General Suggestions for Increasing Learning and Decreasing Dishonesty
Academic Integrity and Teaching
- Give your students an opportunity to discuss academic integrity in your course or other learning environments and why this issue is important at the University of Manitoba1 and to the larger academic community. Allow students the opportunity to reframe the discussion in a way that will allow them to incorporate academic ethics into their studies.
- To help instructors prepare for these discussions, a classroom resource has been created (Academic Integrity – Classroom Resource (.pptx)). This resource consists of slides with questions, definitions and examples of various types of academic dishonesty, and a list of University of Manitoba resources for students. The slides can be modified as needed.
- Additional resources can be found at:
- State the academic integrity policy on your syllabus. Below, you will find examples of statements you may use on your course outlines. Check with your faculty, school, or department for statements that have been tailored for courses in your teaching area.
- State your expectations clearly. Students are less likely to cheat in courses with clear expectations2. Discuss how the University of Manitoba’s definition of academic integrity and the types of dishonesty apply to the assignments in your course.
- Ask students to read and sign a contract stating that they have read and understand the Student Discipline Bylaw1. Click on the links below to find examples of such contracts.
- Establish a personal connection with your students. Students are less likely to cheat when they have a positive connection with you3, p. 47.
- Be explicit about possible sanctions, including failure on the essay, failure in the course, suspension or expulsion. Note that even unintentional plagiarism will result in sanctions. For more information on Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures, please visit the University of Manitoba’s Academic Integrity website at umanitoba.ca/academicintegrity.
- Be as clear as possible in your explanations of various concepts during your lessons. Weimer provides direction on how and why this is important in her recent Faculty Focus article. Click here to read the Faculty Focus Article.
Academic Integrity and Assessment
- Provide frequent, low stakes assignments, tests, and/or exams. Reduced risk of academic failure reduces the risk that students will cheat4. Courses that grade on the curve and/or are necessary for entrance to a professional program have higher instances of cheating because students view grades as more essential than opportunities for learning. When the consequence for a poor outcome is high, the likelihood of dishonest behaviour increases.3,5 In some cases, the addition of too many (e.g., daily or weekly) formal assessments is not reasonable because this unnecessarily increases your workload and the workload of your students. Only add additional assessments that make sense for your teaching and learning situation.
- Make sure assessment is valid and reasonable. High course-load demands3 combined with many students’ limited academic self-efficacy4 contribute to cheating. First-year students who are learning new academic skills along with new content may be tempted to cheat if they determine that the expectations are unrealistic3. Students may also rationalize cheating if their understanding is that the instructor’s intention is to fail as many students as possible.3, p. 51
- Incorporate questions or problems related to academic integrity in your assignments and tests.
- Provide access to course materials. An easy way to do this is through UM Learn. UM Learn is a learning management system that provides a framework for all aspects of the learning process. This tool is useful for delivering course materials for on-campus and online courses.
- Experiment. Use a variety of assessment methods (e.g., quizzes, online discussions, presentations). Check out this list of ideas:
- Consider designing a problem-based learning (PBL) assignment. Genareo and Lyons (2015) describe six steps for planning and preparing assessments that fit the PBL approach. Click here to read about the PBL approach and to find links to other valuable resources (sample problems, rubrics, etc.) around PBL.
- Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, an assistant professor of classics at the University of Texas, asked her students to give presentations. Her students experimented with various presentations styles in order to generate meaningful discussion and promote learning. Read about Lushkov’s experience here.
- John Boyer, an instructor at Virginia Tech, has developed a method of assessment that he describes as flipping the syllabus. This assessment method encourages mastery and point accumulation (as opposed to minimizing point loses) in weekly points opportunity in order to demonstrate knowledge acquisition. He describes his technique in this presentation about flipping the syllabus and has shared his Flipped Syllabus slides here.
- Invite a Reference Librarian from the University of Manitoba Libraries or a specialist from the Academic Learning Centre to give a presentation on working with sources. The Academic Learning Centre has also prepared several handouts available for download that university teachers may print and distribute to their students.
- Context, I. Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education 1. Wcet (2009).
- Brent, E. & Atkisson, C. Accounting for Cheating: An Evolving Theory and Emergent Themes. Res. High. Educ. 52, 640–658 (2011).
- Whitley, B. E. J. & Keith-Spiegel, P. Academic Dishonesty: An Educator’s Guide. (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002).
- Lang, J. M. Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty. (Harvard University Press, 2013).
- Falk, A. & Szech, N. Morals and markets. Science. 340, 707–11 (2013).