Academic Integrity

Academic integrity may prompt negative associations with malicious cheating and punishment, but often violations occur because of circumstances that are easily addressed. In all teaching contexts, including in-person, blended, remote, and online, there are many overarching values to consider, including:

Honesty: Be open and honest with your students, recognizing the pressures and challenges faced by all. Start with the assumption that students will be honest with you, especially if honesty is a guiding principle overall.

Respect & Trust: Convey a starting point of trust and respect. Recognize that students might not know what respectful behaviour looks like when engaging in their coursework. For example, provide guidelines on netiquette.

Responsibility: Regardless of context, you still expect learners to be responsible for their learning. Explicate and remind students of what it looks like to be responsible for learning.

Address the topic head-on by having an explicit conversation with students, and adopting proactive strategies including those below.

  • Clarify what academic integrity looks like in action for specific assignments. Provide examples of proper academic work and discuss common academic misconduct examples.
  • Provide opportunities for students to test out technologies they’ll need to use for a project, assignment, or test. This reduces student anxiety, and by extension, the urge to cheat.
  • Reserve time in class or create a Q&A forum where you can clarify expectations.
  • Build in frequent low-stakes assessments with opportunities for feedback, so students feel confident about their progress. In your feedback be sure to directly address concerns of academic integrity with supports for redressing any potential violations.
  • Integrate activities related to Academic Integrity in assignments and assessments. For example, build in reflective prompts such as: How did you demonstrate academic integrity in this assignment? What have you learned about acting with integrity to this assignment, and how might this apply to your future academic or professional experiences?
  • Avoid high-stakes exams, inflexible or tight deadlines, and make-shift online proctoring (such as invigilation through Zoom or Skype).
  • Consider designing questions for exams that ask students to describe a process for solving an equation or problem, rather than asking them to provide an easily-copied solution.

Additional Resources

Academic Integrity @ Queen’s: Queen’s central resource for academic integrity, including links to policies and procedures for individual faculties and schools.

Academic Integrity resources from Student Academic Success Services (SASS): An accessible web and PDF resource, as well as an online module that could be integrated directly into your course. SASS is also happy to lead workshops tailored to your specific course or assignment.

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