Promote Academic Integrity

Quality Review Showcase

The Quality and High Quality online course reviews explore components proven to be best practices in online course design. This post showcases High-Quality item, “The course models academic integrity by providing citations and permissions for use of instructional materials.”

By: Roslyn Miller, Instructional Designer, CDL

Integrity is a foundation of teaching and learning, incorporating core values of trust, responsibility, and fairness. Promoting academic integrity includes taking steps to reduce opportunities and motivating factors for students to cheat on assignments and assessments. Major factors that students say make them more likely to cheat include:

  • Heightened stress and pressure
  • Unclear expectations
  • Opportunity
  • Belief that other students are cheating Wiley (2022)

There are steps teachers can take to mitigate these factors and support academic integrity in online learning, many of which apply to in-person learning also.

What Are Some Ways Your Online Course Can Be Designed To Meet This Standard?

Foster a Culture of Academic Integrity

  • Clearly communicate expectations in your syllabus.
  •  In a course orientation module, articulate your specific policies of what is allowed and not allowed for assignments and assessments.
  • Repeat expectations and policies at critical times, such as at the beginning of assignments and assessments.
  • Emphasize importance of integrity in academic work, professional work, and society.
  • Communicate consequences of cheating in your course, in academia, and in society.
  • Model integrity in your teaching (e.g., appropriately acknowledge your sources, address instances of dishonesty).
  • Foster personal connection in the course with your presence and opportunities for interaction among students.

Design Assessments That Reduce Motivation and Opportunity for Cheating

  • Communicate clear learning goals; align content, activities, and assessments with goals.
  • Use a variety of assessment methods, the more authentic the better.
  • Use frequent assessments, obviating the stakes of any single assessment.
  • Provide opportunities to practice tasks and conditions similar to those in assessments.
  • Provide substantive feedback (can be automated or in rubric).
  • Allow open books, open notes.
  • Use higher-order thinking tasks and questions (applications, conclusions, diagnosing problems, proposing solutions).
  • Tweak some test questions each semester.
  • Use item banks to randomize questions.
  • Randomize order of response options.

Use Academic Integrity Tools Judiciously

  • Use options for settings in assessment tools.
  • Use Turnitin to check for plagiarism in essay assignments, and consider allowing students to view their similarity reports immediately on initial submission and revise and resubmit, if needed, before grading.
  • Use Proctorhub to assist in verifying identity and monitoring test-taking behavior in Quizzes.
  • Use Respondus Lockdown Browser to lock the device in which students are taking a test so that device cannot be used to open other websites, copy or paste, connect with other devices, etc.
  • Use Honorlock online proctoring service for higher-stakes online exams, such as midterms or finals.

What Does This Look Like in a Real Online Course?

Example 1: Jessica Waesche, CLP3413, Contemporary Behavior Therapy

A page titled Academic Integrity in the course orientation module clearly communicates Dr. Waesche’s expectations and policies related to academic integrity in her course. This page is part of a larger sample of her course, Exemplary Course Sample: Waesche CLP3143, she has graciously shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

Example 2: Amanda Groff, ANT2511, Human Species

This course typically enrolls 300+ students. Dr. Groff wanted to include some short answer questions in her exam but also wanted to encourage academic integrity. To accomplish this, she provides a list of essay questions ahead of time for students to study. When students first access the exam in Webcourses@UCF, they are told which essay questions they will be expected to answer. The selection of questions is randomly assigned; there is a question set within the exam called “Take home questions,” and inside the set are several items that have the same instructions but different question numbers to answer. The exam randomly pulls one of these items for the student.

There is a link within the exam instructions that takes the student to a separate assignment that has Turnitin enabled. Students submit their short question answers there. A link within the assignment then directs them back to the exam to move on to the multiple choice questions. She provides a short tutorial on what this will look like for the student.

The short answers are graded and added to the exam score. In the separate assignment, students see a check mark which indicates that their responses were received.

Welcome to Exam 1! Okay, let’s get the Take Home portion out of the way so you can focus on the remaining exam questions. Go ahead and open the word doc that has your answers to the take home questions.

You have been randomly assigned questions 1 and 2 (remember these question numbers!)

Please follow this link: Exam 1 Take Home ANSWERS to submit your responses to questions 1 and 2. Do not submit answers in the text box below.

Don’t forget, you will see a pop-up that says you will be “navigating away” from the exam, be sure to click “OK”. Follow the directions to submit your answers and then resume the exam. The countdown clock does not pause during this time. Please spend only a max of 5 minutes transferring your take home responses.

Did you just submit your Take Home responses and want to resume the exam?

If so, you will notice it should have returned you to this question.  Please enter “Submitted” or “Completed” in the open box below before saving and moving on to the next question.

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