education.

JAY ALBANESE: Coming up with these E4J modules that will be available open access globally gives instructors and students a tremendous advantage. We have experts here at today’s meeting from 30 countries around the world, and there are many others who have contributed to these. So, whether you’re teaching in Kazakhstan, South Africa, the US, or anywhere else, you’ll have access to the combined knowledge of a lot of people globally.

NIKOLAS KIRBY: The advantage of these modules is that they’re tailored specifically to people and to courses that are not about ethics primarily. They’re about the various topics for which ethics is a part, a crucial part, of this story.

RICHARD LUCAS: What we’re trying to be is a framework where all people can use bits of this stuff.

CATHERINE ORDWAY: There is a wealth of information there so that they can pick and choose and really tailor something that’s going to resonate well for the students that they have in their class.

DONHATAI HARRIS: The exercise, I think that’s our strongest point.

NIKOLAS KIRBY: You’re able to communicate with your students, not merely didactically by taking a lecture and trying to communicate it in a very one-way typical traditional fashion, but actually engaging in a series of exercises and practices, such that the students learn through doing, not just from hearing.

ZUCHENG ZHOU: I can imagine that many people will benefit from that.

RICHARD HARRIS: Every once in a while, one of them will come off to me and say, you know, that class I did on ethics, it actually helped me this week.

CATHERINE ORDWAY: I feel optimistic about it. I think they are so exciting.

How to access the course

This course was designed by the Open Justice Centre and UNODC and is hosted by The Open University.

Your questions answered

To promote high quality anti-corruption, integrity and ethics education

At the end of the course there is an optional knowledge assessment. This is a great way to check your understanding of what you have learned in this course and a chance to obtain your Open University digital badge. Full details on the assessment and the badge are given in the Conclusion section.

This course has been designed for 5 hours study, but you can complete the course at your own pace, and you can re-visit it any time.

Getting the most from the anti-corruption, integrity and ethics resources

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The course was designed by UNODC and the Open Justice Centre and is hosted by The Open University

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