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Academic Integrity Online Tips for Faculty

Online Suggestions for Faculty Based on Ten Principles of Academic Integrity for Faculty (pdf)
Gary Pavela, Donald McCabe, and DeForest McDuff

Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity at honorsys@vt.edu. For our Director, please call 540-231-5544. For our Assistant Director, please call 540-231-3336. For all other general questions or concerns please call 540-231-9876.

  1. Affirm academic integrity as a core institutional value.
    • Continue to discuss academic integrity as an institutional value that is important to you
    • Include an academic integrity statement on your Canvas site and at the beginning and end of each assignment
  2. Provide clear expectations for academic integrity and assess how well students understand them.
    • Provide your expectations related to collaboration and use of outside materials for students on assignments
    • Set expectations for your students regarding academic integrity on the assignment or assessment
    • When assigning collaborative assignments, have students account for the portions of work they perform
    • Encourage students to complete the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity online module
  3. Reduce opportunities and temptations to engage in academic dishonesty.
    • Provide creative assessments (see #6 below)
    • Allow for collaboration on some assignments and set clear boundaries for students
  4. Respond to Academic Dishonesty when it occurs.
    • File a report with the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity. Please contact our Director at 540-231-5544, our Assistant Director at 540-231-3336. Please also feel free to email us at honorsys@vt.edu and we’ll be glad to speak with you and answer any questions or concerns that you may have. For general questions and concerns, please call 540-231-9876.
    • The university’s recommended sanction is an F* and the Academic Integrity Education Program, however, there are other options available to you. Please do not take any action regarding the student’s grade until the case has been resolved. The Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity will copy you on the outcome letter – it is then that
      you should alter the student’s grade. Per usual protocol, the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity will assign F* if that is the outcome.
  5. Know your students and encourage their capacity for learning, self-management, and trust.
    • Communicate that you trust your students, and demonstrate that you trust your students.
    • Use TurnItIn to create an assignment on Canvas that allows multiple submissions and does not submit the assignment to the TurnItIn repository. This will allow your students to use to help identify plagiarism issues early. If you need assistance, the Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity will provide instructions. The Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity has a “sandbox” course that also does this on Canvas. However, this will not allow you access to view how your students are doing on a particular paper or project.
  6. Develop creative forms of assessment that enhance student learning.
    • Use different forms of assessment where possible
    • Explain to students what constitutes collaboration and how that is different than cheating and plagiarism
    • Consider alternative forms of assessment to exams that are designed to enhance research and learning
    • Considering your approach to exams:
      • If you can, make your test open book, open note, and open Internet.
      • Communicate clear expectations for appropriate use of materials, devices, collaboration among peers, suggesting a distraction-free environment, etc.
      • Write test questions that require higher-order thinking; fact-based recall questions are vulnerable to cheating and to cramming and quickly forgetting.
      • To the extent that it's feasible with your grading and feedback workload, avoid closed-ended questions (especially multiple choice, true-false, and basic identification).
      • Alternatively, require short-answer justifications (Acknowledgement, Ohio State University)
      • Utilize Respondus Lockdown – the only browser lockdown licensed by Virginia Tech via the Virginia Tech website
    • Consider your approach to written assignments
      • Give assignment directions that require students to do novel, hard-to-plagiarize work (e.g., related to personal experience, fictitious scenarios, or very recent events).
      • Set a few periodic milestones (topic selection, annotated bibliography, drafts of sections) before a large paper is due.
      • Require an annotated bibliography.
      • Ask students to record an audio or video commentary about their paper topics or research process.
      • Allow students options for selecting topics, methods of research, and presentation styles that are most meaningful to them and allow them to highlight strengths.
      • Communicate a clear purpose for the assessment, how it will help them develop skills for the future, how it is relevant to course topics, etc.
      • Use formative assignments as a way to build skill and knowledge through meaningful feedback.
      • Utilize TurnItIn to mitigate plagiarism. The Office of Undergraduate Academic Integrity will assist you in utilizing TurnItIn. Please contact us with any questions at 540-231-5544 (Director) or 540-231-3336 (Assistant Director). You can also email us at honorsys@vt.edu. (Acknowledgement, Ohio State University)
  7. Affirm the role of teachers as guides and mentors.
    • Continue to engage with your students and build relationships online in the virtual environment.
    • You may wish to have your students post on the discussion boards and provide them with a brief response.
    • Consider holding virtual office hours via Zoom.
  8. Foster a lifelong commitment to the pursuit of knowledge.
    • Consider how your virtual classroom will be intentionally engaging. Students are less likely to cheat when they feel connected and valued.
    • Everyone learns differently – consider presenting information in different formats.
    • Record lectures and make them available for students after they have been given.
  9. Recognize that promoting and protecting academic integrity is a collaborative endeavor involving shared leadership by students, faculty members and administrators.
    • Empower your students to promote an environment where appropriate collaboration is encouraged and academic integrity is valued – discuss this matter with them, be willing to listen and respond to their thoughts.
  10. Align the aims of your academic integrity program as a foundation for other core values, including student self-management, inclusiveness, community responsibility
    • Enforce that these concepts are not just related to classroom expectations, but expectations in industry and life in general. Use real world examples, make them applicable to a virtual environment.