Regardless of modality, faculty can utilize the following strategies to protect the integrity of their classes and promote a culture of academic honesty.
For consultation on individualized approaches, faculty are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Academic Integrity via email or telephone at (304) 293-8111.
State clearly what you mean by academic integrity. For example, post an integrity statement on the course homepage and on individual assignments. And when you communicate directly with students, talk about what you mean by academic integrity.
An integrity statement doesn't have to be complicated. It is simply meant to remind students of WVU's high standards and to show them where they can learn more. For example, an integrity statement on an exam might read, "I affirm that my work is my own, and that it follows the expectations outlined in the WVU Policy on Student Academic Integrity."
Encourage your students to learn more about academic integrity and what it means at WVU. Key resources to direct them to include:
You can also require students to complete one or more of these modules for credit – or assign them as an extra credit opportunity!
When building exams in eCampus or SOLE, use a large bank of questions and randomize both questions and answers. When assigning homework projects, build them so that no two answers can be the same - and encourage students to work together to solve their projects. For written assignments, use creative prompts that don’t lend themselves to copy-and-paste plagiarism.
These are just a few of the many ways to make assessments "cheat-resistant." Of course, actions like these won’t eliminate misconduct – but can discourage it.
Similarity detection software like Turnitin – available through eCampus and SOLE – compares each student submission to journal articles, online resources, and other student work. The system also allows instructors to easily provide feedback across several dimensions. Similarity detection software does not replace human judgment – but does give you a starting point to identify and address possible plagiarism.
Every student submission online, from papers to exams to discussion posts, contains metadata – clues about who did the work. If you suspect that a student didn’t do their own work, you can check the metadata yourself – or ask the Office of Academic Integrity to open an investigation.
For exams and other high-stakes, individual assessments, proctoring can help ensure the integrity of student work. In any modality, this may involve using graduate or undergraduate teaching assistants to proctor. Online, it may require use of additional proctoring services. To determine what proctoring resources are already available, consult with your college's academic leadership.
For timed assessments, ensure that students have a reasonable amount of time to complete the work. However, too much time can give students the opportunity to seek outside help – so you may want to limit the time accordingly.
If you have an attendance policy, monitoring this can be tricky in large classes or in synchronous, online sessions. It’s also relatively easy for students to "slip out" in these environments. This means that using polling software to take attendance at the beginning of class simply may not be enough.
Additionally, strict attendance policies can penalize students who legitimately cannot attend. They also incentivize risky behavior, such as attending class while ill.
Ultimately, instructors should prioritize engagement - whether students are participating in person or remotely. How? One strategy is to use polling software throughout each synchronous session to promote active, content-focused learning and to collect metadata around student participation.