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Academic Integrity & Plagiarism

Myth Buster

 Do students cheat more in an online environment? Actually, not necessarily. 

  • Assume that students want to be honest and do NOT want to cheat, rather than vice versa
  • Cheating in ANY environment (in person or online) is more likely when: 
    • instructors have not taken steps to encourage academic integrity
    • students are in high stakes situations
    • there is an increased opportunity for misconduct

Academic Integrity Declaration

A simple, yet effective way to reinforce Academic Integrity is to request that students sign an Academic Integrity Declaration for each assignment or test. 

Make sure to discuss the form with the students, pointing out that each student is personally committing to uphold the values of academic integrity by signing the form. Explain clearly what behaviours are expected and which are prohibited. Clarify if needed. 

Here are two examples that you can use as is, or adapt to your specific course : 

Going Remote with Integrity

Webinar from University of Calgary

Academic Integrity - what can you do?

Academic Integrity Strategies video by Kristie Dukewich

Overview of Kristie's 13 tips: 

1. Have a dialogue about the importance of Academic Integrity and review the Policy 

2. Build rapport with your students; students who feel a connection with their instructor are less likely to cheat

3. Create cultural norms and expectations around Academic Integrity 

4. Be clear about what is and what is not allowed; check for understanding

5. Make sure students know exactly what your expectations are 

6. Signal to students that academic integrity is important to you, for example by including an academic integrity declaration

7. Ask for work with summative assessment

8. Scaffold assignments

9. Use smaller late penalties

10. Create assignments that are relevant to your students

11. Change assignments and exams regularly

12. Confront a violation, but without anger; instead appeal to a student's values and sense of self

13. Report the violation; this signals to students that you are serious about the issue


More tips (with thanks to the University of Waterloo)

  • Avoid high stakes assessments (30% or more); instead use a number of lower stake assignments
  • Keep the time needed for assessment questions or tasks reasonable
  • Add extra time for students who require special accommodation
  • Avoid using open test bank questions where answers can be found online
  • Explicitly state that the assessment is open-book
  • Randomize the response options on multiple choice questions
  • Offer multiple quizzes with the lowest one being dropped
  • Show only one question per screen to reduce the likelihood that students take a screenshot to copy the exam questions
  • Point out available support services  (academic advisors, online tutorials, library reference (AskAway), tutoring, WriteAway, etc.)