Skip to Main Content

Promote Academic Integrity

When discussing academic honesty and dishonesty in the classroom,  faculty can create a positive context that invites students to participate in understanding the value of their own original thought with respect for the sources they will use in their studies.  While it is important that students understand what academic misconduct is and the potential outcomes, including this information as a single component of the larger conversation about integrity minimizes the possibility that students will assume faculty expect them to be dishonest.  Overall the three kinds of activities that promote academic integrity and discourage academic misconduct are:

  1. having a value based discussion about academic integrity,
  2. defining academic misconduct, and
  3. following university policy when an incident of academic misconduct is suspected.

At the start of the semester:

  • Frame an aspirational discussion regarding academic integrity within your syllabus, on your discussion boards, and/or in class. What is academic integrity and why is academic integrity important to you? To your discipline? To your students’ success in class and beyond?  How will academic integrity help you get to know your students and best support their learning?
  • Faculty and students often have differing definitions of academic misconduct (McCabe, Butterfield, Traviño 2012; Razek 2014; Yeo 2007). Clearly define how students can maintain academic integrity in your course. What citations are required for discussion board posts? What types of collaboration are permissible and for which assignments?

Throughout the semester:

  • Provide unique prompts for papers and scaffold assignments using tools such as creating milestones for large projects or papers, collect drafts, utilize peer review, refer students to the writing center and/or increase low stakes assignments (Craig, Federici, & Buehler, 2010; Linder, Abbott & Fromberger 2006).
  • Vary exam questions from semester to semester as well as within the same course. Avoid test bank questions where answers can be found online. Discussing academic integrity in detail and removing the temptation to cheat combines to reduce incidents of academic misconduct in the classroom (Broeckelman-Post 2008).
  • Role model academic integrity through citing all source material in worksheets, slides, exams, etc. (Nelson, Nelson & Tichneor 2013; Craig, Federici, & Buehler 2010).
  • Provide assignment instructions that include the necessary parameters to maintain academic integrity if a particular assignment has unique expectations around collaboration, for example, or if your course is different than others in your program.
  • If teaching online, have an online presence.  Being a “real” person who students understand is engaged with them and their ideas supports students’ involvement with the course content rather than focusing solely on the grade.

The Office of the Dean of Students would like to thank the CTL/IDEA Shop and eCampus Instructional Designers for providing comments on this document.

Works Cited

Broeckelman-Post, Melissa A. (2008). Faculty and student classroom influences on academic dishonesty. IEEE Transactions on Education, 51 (2), 206-211.

Craig, P. A., Federici, E., & Buehler, M. A. (2010). Instructing students in academic integrity. Journal of College Science Teaching, 40 (2), 50–55.

Linder, S.P., Abbott, D., & Fromberger, M.J. (2006). An instructional scaffording approach to teaching software design. Consortium for Computer Sciences in Colleges. 21 (6), 238-250.

McCabe, D. L., Butterfield, K. D. & Treviño, L. K. (2012). Cheating in college: Why students do it and what educators can do about it. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

McCabe, D.L., Trevino, L.K., & Butterfield, K.D. (2001). Cheating in academic institutions: A decade of research. Ethics & Behavior, 11 (3), 219-232.

Nelson, L.P., Nelson, R.K., Tichenor, L. (2013). Understanding today’s students: Entry-Level science student involvement in academic dishonesty. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42 (3), 52-57.

Passow, H. J., Mayhew, M. J., Finelli, C. J., Harding, T. S., & Carpenter, D. D. (2006). Factors influencing engineering students’ decisions to cheat by type of assessment. Research in Higher Education, 47 (6), 643-684.

Razek, N. (2014). Academic integrity: A Saudi student perspective.  Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 18 (1), 143-154.

Turner, C. E. (2005). A new honesty for a new game: Distinguishing cheating from learning in a web-based testing environment. Journal of Political Science Education, 1, 163–174.

Yeo, S. (2007). First-year university science and engineering students’ understanding of plagiarism. Higher Education Research & Development, 26(2), 199–216.