Suggestions for supporting integrity

Classroom suggestions

  • Discuss the importance of integrity with your students in class, and discuss their understanding. It’s encouraged to add an educative explanation of why integrity is important, rather than just a statement of what not to do. [4][10][11][12]
  • Foster a “culture of integrity”, by holding yourself accountable to high ethical standards in your own works, and by demonstrating honesty and integrity in your interpersonal relationships with co-workers and students. [12][13][14][15][16]
  • Treat students as valued members of the classroom, with care and respect. This may lead them to be more open to asking for help rather than taking short-cuts, and may reduce motivators which lead to misconduct. [10][12][17][18]
  • Enforce integrity standards within your class. Displaying a sense of apparent apathy towards cheating can incentivize more students to cheat. [7][12][15][17][19][20]
  • Encourage students to reflect on and take responsibility for their own learning. Students are less likely to cheat in their studies when they have developed a high degree of academic self-efficacy, and when they have internalized responsibility for their educative outcomes. [18][21][22][23][24]

Syllabus suggestions

  • Ensure you have included an academic integrity statement in your course syllabus, which provides clear expectations regarding coursework and forms of allowable collaboration. Include examples of what constitutes misconduct in the course, with likely consequences, and links to resources for more information. [10][25][26][27][28][29]
  • Be mindful of course time requirements both in and out of the lecture hall. An average of 2 study hours out of class per every 1 contact hour in class, or a total of 9 hours per course per week is a commonly cited expectation. Consider coordinating the timing of major assessments with other courses in your program. Reported cheating behaviours have a strong correlation with stress, pressure, and perceived lack of time to complete tasks. [29][30][31][32]
  • Provide a well-organized course structure with clear learning goals and predictable scheduling. Provide study guides where applicable and encourage students to use effective time management strategies. [29][33][34]
  • Consider including a “regret clause” in your syllabus, to allow students to voluntarily “unsubmit” dishonest work within 72 hours of submission if they regret their own act of misconduct. [28][35]
    An example statement below is adapted from Harvard’s CS50 course via [35]:

    If you submit work that was not your own, but bring this to the attention of the course staff within 72 hours, you will be permitted to withdraw your submission and take a grade of zero on the assignment. In this case, the matter will not be referred to the Office of the Dean of Science (ODS) for further action. Please note, after 72 hours, or if the misconduct has already been discovered and/or referred to the ODS then you will no longer be permitted to withdraw your submission. Sanctions for breaches of Carleton’s Academic Integrity Policy are specified at:

  • Inform students that contract cheating sites are known, unauthorized, and regularly monitored. Warn students of the misleading advertising practices employed by some of these services, and the high risk of blackmail and extortion that occurs in the industry. Lastly, note that automated tools for detecting plagiarism will be employed in your course, where applicable. [6][36][37][38][39]

Assessment suggestions

  • As much as possible, avoid reusing old assignments and tests.
  • Include a brief copyright statement on all course assessments. In addition to informing students about fair use of course materials, this also makes illicit posting of course materials simpler to detect and remove.
  • Clearly state any restrictions on materials or collaboration directly on each assessment item. It can be helpful to discuss the reasons for restrictions in addition to simply stating them. [39][40]
  • Provide low-stakes or optional learning-focussed assessments, ideally with prompt meaningful feedback. The opportunity to develop competency and confidence prior to high-stake assessments can reduce incentive for misconduct. [9][10][24][28][38]
  • Include variety in your course assesessments. This should include a balance of formative and summative assessments, and could include various structural features (e.g. short-answer, multiple choice, essay, etc), task types (e.g. identification, categorization, critical analysis, construction), and information modalities (e.g. text, video, audio, graphs, maps, etc). Such variety, with an emphasis on mastery rather than grade scores, can drive course engagement to a wider audience, robustly assess learning, depressurize the learning environment, and pose barriers to known forms of cheating.[9][18][29][41]
  • Seek meaningful and engaging topics and tasks within your course, particularly those with clear relevance to course learning goals, authentic professional environments/tasks/audiences, societal benefit, and/or fascinating truths. [9][10][21][42][43] 
  • Incorporate self-reflective exercises into assessments. The intent is to foster an innate motivation for learning and a focus on mastery of concepts over grade performance. By self-evaluating past performance students develop their capacity for self-regulation and strengthen their academic self-efficacy. [9][18][22][24][44]
  • Challenge students to work creatively. Leave space for uniqueness in your assessments and encourage students to connect the material with their everyday experiences. [9][10][18]
  • Consider project-based learning tasks and/or the division of large assignments by scaffolding them into stages (e.g. design, draft, deploy), with formative feedback given between stages. [9][10][23][45]
  • Consider integrating service-learning tasks into your course, which aim to fulfill course learning goals with community-service. This can drive engagement in the course and teach integrity in a manner that can be directly relevant to their experience. [3][10][46]
  • Consider integrating Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) into your course. CUREs have been shown to improve engagement with- and understanding of- course content and research practices. They also lower barriers to entry into academic research for undergraduates. [10][47][48]
  • Integrate academic integrity and ethical dilemmas directly into your curriculum, as they relate to your field of study. Demonstrations of where, how, and why to apply concepts related to integrity will prepare students to use them when faced with such decisions in their academic and professional careers. Provide resources and/or demonstrations for students such that proper referencing is simple and familiar. [15][27][39][49][50][51] 
  • Consider allowing group work or optional pair submissions in formative assessments. There is a distinction to be made between collaboration and collusion that requires careful consideration of each course’s learning goals and the extent to which individual assessment outweighs the value of peer-to-peer education. [4][9][52] 
  • Anticipate existing conditions. Design unsupervised assessments with the expectation that common available resources (e.g. the internet) will be used. Stay informed of the ever-changing technologies that support misconduct. And weigh grade items according to the amount of validity and trust they uphold. [4][53][54][55] 
  • Secure supervised assessments, by spreading students throughout the available space, removing personal materials from desks, using multiple (colour-coded) versions of tests, warning students to turn off cellphones, put away smart watches and ear buds, shuffling or assigning seating arrangements, and actively monitoring the class while they write. [20][29][56][57] 
  • Individualize assessments. Where feasible, generate unique problems or datasets per student, use randomized questions in online tests, and incorporate elements of interviews or presentations. [24][55][58]


What is Academic Integrity?
Detecting & Reporting Academic misconduct
References & Additional Resources