Teaching Essentials

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Creating a learning environment where academic integrity flourishes happens in many ways. The Centre for Learning and Program Excellence (CLPE) provides Teaching Support resource pages to assist in authentic learning and assessment tasks that promote academic integrity.

These strategies encourage students to engage in the learning process and promote an authentic learning experience. The following sections provide more details about applying strategies that build academic integrity.

Model and Teach Academic Integrity

Model

  • Model expectations for students
  • Cite all sources in the course material
  • Comply with copyright standards and regulations. See RRC Polytech Library Services for copyright information.

Teach

  • Teach academic integrity skills and connect them to the learning outcomes.
  • Ensure students know which referencing style (e.g. APA) to use.
  • Link students to resources that build skills in formatting references.
  • Provide resources on how to summarize and paraphrase ideas from others.
  • Share appropriate sources of information for assignments.
  • Connect students with RRC Polytech Library Services for support with finding resources.

Explain

  • Explain and provide the assignment criteria and assessment methods (checklists, rubrics, criteria).
  • Inform students of what to do and not to do.  
  • Share examples of what academic misconduct might look like.
  • Outline and provide examples of what a successful assignment submission looks like.

Integrate Student-Centered Learning

Build Relationships

Positive student-instructor relationships help build academic integrity in many ways. Knowing students provides instructors with a baseline understanding of their knowledge, skills and abilities, and allows for targeted instruction. Students who develop a positive relationship with their instructor become more motivated to attend class, engage in learning and ask questions about ways to succeed. Methods include:

  • Personalize learning by getting to know students, their interests, backgrounds and experience.
  • Foster intrinsic motivation and authentic learning experiences by connecting learning to students’ lived experiences.
  • Encourage students to articulate the relevance of the course material to their lives, the local community and future professions.

Active Learning

Active learning involves engaging learners in the learning process through a variety of active instructional techniques such as role-play, problem solving and case studies. 

  • Develop project-based learning activities that encourage authentic learning through scenarios, case studies, debates, industry-based projects and role-play experiences.
  • Create short assignments to complete in one class period, requiring students to work independently while the instructor observes the students’ baseline abilities.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

UDL allows learners to participate in meaningful learning opportunities and minimizes academic misconduct in many ways. When incorporating UDL consider:

  • Engagement – Interact with students to increase interest and motivation in learning and set a foundation for understanding the learning needs of students. Ask students to connect their ideas to prior learning experiences.
  • Representation – Present course materials in different ways to meet the needs of student diversity and varying learning styles in each course and each term.
  • Action and Expression – Provide students with choices for demonstrating learning, this increases the authenticity of the learning process. Learn more about Universal Design for Learning.

Resources and Materials

  • Ask students to use local sources such as newspapers, pamphlets and industry publications in research, to build engagement in the local community.
  • Choose resources and materials that reflect the multicultural or Indigenous identities of students.
  • Help students make connections when engaging in new learning or assessment by referring back to content from class sessions, quotations from course readings or images and graphs from previous topics.

Portfolios

Portfolios, a student-centered method of learning and assessment, enables students to recognize their own skills and knowledge development. Portfolios allow students to present knowledge from their own perspective.

Portfolios empower students to organize and articulate knowledge from a variety of learning experiences by:

  • Taking inventory – Where are they?
  • Setting goals – Where do they want to go?
  • Documenting learning – What have they done?
  • Verifying learning – How can they prove it?

Learn more about Portfolios at RRC Polytech.

Design and Deliver Assessments

Constructive Alignment

The key elements of constructive alignment enhance academic integrity by ensuring course delivery and assessment methods recognize the intended learning outcomes. Constructive alignment is a student-centered approach to course design, instruction and assessment. When the course learning outcomes, instructional methods and assessment strategies align well, students receive a richer, deeper learning experience.

Key considerations for Academic Integrity and constructive alignment include:

Learning Outcomes

  • Review the learning outcomes with students at the beginning of the course.
  • Connect the learning outcomes to the learning journey and assessment methods.
  • Ensure clearly worded learning outcomes that describe the actual learning and how they will be measured.

Teaching and Learning Activities

  • Update critical elements of past assignments for each course delivery.
  • Develop unique materials and assignments geared to the context of the course.
  • Include material from in-class discussions and lectures into assessment content.
  • Ask authentic and engaging questions that encourage students to participate in the topic rather than copy answers or outsource their work.
  • Where possible, build effective collaboration into the assessment rather than prohibiting all collaboration.
  • Provide ongoing feedback during the learning process.
  • When possible, co-construct assignment and assessment criteria for assignments with students.

Design Effective Writing Assignments

  • Create written assignments that ask students to apply, synthesize and reflect, encouraging connection between new learning to prior knowledge.
  • Include collaborative experiences in this process to deepen student engagement and authenticity.
  • Divide a written assignment/essay into several smaller tasks (e.g. plan an outline, prepare an annotated bibliography, submit a first draft, engage in feedback and submit a final draft.)
  • Include a presentation or PowerPoint on the sources gathered as part of the process.
  • Integrate prior learning from other completed modules or courses into the task.
  • Provide a list of specific resources that must be used in the written assignment.

Assessment

  • Create more than one version of an assessment and change between versions each course offering. 
  • Where possible, create new assessments or give assessment options for each new course delivery.
  • Include and schedule self and peer assessment feedback in larger, multi-part assignments.
  • Connect assessments to authentic, real world expectations.

Weighting

  • Avoid heavily weighted exams where the bulk of the course grade is determined through one assessment.
  • Heavily weighted exams and assignments may not represent the weighting of the learning outcomes or time spent on course assignments.
  • The anxiety of heavily weighted assignments or assessments may also drive students towards cheating behavior in order to succeed.

Communicate Assessment Expectations

Clearly communicated assessment expectations help prepare students for success. When students feel confident in understanding the expectations, they are more likely to act with integrity.

First, communicate assignment criteria:

  • Write clear, detailed instructions.
  • Share success indicators for both individual and collaborative learning experiences and assessments.
  • Explain the value of the assessment. When students understand the value of learning, they are less likely to take shortcuts.

Next, emphasize integrity

  • Tell students which resources they may and may not use.
  • Connect integrity in education to integrity relevant to the profession (e.g. professional licensing bodies, industry code of ethics, etc.)
  • Ask students to declare before the exam if they will be in the same location as another test writer.

Finally, assess

  • Add rubrics, checklists and criteria for each assessment for transparency and clarity.
  • Ensure students know the policies and procedures for being away sick or missing a test or exam.

Talk about Success Strategies

Discuss the difference between academic integrity and academic misconduct in specific situations. Explain the consequences of academic misconduct in a positive tone that clearly communicates the risks and consequences.

For example:

“I want to remind everyone that sharing answers during the exam is not allowed. Students found to be sharing answers will receive a score of “0” on all or part of the exam. I want you to be able to show your best work and earn your grade fairly. Academic misconduct includes asking classmates for answers and looking at websites for answers. In this exam, I want to use only your textbook and your own ideas to show what you know. I look forward to reviewing your exam.”

or

“I have heard that students have been using chat groups to share answers for tests. I would like to remind you that this is risky behaviour with serious consequences. Students found to be sharing exam answers, will receive a “0” on all or part of the exam, which has a serious impact on your final grade. Please be ready to show your own work during the exam. If you have any questions about which resources are allowed or not allowed to support your coursework, please contact me.”

Use an Integrity Statement

Embed an integrity statement at the start of the exam, describing specific allowable and unallowable actions. Show the students the statement in advance. If suspected academic misconducts occurs, refer to these expectations in the follow-up with students.

Sample Integrity Statement

This test is an assessment of your learning and includes (short answer responses, multiple-choice questions, and long answer calculations). Students are allowed to look at (course resources, including the course LEARN site, and course notes). Students are not allowed to look at (online resources outside of RRC Polytech’s LEARN site during this test). Students are not allowed to work with any other people to complete the assessment, including classmates, family, friends, tutors, or other online supports. Students who do not follow these rules will face consequences according to the RRC Polytech S4 Academic Integrity policy.

Please answer this question as TRUE if you agree or FALSE if you disagree.

The answers provided in this test are my own, based on my knowledge and access to allowable materials only. I will not look at (any online resources outside of the RRC Polytech LEARN site during the test). I will not work in groups, share information in group chats, request answers from others, or provide answers to others.

Note: Adapt the bolded sections to fit your assessment.

Further Resources

Dawson, P. (2020, Nov 24). Defending assessment security in a remote learning environment. [Video]. YouTube.

Lang, J. M. (2013). Cheating lessons: Learning from academic dishonesty. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

QAA. (2020). Assessing with Integrity in Digital Delivery.

Fact Sheets