Course, assignment and assessment design can minimize opportunities for academic misconduct while building a positive and effective learning experience.
- Change topics from year to year, and choose topics specific to your course over general ones to…
- Reduce opportunities for recycling assignments borrowed or purchased from other students.
- Limit the likelihood that the topic is to be found on an essay mill website.
- Discourage “game-playing behaviour”. If students feel that you are taking shortcuts by reusing assignments, they may feel justified to take shortcuts of their own.
- Consider incorporating more structured group work to…
- Help develop collaborative skills. Many students will collaborate on individual assignments anyway because this is what they are used to doing and regard it as an efficient way to approach work. By assigning group projects with clear guidelines you remain in control.
- Include a statement in assignment instructions to remind students of citation conventions and of what constitutes plagiarism.
- Use Turnitin.com to detect possible plagiarism to…
- Provide an incentive for students to ensure that their work is problem-free when submitted.
- Help ensure that all papers submitted to your course receive the same scrutiny for textual similarities, regardless of who is grading the paper.
- Ask students to submit an “Academic Integrity Checklist” with each assignment to remind students at the point of submission that they are required to meet certain basic expectations.
- Hold a final test or exam to provide an incentive to complete course work without taking shortcuts.
- Break assignments into smaller components tied to the writing process to…
- Ensure that students learn each stage of the writing process.
- Reduce the likelihood of last minute panic.
- Be cautious with small assignments. Students are more likely to take short cuts on assignments which they feel have little value. If you assign work with a value of 5% or less, consider:
- Reminding students of the learning objective of the assignment.
- Bundling smaller assignments together and specifying that an offence in one assignment will count against the whole grade.
- Alternatives to assigning a grade value. For example, make tests/exams contingent on completion of the ungraded preparation exercises.
- Offer a flexible policy on extensions and possible late penalties to give time-strapped students an alternative to taking short-cuts or submitting sloppy work.
- Require students to email assignments to you and “cc” themselves so that you will both have a date-stamped copy of the assignment.
- Require students to submit hard copies of assignments directly to you, the TA, or the department administrator who will date-stamp them at the time of receipt.
- Return assignments directly to students to reduce opportunities for theft.
- Do not return original Scantron forms on which answers can be easily changed.
See also Deterrence: By Offence for tips for deterring specific offences.