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Academic Integrity: Tips For Faculty: Overview

Faculty can play a significant role in helping students understand exactly what the expectations are around academic integrity in their specific class and in their discipline generally. Some areas of study explicitly expect aspects of remixing and reusing, such as visual arts and music, yet also have their own codes of conduct for giving attribution. In addition, what happens around sharing and copying inside academia can look different from what happens in professional practice, such as reusing computer code. Many academic integrity issues can be avoided by starting these conversations early and having them often.

Communicating With Students

One of the biggest ways to help students is to talk specifically about academic integrity and what it looks like in your courses beyond the words of the syllabus statement. We say, "no cheating, no copying..." but what can copying mean? Do we really mean NO copying? How do practices of citation and reference help? Making this an explicit discussion as you introduce new assignments and activities or building in those statements into assignment prompts can make a difference. Many classes integrate elements of group work and encourage study partners, but it can be unclear to students how much group work is too much, when can they collaborate and ask for help, and when the work needs to be their own. Talking through these scenarios using materials from Academic Integrity at Macalester can open doors to conversations and provide students the language they need to ask for help.

Syllabus Statements

We often use a fairly generic statement referencing the college policies about academic integrity in our syllabi that can seem far removed from challenges of the classroom. Can you supplement those statements with some clarifying language about what that statement means in your class? Thinking about the examples used in this guide, which of these situations might come up?

Assignment Design

Good pedagogy goes a long way toward minimizing student plagiarism and other forms of academic integrity violations. Here are some things to consider building into your courses and assignments:

 

  • Use low-stakes writing as building blocks toward larger papers
  • Talk with students about their projects regularly
  • Discuss challenges students are having integrating resources into their work
  • Collaborate with research librarians on assignment design and support for students navigating information sources
  • Ask for a research journal in which students engage in self-reflection on their research process in addition to or integrated with an annotated bibliography
  • Work with students on setting mutually agreeable alternate deadlines for those who have multiple external commitments.

Student-Writen Case Studies

The following case studies were written by Macalester students. Each of them includes a description of an academic integrity violation, the student's reflection about the event, and prompts for further discussion.