Does the move to alternative delivery have you concerned about student cheating? 

RRC’s Lisa Vogt, EAL Specialist with the Academic Success Centre, has been digging into this topic: “Leading academic integrity research shows that online delivery is low on the list of factors that contribute to academic misconduct.”

That’s a relief. Nonetheless, as Instructors we have an important role to play in creating a culture of integrity in our courses.

What can we do? Here are a few examples: 

  • Talk about when it is ok to collaborate with peers and when it is not. 
  • Teach the citation skills you want students to use. 
  • Continue to create personal connections with your students and check in on them to be aware of their progress through the assignment you’ve set. 
  • Model the standards of academic integrity by citing your own sources in your teaching materials. 

A big piece for instructors is also well-designed assessments. Yesterday in Faculty Fridays, we learned some summative assessment ideas for alternative delivery. We also unpacked it further during FF@4 – our Tuesday and Thursday check in for faculty over WebEx. Here are best practices for summative assessments while also building a culture of academic integrity:

  • Create fair assessments that reflect what is being taught in the course.
  • Make assessments meaningful and authentic.
  • Offer choice and control where possible.
  • Avoid un-proctored multiple-choice exams, which allow students to cheat easily.
  • Avoid pre-published test banks or re-using previous assignments. The answers are out there online, easily searchable to educational institution, course and instructor name.
  • Consider allowing open notes during your assessment, with students citing where the information comes from.
  • Ask students how they know, rather than what they know. In other words, ask students to describe their learning.
  • Ask for self-reflection to bring awareness to how learning is happening.

Lisa aded this important takeaway: “Most of these recommendations are just as valid under normal circumstances as they are in alternative delivery. Instructors have more control than they may realize. By demonstrating their own integrity, maintaining connections with students, being flexible in stressful times, and possibly cutting back the breadth and focusing on depth, instructors can create a culture where academic integrity can survive. The area that is very particular to these circumstances is allowing students the opportunity to collaborate with people or reference materials in ways that they may not have been allowed before – if they cite where the information comes from.”

What are you doing to build a culture of academic integrity in your courses? 

by Janine Carmichael