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Course and Assessment Design

Course and Assessment Design that Foster Academic Integrity

In addition to having regular conversations about academic integrity, it is also important to consider how your course activities, assignments, and assessments are designed to curb potential violations of academic integrity.  This may mean tweaking assignments slightly (e.g., shifting from writing a paper to creating a presentation), adjusting your course activities, or changing your whole course like some SCU colleagues who adopted labor based grading.

Regardless of the assignment and assessment strategy, it is important to reiterate expectations of completing the work while also being mindful of students' needs, such as their workload demands, their access to technology, and their stressors. The academic integrity pledge can also be used with students' work (like the exam statement below) to remind students of the collective commitment to fostering a culture of integrity. When in doubt, invite an instructional librarian to present about appropriate research methods, citations, and uses of online resources prior to deadlines so that students have time to revise their work.

Finally, (re)designing your course, assessments, and assignments can be stressful and difficult. Faculty members are welcomed to reach out to Faculty Development for consultations, check out the Digital Resources for Teaching (DRT), and stream the CAFE sessions hosted by the Faculty Collaborative for Teaching Innovation.

Faculty have noted using exam statements to remind students that academic integrity is important to uphold in all assessments. One faculty member noted that:

“I like [it on] the exams because it is a reminder in the moment they really need it. I might add it to the quizzes, which are less formal and of minor grade value but could benefit from the same reminder.”

Here is a sample exam statement:

This exam is an assessment of your individual understanding of the concepts discussed so far in this class. This is an open book, open note, open internet exam. Your responses to the exam questions in this document must be your work alone. This will allow us to give you personalized feedback on your learning plan for the quarter and work with you to set you on a path for success throughout your biology education.

Please do not discuss any aspect of the exam with your classmates until after everyone has submitted their responses (by the end of class on Friday). If you have any questions about any part of the exam, your instructors would be happy to answer your questions. Just log in to the regular lecture zoom and they will be there to respond. To confirm that you understand these expectations, please sign the SCU Academic Integrity Pledge below.

I am committed to being a person of integrity. I pledge as a member of the Santa Clara University Community to abide by and uphold the standards of academic integrity contained in the student conduct code.

Faculty members have also tied their courses with academic integrity to cement linkages between their coursework and their disciplinary knowledge as well as their future as professionals. One faculty member detailed how academic integrity was used to deepen a discussion about ethics in technology:

"I included a unit on integrity in our discussion of ethical issues related to using technology. The students read an article on Virtue Ethics and discussed what it means to use and create technology with integrity. In this unit, we used Shannon Vallor's module on engineering ethics to think about being a person of integrity in software design. We coupled the discussion of e-waste (as a consequence of tech use) with integrity and discussed how a person of integrity would make decisions in hardware design, use, and disposal."

Another faculty member opened up a discussion about how academic integrity looks like in varying contexts in a writing class:

"I drew attention to examples of writers documenting sources according to a variety of conventions. We discussed reasons why academic writing requires fuller documentation than journalistic writing does. This opened up the complexity of figuring out expectations for integrity in different situations."