Promoting academic integrity online
Promoting integrity in online classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic is very similar to promoting integrity in in-person learning. This page contains information to help you promote integrity while providing remote learning.
Guidelines for promoting integrity online
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Brenda.Stoesz@umanitoba.ca for access and details.
- 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).
- Limit the availability of the quiz, test or exam using restrictions in the UM Learn quiz tool.
- 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.
- 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.
- Create more questions than can be chosen at random for each student and randomize the order of the answers.
- 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.
- When writing multiple-choice questions, be sure to write wrong answer options that are plausible. Learn more about writing effective multiple-choice questions.
- Create questions that have multiple correct answers.
- Show one question at a time.
- Disable right-click and instant messages and alerts.
- Require forced completion; that is, once a student begins the assessment, they are required to finish it in one sitting.
- Limit the number of assessment attempts to one.
- Release quiz, test and exam scores only when all students have completed the assessment.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reduce the weight of exams relative to the overall grade of the course and increase the weight of other assessment types.
- 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
- Provide direct links to resources for writing and citing, such as those made available by UM Libraries.
- When appropriate, ask students to submit their reference articles or other supporting material with the text they cited highlighted (Meizlish, 2003).
- Compare the writing that students post on discussion boards with their other written work (Hill, 2010).
- Assign specific books or articles to be used for completing writing assignments (Hill, 2010).
- Check the file properties for the creation date and author for writing assignments.
Copyright law is flexible and supports teaching in all delivery formats (even online), but some different considerations may apply when teaching your course online.
While preparing course materials for the upcoming term, please consider the following:
Creating custom courseware (i.e., course packs)
- Contact The Bookstore as soon as possible to order your custom courseware. The Bookstore provides print (to be shipped) and digital options through the campus e-Store (http://umanitoba.ca/campus/bookstore/textbooks/fac-coursematerials.html).
- The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning provides services for copyright clearance for online course material, and negotiates and renews streaming licence agreements (https://centre.cc.umanitoba.ca/contact/).
Selecting online course materials:
- Consider open educational resources, Creative Commons, public domain, library licensed materials, or whether fair dealing may apply (http://umanitoba.ca/copyright/copyright_basics.html).
- Consider options that will be the most reasonable in price point, accessibility and availability for your students.
- UM Libraries can help to identify open educational resources (OERs - teaching and learning resources that can be freely used, shared and adapted) (https://libguides.lib.umanitoba.ca/OERs/intro), e-journals and e-books.
- Consult the Copyright Checklist & Flowchart (https://umanitoba.ca/admin/vp_admin/ofp/copyright/media/Copyright_checklist_flowchart_instructors.pdf).
Posting course materials
- Include citations for all work that you post and use in your course.
- Manage your own copyright to your course notes, exams, presentation slides and articles by:
- Example: © YEAR. Electronic or hard copy distribution of this content in part or in whole is strictly prohibited without the written permission of NAME OF PROFESSOR.
- OR choose a Creative Commons License that is right for you (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/).
Promoting academic integrity along with copyright consideration
- Learn about copyright considerations when using or creating images in the module “Academic Integrity in the Visual and Spatial Arts”. The module can be accessed through:
- Manitoba Flexible Learning Hub (https://mbhub.ca/)
Using copyright protected materials in online course delivery
Some good news: copyright law is flexible and supports teaching in all delivery formats (even online), but some different considerations may apply when teaching your course online.
Instructors are invited to join the Copyright Office’s hour-long webinar to learn the basics of copyright in online course delivery, get your questions answered and learn how to get support for your copyright questions.
Register for copyright webinars at: https://eventscalendar.umanitoba.ca/site/fairpractices/
Contact Brenda Stoesz to share your ideas and to be featured in the next issue of "Show Your Integrity," a newsletter brought to by the UM Academic Integrity Advisory Committee.
Conway-Klaassen, J. M., & Keil, D. E. (2020). Discouraging academic dishonesty in online courses. Clinical Laboratory Science, 23, 194–200.
East, J., & Donnelly, L. (2012). Taking responsibility for academic integrity: A collaborative teaching and learning design. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 9(3), 1–11.
Hill, C. (2010). Promoting academic integrity in online education (Issue May). https://www.facultyfocus.com/free-reports/promoting-academic-integrity-in-online-education/
Meizlish, D. (2003). Promoting academic integrity in the classoom. In CRLT Occasional Papers (No. 20). http://www.crlt.umich.edu/sites/default/files/resource_files/CRLT_no20.pdf
WCET, UT TeleCampus, & Instructional Technology Council. (2009). Best practice strategies to promote academic integrity in online education, Version 2.0 (Issue June). www.wcet.info
Williamson, M. H. (2018). Online exams: The need for best practices and overcoming challenges. The Journal of Public and Professional Sociology, 10(1), Article 2. https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1128&context=jpps
The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
65 Dafoe Road
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry Campus)
R3T 2N2, Canada