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Teaching Academic Integrity

Teaching Academic Integrity

We often assume that students come to class “knowing” what academic integrity is; however, research indicates that students don’t always know what constitutes academic dishonesty, and that, in fact, faculty across disciplines may define it somewhat differently. In order to address this issue, research recommends that faculty  talk about academic integrity and open lines of communication with students.

Teaching Strategies

Beyond including a statement about academic integrity in the syllabus, faculty need to help students understand how the statement applies to their particular course. But what does that look like? 

1. Creating a Classroom Community

Focus on building and strengthening the classroom community. Faculty can support student learning by creating safe spaces for students to take risks, ask questions, and explore the course content in a meaningful way. In the early days of your course, it can be helpful to review expectations of learning and share ways students can help themselves and each other succeed in the course. It can also be beneficial to highlight a commitment to wellness. Academic integrity issues are often the result of students feeling stressed, unmotivated, and stuck. A strong classroom community can help mitigate some of those issues when students can share their struggles, find peer and university support and talk to their instructor. The bottom line is to create a learner-oriented environment.

2. Teachable Moments: Shifting Towards Proactive Approaches

Changing mindsets can help all of us reframe academic integrity. Rather than focusing on the punitive aspects, consider how teaching academic integrity can be developmental for students. Include a short presentation on how to properly cite and document references. Emphasize the resources and peer support available at the HUB Writing Center and other university services such as the Drahmann Center and the Wellness Center. Although many of these resources may be listed in the syllabus, talking about this in class a couple of times over the course of the quarter can help students find help early, and can normalize asking for support. It is important to think about how to highlight trust and honesty, fairness, and responsibility to learning. 

3. Agency and Choice

Students appreciate choice in how to demonstrate their learning. Research notes that providing students with options for what assignments they would like to complete helps ensure that the coursework aligns with the students’ interests, learning goals, and future professional lives. While having a variety of assignments may not be feasible for faculty, it is important to consider how the course and the assignments fit in the students’ lives. Another way to create opportunities for agency and choice is to consider a different grading approach. Labor-based grading has helped students figure out what assignments they can complete and which learning goals they can accomplish given their own commitments and goals. Another alternative to consider is giving students a couple of chances to redo and improve their grades. This helps the student focus on learning through an iterative process rather than on perfection (or failure). 

Academic Integrity Checklist

References and Additional Resources

Ajjawi, R., Boud, D., Jorre de St Jorre, T., & Tai, J. (2022). Assessment for inclusion in higher education. Routledge. 

Eaton, S. E., & Christensen Hughes, J. (2022). Academic integrity in Canada: an enduring and essential challenge. Springer.

International Center for Academic Integrity. (2022). Academic integrity checklist.

Ohio State University – Teaching and Learning Resource Center. A Positive Approach to Academic Integrity.


Page author: Lisa Chang, PhD, Faculty Development

Last updated: Feb 13, 2023