Monday, July 6, 2009

Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Your Classes

WCET (Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications) has published a document called "Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education" that lists several recommendations for how to promote academic integrity in your courses. Here are some of their suggestions:

  1. State the academic integrity/academic honesty policy within the online learning environment and discuss it early in the course.

  2. Require student engagement with the academic integrity policy. For example:

    1. Ask students for their input on how to create a community of integrity at the start of the course. This establishes the students as stakeholders in the community and the process of its formation.

    2. Develop and ask students to commit to a class honor code.

    3. Require students to read and sign an agreement to the campus academic integrity policy.

    4. Write a letter to students about integrity and post it in the course.

    5. Ask students to restate the academic integrity policy (this can also be used as a writing sample to use when grading and reviewing student work).

    6. Ask students to reflect on the academic integrity policy in the discussion board.

    7. Include a lesson on avoiding plagiarism.

  3. Have assignments and activities in which appropriate sharing and collaboration is essential to successful completion. Foster a community of integrity by choosing authentic learning tasks that require group cohesiveness and effort. For example, focus assignments on distinctive, individual, and non-duplicative tasks or on what individual students self-identify as their personal learning needs.

  4. Provide students with a course or course lesson on research and/or study skills. Work with library staff to design assignments and prepare materials on plagiarism and research techniques.

  5. Include a statement that the instructor reserves the right to require alternative forms and/or locations of assessments (e.g., proctoring).

  6. Ask students follow-up questions to assignments such as, “expand upon this statement you made,” “tell me why you chose this phrase, description or reference,” and “expand upon the ideas behind this reference.”

  7. Select one or two difficult concepts from the paper and ask the student to restate/rewrite the information.

  8. Require students to share key learning from references for a paper or self-reflection on an assignment in the discussion board.

  9. Include an ethical decision-making case study within the course.

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