Promoting Academic Integrity in Remote Teaching

The structure of your assessments and your communication with students can help promote academic integrity. Here are some extra steps to minimize the likelihood that students will engage in academic dishonesty online:

Lower Grade Anxiety to Promote Academic Integrity 

The following strategies can lower anxiety, which drives many students to consider cheating.

  • be flexible with due dates
  • allow more time for major assignments (whether as a general rule or by individual request)
  • redistribute the relative weight of major assessments, to reduce the stakes of any one assignment

Structure Assessments to Promote Academic Integrity

You may need to adjust plans for end-of-semester assessments, and it may be challenging to replicate a traditional exam in an online environment.

  • consider alternatives to a traditional exam that call for higher-order thinking skills (presentations, case study analyses, annotated problem sets, a series of lower-stakes quizzes, etc.)
  • if you choose to use Canvas Quizzes to create a final exam:
    • establish a time limit for quizzes, and limit the window during which students can take the quiz
    • shuffle the order of choices in multiple-response questions
    • create question groups in a quiz. This will randomize question order within each group. You can also create a question pool by including more questions in a group than you will use in the quiz
    • display one question at a time
    • do not allow students to see their quiz responses after the quiz (This can be changed manually after the quiz is no longer available)
    • assume not all students will have the necessary hardware and/or internet service required to take a timed, high-stakes exam, and prepare an alternate assessment option

Communicate about Academic Integrity 

Be clear about any changes to your syllabus (regarding assignments, new/flexible due dates, relative weights of assignments, etc.), the University’s honor code, and your commitment to supporting students. 

Make sure students are aware of Cornell’s Code of Academic Integrity.

Explicitly ask students to honor the Code of Academic Integrity. Here are some sample appeals you can modify for your needs:

Logical appeal

Cheating diminishes the value of this credential/course/degree. There will very soon come a time when you will need the skills and knowledge being assessed in this course, and you don’t want to find yourself in a position in which your pre-requisite/credentialed knowledge is fraudulent.

Emotional (moral) appeal

Cheating is a temptation, of course, but it’s your personal integrity on the line. We are Cornell (YOU are Cornell), and we are called to do the right thing.  

Personal appeal

As I have made every effort to continue our class’s sense of community and purpose, I’m asking you to make every effort to be honest and honorable in the demonstration of what you have learned in our class.

Let students know that you are open to hearing about their specific challenges. Knowing that you are approachable will increase the likelihood that students will speak with you before compromising their integrity to make the grade