We recognize the importance of encouraging academic integrity in the classroom, regardless of class format. Though we have no tool or strategy that can control human behavior to prevent acts like cheating or plagiarism, we can offer consultation on preventative approaches to encourage academic integrity amongst learners. Here are some related strategies and tools:
Strategies to Encourage Academic Integrity
Share CMU Policies – Perspectives about what constitutes cheating or dishonest behavior vary. It’s important to discuss this early, so learners are fully aware of CMU's definitions and policies related to these behaviors. Include CMU’s Academic Integrity Policy in the syllabus and in assignment or assessment guidelines to reduce uncertainty.
Consider Your Response – CMU’s Academic Integrity Policy contains specific guidelines for dealing with suspected academic misconduct, but also offers educators discretion to informally address this without initiating additional actions (CMU Academic Senate, 2017). For instance, if there seems to be a lack of awareness about what plagiarism is, the learner might have the opportunity to learn about it, perhaps even help educate peers on it, then revise and resubmit the work. For additional information on plagiarism, visit Plagiarism.org.
Craft Authentic Assessments – Many of us are familiar with Bloom's taxonomy (Vanderbilt, n.d.), realizing that multiple-choice or true/fast tests often focus on recall. These types of instruments are more susceptible to concerns of academic integrity, while other approaches to assessment like essays, case studies, presentations, and portfolios might encourage deeper application and discourage cheating because "right answers" vary or are not easily accessible and learners are likely to be more intrinsically motivated by the process and product.
Promote the Learning Aspect of Assessment – It may be appropriate, particularly with lower-stakes assessment to adopt "open book" or "open note" approaches, to allow multiple attempts, or to allow peer collaboration. In that way, learners engage in a process of course correction, using related resources for clarification.
- Know your Resources - A collection of Blackboard course resources are available for faculty who wish to promote a positive, clear message about the value of academic integrity through four specific course elements: (a) pre-examination integrity statement, (b) pre-assignment integrity statement, (c) academic integrity knowledge question pool, and (d) an integrity and identity verification question pool. For more information and to obtain these supportive materials, review this article on the CMU Knowledge Base.
CMU Tools That Encourage Academic Integrity
Review SafeAssign Reports - SafeAssign is a Blackboard option you can enable to compare submitted papers to those within an institutional database, as well as various larger repositories, for matching content. Educators must then review the originality report to determine whether the matched content has been properly attributed. If a learner used several cited quotes, for instance, there may be a high match rate, but it may not be problematic.
Explore LMS Assessment Security Options – Blackboard also allows options related to pools and tests that encourage academic integrity. For instance, you can randomly draw questions from pools to make each test unique. We might suggest a 3- or 4-to-1 ratio, meaning you draw from a pool that is three or four times the size of the number of items on the assessment. You can also shuffle questions/answers, set a timer, require auto-submit, use force completion, and provide limited feedback until everyone has attempted the assessment to discourage "sharing."
Check Out Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor – Respondus LockDown Browser/Monitor can be enabled together or separately on Blackboard. LockDown Browser will lock a learner's Web browser, preventing them from printing, copying/pasting, browsing other sites, or using other applications while in a test. Monitor will record/monitor them through their webcam and microphone while they take a test, using software to flag unusual behavior, like a virtual proctor. Educators must then review the video/audio footage to determine the fate of the attempt.
Arrange for Proctoring – Some CMU courses require in-person proctoring. Current CMU approved proctors are: CMU Online/CMU Center/CIS Certified Testing Center, area librarians, military testing centers, school administrators, counselors, and teachers (CMU, n.d.). It is important to note that proctoring can have associated fees and can be difficult for learners who have pursued online education due to other constraints (remote location, health/life/work needs, etc.).
Related Knowledgebase Articles
Other Useful Links
- To see what events we may be offering related to academic integrity, check out our CIS Events Page
- Schedule a time with CIS staff to discuss academic integrity in your course.