Achieving Academic Integrity

Achieving Academic Integrity

Academic integrity and responsible behavior are a part of the learning and teaching conversations, no matter the course modality (online, hybrid, or face-to-face setting). A productive way of thinking about academic integrity is through the “focus on prevention and education over-policing and punishment” (Sopcak, 2020).

Explore the following approaches and methods which emphasize prevention and education:

Communicate early and frequently

  • Remind students of your course’s purpose, value, and relevance to the field of study and the professional world beyond academia. Emphasize how academic integrity matters inside and outside of the profession. For example, why is integrity important for engineering? How do integrity, honesty, and responsible behavior have a direct and vital impact on the quality of life of all people?
  • Draw real-world connections between academic dishonesty and its consequences; for example, disingenuously learning essential engineering functions could lead to disastrous design flaws. 
  • Normalize integrity by articulating clear expectations about responsible behavior and consequences for cheating, both inside and outside the classroom. Require a signed academic integrity statement at the beginning of the semester or, better yet, invite students to revise and add to the prepared academic integrity statements.
  • Provide constructive feedback. Do not only focus grades but on the courage to admit what one does not know and the determination of one to learn. Encourage a similar exchange in small groups, where students can practice informal learning.
  • Weave academic integrity throughout your content. For example, as part of your online discussion structured around a business case-study, challenge your students to think of ways in which fraudulent decisions impact the company’s history, culture, and well-being. 

For more information and tools, use the Communication Instructional Strategies page.

Promote academic integrity throughout your course

  • Place a direct link to the Online Learner Support page prominently in your course. This page includes essential information such as sections on Promote and Preserve Academic Integrity and Improve Your Academic Success.
  • Clarify what students are and are not allowed to do during an assessment: for example, you are allowed to ask questions of the instructor if confused or unsure; you are not allowed to seek assistance by posting quiz questions in the discussion forums.
  • Prominently place the academic integrity statement at the beginning of the assessment to emphasize responsible behavior.
  • Include a question that spells out the academic integrity requirements and asks to abide by them: “I understand that this exam requires that I give my answers and do not share, collaborate or use third-party websites and resources that provide exam answers. I understand that my instructor can use the statistical tools incorporated into Canvas to track my engagement with this exam.”
  • Include a question at the end of the quiz to encourage students to think about their learning progress: “List three concepts on which you performed well in this assessment and three concepts you will need to revisit for better learning. What will you do differently next time to prepare for this type of assessment?” This type of reflection encourages honesty and is indirectly related to academic integrity.

Design your course with academic integrity in mind

  • Include your course-level learning objectives and align them with your assessments. For example, upon course completion, students will be able to recommend a course of action using appropriate statistical calculations. The project must require a proper skill demonstration that connects directly to a course of action using relevant statistical calculations for a given scenario.
  • Whether you design a multiple-choice quiz or an essay to assess this particular skill in your students, you must be mindful and evaluate their ability to recommend and use appropriate calculations. Model academic integrity with your course design to accurately assessing what you are asking students to be able to do upon course completion. Check out the CELT Course Worksheet to help you plan your course.
  • Break more substantial assessments into smaller and more frequent quizzes or exams, which allow students to practice retrieval and re-organize and retain knowledge. The more opportunities for retrieval and practice, the better for knowledge organization as students organize and re-organize new concepts and fit them with the bigger picture of their knowledge. This practice leads to lesser temptations for cheating.
  • Provide options for demonstrating what students know: when you optimize individual choice and autonomy, students are motivated to stand up to the challenge, show their knowledge, and be less inclined to cheat. 
  • Ask students to contribute to the design of your assessments. For example, ask them to provide questions to the multiple-choice assessment.
  • Promote authentic learning with alternatives to a traditional exam that call for higher-order thinking skills (presentations, case study analyses, annotated problem sets, a series of lower-stakes quizzes, etc.). Review the varied alternative assessments.
  • When using Canvas Quizzes, consider implementing these practices:
    • Give exams in a limited time window.  You may need two windows spaced 12 hours apart to accommodate students.  
    • Allow the exam to be open book, open notes. See the Open Book Exam strategies page.  Then, have students submit a PDF or images of their open notes as a part of the exam.
    • Give a series of shorter exams or quizzes to reduce the time available for cheating.
    • Use the Canvas quiz tool to give exams with the order or questions and answers randomized, use the question bank feature to give a unique quiz to each student, do not allow backtracking in Canvas.

Respond when cheating occurs

  • Dishonest behavior may happen in any course, even when you practice prevention and education. Turn such instances into teachable moments: have an individual listening session with a student, listen to the student’s side of things, and restate your expectations about dishonest behavior.
  • Depending on the gravity of the offense, proceed following the Academic Misconduct guidance

Promote engagement and inclusion

  • Throughout the design and delivery of your course, encourage students to engage with you, the instructor, peers, and content. It is harder to cheat after forging engaging connections with the instructor, peers, and content.
  • Use varied instructional strategies to help students practice and demonstrate their skills.
  • Use and model the appropriate tools for completing different academic tasks, from information gathering to assessment. Tools help to break up complex tasks and make them appear doable.
  • Provide honest, detailed, and helpful feedback to guide learning. Your honest feedback gives your students an idea of where they stand in terms of successful course completion; your useful feedback allows them to take actions and correct the current course.
  • Teach in ways that are equitable and inclusive in an online environment

Explore academic integrity resources at ISU 

Support and Guidelines

Policies

Departments

Tools and Online Testing

Extend your learning

References

Sopcak, P. (April 27, 2020). Restorative practices for academic integrity. The International Center for Academic Integrity. Retrieved from https://www.academicintegrity.org/blog/restorative-practices-for-academic-integrity/