In many cases, students in a course share a variety of experience levels with research and writing. Some may not have performed any research in the topic area, or written the type of essay or report that is expected. Clarity about expectations for academic integrity can alleviate student anxiety and can improve the quality of work. Use these best practices to help your students stay on the right academic path.

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Best Practices

  • Discuss academic integrity on the first day of class or in your welcome video. If there are particular assignments where you think students may struggle, point out your concerns and provide tips on how they can ensure their work is in line with the UF Student Honor Code.
  • Provide resources about academic integrity. In addition to linking to the honor code and Honor Code Process in your Syllabus, provide any other resources you think will be helpful. This may include a library guide on research methods, or guides for avoiding plagiarism. You may even require students to complete the Academic Integrity Module included in the DSO-Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution site and then include a short quiz on these items in your Start Here module.
  • Scaffold assignments. Require students to submit proposals, drafts, and revisions for writing assignments and projects. Scaffolding will help students keep from falling behind in their work and may alleviate some of the pressure to plagiarize or submit work that is not their own. This can also help you catch instances of unintentional plagiarism early so you can resolve them with the student and turn it into a learning experience.
  • Provide feedback and allow revisions. Provide feedback at each stage of a writing assignment or project and encourage students to provide feedback through peer review, if appropriate. In addition, enable Turnitin for online submissions so students can see whether their work is plagiarized and make necessary adjustments before their final submission (remember not to include drafts in the repository or final drafts will appear heavily plagiarized). Allowing revision can build students’ skills in self-assessment of their own writing and will help them identify where proper citations are needed.
  • Explain the format and structure for any high-stakes assessments. It is also important to discuss how students should prepare, and whether there will be any review session or practice exam made available. Facilitating preparation can reduce the temptation to cheat.
  • Decide whether assessments need to be proctored. Make unproctored tests and quizzes low-stakes to discourage cheating. Select a proctoring method for high-stakes exams to discourage cheating on multiple choice tests.
  • Utilize LMS settings that make cheating more difficult. Build banks of questions in your LMS and then create quizzes that pull questions randomly so that students do not all receive the same quiz in the same order. You can also shuffle the order of answer choices, and impose time limits on quizzes to make it harder for students to cheat.
  • Give students options for getting assistance. Many students struggle with proper citation and use of paraphrasing. In addition to offering help during office hours or in class, be sure to encourage students to take advantage of the many resources available at UF. Create a resources page with this information in your eLearning course site or include these items in your course syllabus.
    • Students have access to free writing assistance through the UF Writing Program both on campus and online.
    • Invite a librarian to speak about information literacy and research practices at a class-meeting or embed them into your eLearning course site so they can interact with students online.
    • Request a library guide for a particular research area or subject students may struggle with, or share an existing one. These guides can now be embedded into eLearning course sites and can include information on content, research, and attribution styles.
    • Encourage students to read the attribution and plagiarism and copyright law basics pages on the Copyright on Campus library guide.

References and Additional Resources

Further Exploration

  1. M. Gullifer & G.A. Tyson. 2013. Studies in Higher Education Who has read the policy on plagiarism? Unpacking students' understanding of plagiarism.