The end of term is in sight for many instructors, but first there’s that pile of final assignments to mark! And then there’s that sinking feeling you get when you realize that you may have found ‘academic misconduct’ among the students’ work.  

Whether it’s copying between students, a lack of citations, incomplete references, or blatant copy-and-pasting of source material, it can all be considered academic misconduct. We preach against it. Teach how to avoid it. Hope the students don’t do it. And yet, they do it.  

At RRC, we have a policy that lays out our commitment to a high standard of Academic Integrity. You can check it out here. While the policy also lays out the expectations on us as professionals, in our experience, sometimes the situation is a bit gray. 

For example, Janine recently read a paper by a group of students. While the majority of the eight major sections were excellent, in two sections she found passages that were plagiarized. The students did include a list of references at the end of their submission, but they were not highly credible sources and there was little paraphrasing and no in-text citations. Janine chose to give the students zero on those sections. Then, she invited them in to meet with her so she could explain the significance of their error and ensure they know the expectations moving forward. 

When we have encountered academic misconduct, our responses have ranged from disappointment to outrage to straightforward discipline. Taking it personally doesn’t solve anything and following procedure takes both time and effort. So, we’re wondering about your experience: 

  • When you suspect academic misconduct, how do you respond? 
  • How do you verify the misconduct? 
  • What tools/techniques have worked for you? 
  • How do you deal with the students?

Please join the conversation to share your challenges and best practices. 

If you’d like to delve deeper into this topic, consider attending the session on Academic Integrity at RED Forum on May 10th. A panel will lead a discussion on this important subject.

by Amanda Le Rougetel