Provide Academic Integrity Information in Your Syllabus

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 Quality item, “Information about academic integrity/honesty (UCF Golden Rule), campus policies, and FERPA are provided within the syllabus.”

Most people would associate the term “academic integrity” with “not cheating on an exam,” but it is more complex in nature. UCF aligns with the International Center for Academic Integrity, which defines academic integrity as a commitment to six values:

  1. Honesty
  2. Trust
  3. Fairness
  4. Respect
  5. Responsibility
  6. Courage

There are several policies at UCF, such as the Rules of Conduct and the Golden Rule to help frame the conversation and guide you to include relevant information in your syllabus about academic integrity.

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

  • The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning’s Syllabus Statements page includes the most up-to-date UCF core and optional syllabus statements.
    • Copy and paste the Academic Integrity core statement into your syllabus. This touches on the UCF Rules of Conduct and describes the procedures for academic misconduct as laid out in the student handbook, The Golden Rule.
    • There are several optional statements related to academic integrity that you may include in your syllabus, such as:
      • Ethics
      • Unauthorized Use of Websites and Internet Resources
      • Unauthorized Use of Technology for Graded Work
      • Unauthorized Distribution of Class Notes
      • Quiz Audit Log
      • In-Class Recordings
  • The Templater tool allows you to import a Syllabus template in your course that features all of the latest UCF core statements, including the Academic Integrity statement.
  • Consider adding ProctorHub to exams and quizzes. ProctorHub is a UCF-created test monitoring system in which students enable their webcams during online testing. Be sure to include an official statement in your syllabus about it and add a class note to the online course schedule. For the statement and class note, visit ProctorHub FAQ.
  • You have the option to enable Turnitin for written assignments. This tool compares the student’s submitted assignment with websites and databases of student papers. The Syllabus Statements page features language you can include in your syllabus about Turnitin. Before you choose to use it, consider the common concerns about plagiarism software.
  • If you are using third-party tools (tools developed by an entity not formally associated with UCF), it is important that students do not contribute personally identifying information about themselves. Please refer to the Third-Party Software and FERPA optional statement on the FCTL’s Syllabus Statements page.

What Does This Look Like in a Real Online Course?

Example 1: UCF Core Syllabus Statement on Academic Integrity.

Academic Integrity

Students should familiarize themselves with UCF’s Rules of Conduct. According to Section 1, “Academic Misconduct,” students are prohibited from engaging in:

  1. Unauthorized assistance: Using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or study aids in any academic exercise unless specifically authorized by the instructor of record. The unauthorized possession of examination or course-related material also constitutes cheating.
  2. Communication to another through written, visual, electronic, or oral means: The presentation of material which has not been studied or learned, but rather was obtained through someone else’s efforts and used as part of an examination, course assignment, or project.
  3. Commercial Use of Academic Material: Selling of course material to another person, student, and/or uploading course material to a third-party vendor without authorization or without the express written permission of the university and the instructor. Course materials include but are not limited to class notes, Instructor’s PowerPoints, course syllabi, tests, quizzes, labs, instruction sheets, homework, study guides, handouts, etc.
  4. Falsifying or misrepresenting the student’s own academic work.
  5. Plagiarism: Using or appropriating another’s work without any indication of the source, thereby attempting to convey the impression that such work is the student’s own.
  6. Multiple Submissions: Submitting the same academic work for credit more than once without the express written permission of the instructor.
  7. Helping another violate academic behavior standards.

Responses to Academic Dishonesty, Plagiarism, or Cheating

Students should also familiarize themselves with the procedures for academic misconduct in UCF’s student handbook, The Golden Rule. UCF faculty members have a responsibility for students’ education and the value of a UCF degree, and so seek to prevent unethical behavior and respond to academic misconduct when necessary. Penalties for violating rules, policies, and instructions within this course can range from a zero on the exercise to an “F” letter grade in the course. In addition, an Academic Misconduct report could be filed with the Office of Student Conduct, which could lead to disciplinary warning, disciplinary probation, or deferred suspension or separation from the University through suspension, dismissal, or expulsion with the addition of a “Z” designation on one’s transcript.

Being found in violation of academic conduct standards could result in a student having to disclose such behavior on a graduate school application, being removed from a leadership position within a student organization, the recipient of scholarships, participation in University activities such as study abroad, internships, etc

Let’s avoid all of this by demonstrating values of honesty, trust, and integrity. No grade is worth compromising your integrity and moving your moral compass. Stay true to doing the right thing: take the zero, not a shortcut.

Example 2. Amanda Groff, ANT2511 (The Human Species), Group Messaging.

Dr. Groff regularly teaches large online classes and has found that students will sometimes communicate in group messaging platforms to share answers about the quizzes. To deter this, she includes the following statement in her syllabus.

GroupMe and Other Group Messaging Platforms

GroupMe and other group messaging platforms (like Whatsapp) are meant to be used for simple class discussions. If a student wishes to create a GroupMe or utilize another messaging platform concerning this class, they are required to post the link publicly (via the Discussion tab) so that all students and the TA have the opportunity to join. If I learn that a class GroupMe or other group messaging platforms were created without my knowledge, I will assume it was made with the intent to share answers.

If you join a GroupMe, or any other group messaging platform, and notice any instances of answer sharing, cheating, or students asking for answers, please report it immediately (regardless of what class you are in!). You will not get in trouble for reporting! Furthermore, if you receive an email or private message about joining a GroupMe or other group messaging platform that does not include me or the TAs, please report it to me; again, you will remain anonymous.

Please know if you are found asking for OR sharing answers to quizzes, exams, or assignments, you will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct.

WARNING: Creators of these GroupMe or Messaging Groups are also held accountable, even if they did not participate in the answer sharing. As the creator, they provided the platform for cheating, and are therefore, also reported. With hundreds of students, you will find it difficult to monitor what your fellow students are messaging. Do you trust your fellow 499 students to not misuse it? I would not. Thus, I encourage students to use the Discussions area in Webcourses as a place to discuss and communicate INSTEAD of GroupMe/Group Messaging; it is 100% safe and if an issue occurs it is only that student who gets reported.

Example 3. Lana Williams, ANT3541 (Biobehavioral Anthropology), ProctorHub.

Dr. Williams includes a statement about ProctorHub in the syllabus and also created a practice quiz in order for students to experience taking a quiz with ProctorHub without any effect on grade.The following statement is included in her syllabus.

ProctorHub and Exams

ProctorHub is a UCF test monitoring system that utilizes a webcam to monitor test-taking activity during online testing. Videos are only accessible to your instructor and are stored in a secure environment.

If you do not have a webcam, there are computers with webcams in the UCF library, or you can visit the LibTech desk at the library to check out one. LibTech can also direct you to a computer in the library with a webcam. Please note that these computers cannot be reserved ahead of time. Currently, ProctorHub is not yet compatible with Apple iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) or Android smartphones.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you will have access to a computer with a webcam and know how to log into and use ProctorHub, prior to the time that the exams start.  You can set up and test your webcam before your exam. For assistance with setup, contact Webcourses@UCF Support at 407-823-0407.

There is also a ProctorHub practice quiz included in the Course Introduction module. It is recommended that you take this quiz at least once during the week prior to your first exam to ensure your webcam and the system are working properly.

If your webcam stops working or you have other issues with your webcam during an exam, take a screenshot of any issues that occur and continue to take your exam. Once you have completed your exam, notify your instructor about the issue. Contact Webcourses@UCF Support for any problems with ProctorHub. These situations will be handled by your instructor on a case-by-case basis.