Tips for instructors
The emphasis an instructor places on academic integrity goes a long way toward shaping the type of behavior that takes place in the classroom. Those instructors who provide information about what is and is not allowed and continue to reinforce that discussion throughout the semester typically have fewer issues with plagiarism and cheating.
Tips for communicating expectations regarding academic integrity to your students:
- Educate yourself on institutional and departmental policies regarding issues of academic integrity including plagiarism, cheating and acceptable formatting (APA, MLA, etc.). Discuss the issue with colleagues to try to achieve a reasonable and consistent approach within your classroom and your faculty.
- Communicate clear expectations verbally and in writing, either as an attachment to the course syllabus or as a separate handout to students at the beginning of each semester. Dedicate a class to discussion of these expectations and encourage students to participate. Do not assume that students have adequate knowledge and understanding of academic integrity — most do not.
- Be clear regarding collaborative/group work — when does collaboration with colleagues become plagiarism or cheating?
- Clearly state restrictions regarding the use of technology including smart phones, tablets, calculators, and any other electronic devices.
- Make changes to exams and assignments each semester.
- Advise students on the possible consequences that may be imposed if misconduct occurs. Have students sign an agreement confirming their understanding.
- Provide information about resources on campus including OSC, Student Learning Services, Library Services. For example, consider cutting and pasting this blurb on Student Learning Services into your course outline.
Meeting with students
- Protect the student’s right to confidentiality at all times.
- Arrange to meet at an agreed upon time, advising the student of the reason for the meeting so that he or she has time to prepare. Students are often unable to meet immediately due to work commitments or other coursework. Be as flexible and accommodating as your schedule permits. Inform the student that they are welcome to bring an attendant from the Student Association, and if applicable, your intent to have a colleague present — i.e. your chairperson.
- Encourage the student to access and review this site or contact the Student Association or the OSC before the meeting. Also recommend that the student review their rights under the Code of Student Conduct.
- Although you may be disappointed with what you believe the student has done, treat the student with respect and professionalism. Give the student an opportunity to respond; they may present a reasonable explanation or, alternatively, may take responsibility for the infraction.
- You may determine that while the student has demonstrated poor judgment or a lack of knowledge and training, there is no basis to assume the student acted with the intent to deceive. This is a good opportunity to provide information and resources for improving subsequent work.
- If you determine on a balance of probabilities that a violation has occurred, and you would like some advice regarding what would be an appropriate sanction, please consult the OSC or consult your Chairperson for input. Ultimately the decision is yours. Inform the student that you are obligated to report the infraction to the OSC, and provide full disclosure on what the recommended sanction will be.