Guidelines for promoting integrity online

  1. Pay particular attention to how your course is structured (East & Donnelly, 2012). Are the objectives, learning activities and assessment strategies aligned? Learn more about course alignment on The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning’s Teaching Development resources page.
  2. Build and maintain honest, respectful, and trusting relationships with your students by staying in contact with them. You can do this by emailing them regularly and/or posting announcements, letters, or videos. Develop routines to build relationships with your students. Develop routines to build relationships with your students. Learn more.
  3. Highlight the academic integrity policy (i.e., the University’s Student Discipline Bylaw and related Procedures, also found in the Academic Calendar) in the course shell and provide a list of behaviours that would be classified as academic misconduct in your course (Conway-Klaassen & Keil, 2020). Be clear about your expectations for your courses (Meizlish, 2003) and communicate to students that you expect them to make ethical decisions.
  4. Create assignments that require students to post questions and comments about academic integrity on a discussion board (WCET et al., 2009). Several ideas for relevant discussions can be found in the UM Learn course “Knowledge Nuggets: Bite-sized resources to help students help themselves.” Please contact for access and details.
  5. Remind students that providing their UM Learn login information to anyone else is considered ‘personation’ – a very serious form of academic misconduct.

Tips for online quizzes, tests and exams

Preventing all cheating in online quizzes, tests and examinations in remote/distance and online courses is impossible, but you can reduce the risk by implementing a variety of ideas (Conway-Klaassen & Keil, 2020; WCET et al., 2009; Williamson, 2018).

  1. Limit the availability of the quiz, test or exam using restrictions in the UM Learn quiz tool.
  2. Set time limits for completion of the assessment that is based on the number of questions using the restrictions in the UM Learn quiz tool. Please keep in mind that some of your students will have accessibility requirements. Remind students to contact the Student Accessibility Services office to assist in arranging alternative or modified assessments.
  3. Create your own questions – this is key. If you feel you must use a test bank, edit each question and possible answers extensively so they are different from the original. Test bank questions are readily found on file/note-sharing websites, such as Quizlet and Course Hero.
  4. Create more questions than can be chosen at random for each student and randomize the order of the answers.
  5. Use a variety of question types (e.g., short- and long-answer, multiple-choice) that ask students to critically think and apply information rather than simply testing their recall ability.
  6. When writing multiple-choice questions, be sure to write wrong answer options that are plausible. Learn more about writing effective multiple-choice questions.
  7. Create questions that have multiple correct answers.
  8. Show one question at a time.
  9. Disable right-click and instant messages and alerts.
  10. Require forced completion; that is, once a student begins the assessment, they are required to finish it in one sitting.
  11. Limit the number of assessment attempts to one.
  12. Release quiz, test and exam scores only when all students have completed the assessment.
  13. Allow open-book and open-notes quizzes, tests and exams. It is difficult to prevent students from looking at their notes in unproctored or unmonitored settings, so this reduces some pressure and students are more likely to use approved rather than unapproved test-taking supports.
  14. Do not release graded quizzes, tests or exams (i.e., the test questions with correct/incorrect answers), but do provide feedback to students about areas they should focus on for their next assessment.
  15. Offer a practice quiz, test or exam. Your students will become acquainted with your assessment format. Doing so will help reduce students’ stress levels and help to ensure fairer assessment.
  16. Reduce the weight of exams relative to the overall grade of the course and increase the weight of other assessment types.
  17. Require students to agree to an honour statement. This can be included as the first question in a quiz, test or exam. It serves as a reminder to make ethical choices. 

Tips for assignments and online engagement

  1. Provide direct links to resources for writing and citing, such as those made available by UM Libraries.
  2. When appropriate, ask students to submit their reference articles or other supporting material with the text they cited highlighted (Meizlish, 2003).
  3. Compare the writing that students post on discussion boards with their other written work (Hill, 2010).
  4. Assign specific books or articles to be used for completing writing assignments (Hill, 2010).
  5. Check the file properties for the creation date and author for writing assignments.


Conway-Klaassen, J. M., & Keil, D. E. (2020). Discouraging academic dishonesty in online courses. Clinical Laboratory Science23, 194–200.

East, J., & Donnelly, L. (2012). Taking responsibility for academic integrity: A collaborative teaching and learning design. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice9(3), 1–11.

Hill, C. (2010). Promoting academic integrity in online education (Issue May).

Meizlish, D. (2003). Promoting academic integrity in the classoom. In CRLT Occasional Papers (No. 20).

WCET, UT TeleCampus, & Instructional Technology Council. (2009). Best practice strategies to promote academic integrity in online education, Version 2.0 (Issue June).

Williamson, M. H. (2018). Online exams: The need for best practices and overcoming challenges. The Journal of Public and Professional Sociology10(1), Article 2.

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