Help students understand what academic integrity means

Jessica Kalra

In early 2019, Langara implemented a “just in time” Academic Integrity Tutorial to help students understand the meaning and value of academic integrity and how it applies to student academic work. Completion of the tutorial is required for all students who were found responsible for an academic integrity policy violation for the first time. The tutorial has been assigned singly or in combination with other sanctions (reductions in assignment marks, resubmission, other educational sanctions). Data shows a significant impact on recidivism (repeated violations by the same student). To us, this signals that training on the meaning and importance of academic integrity can be an important tool towards preventing academic misconduct.

To promote a good understanding of academic integrity and the consequences of academic misconduct, consider implementing some of the following actions.

  • Have a class discussion addressing the questions “What is academic integrity?” Review the six principles of academic integrity. Discuss how they apply in an academic setting. Ask, “Why is academic integrity important in post-secondary education?” “How does this apply to the workplace and why is it important?” “Why is it important in life?” “How are these principles similar and different in your previous educational experience?”
  • Review the definition of “academic integrity” and of “academic integrity violation” found in the institutional policy. Discuss what these definitions mean to your students. Review department and course policies related to academic integrity.
  • Have students compose and sign a pledge early in the semester confirming that they will uphold the standards around academic integrity of the institution (E.g.: “In accordance with the Academic Integrity Policy, I confirm that I will not engage in dishonest acts in any of my academic work and that I will not participate in or tolerate dishonesty by other students.”(adapted from Purdue University Northwest).
  • Have the students submit a commitment to act with integrity at the start of the course and/or before giving them access to or at the start of an assessment. (E.g.: “I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on the assignment/exam.” (adapted from Purdue University Northwest). Below is a sample:
As a student at <insert institution here> I hold myself to a high standard of academic integrity, By clicking the circles beside each of the statements below, I state my promise to act ethically and in accordance with < insert institution> academic integrity policy. 

Ο I understand that the assessments in this course are an opportunity for me to demonstrate my learning, not the knowledge and skills of others.

Ο I may work with others only if the instructor gave specific instructions to do so and only to the extent allowed by the instructor.

Ο I will be sure to answer all questions in my own words and not copy text or content from other sources.

Ο I will not use unauthorized sources (the internet, another person, the textbook, lecture notes) to answer assessment questions.

Ο I will help my classmates to maintain academic integrity by not sharing answers or content when not authorized to do so.

Ο I understand that suspected misconduct on any assessment in this course will be reported to the <insert the body responsible for receiving cases here> and if it is established will result in disciplinary sanctions including <insert your institutions range of sanctions here>.

  • Negotiate a “Classroom Agreement” with your students about the application of academic integrity practices in the class. Write up the agreement and distribute it to your students. Reference the agreement when problems arise.
  • Discuss with students the importance of completing the available tutorials and seminars on academic integrity available at your institution.
  • Discuss with students the consequences of non-compliance with academic integrity policies, including possible sanctions and the requirement to complete a tutorial on academic integrity.

In the next sections we provide examples of case studies, activities and reflection questions that might be helpful in exploring the ideas above.


Encouraging Academic Integrity Through Intentional Assessment Design Copyright © by Jessica Kalra. All Rights Reserved.

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