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Fostering Academic Integrity in Online Courses - Larry MacPhee, CTELJoyce...


Is cheating inevitable?Why do students cheat?Why is it my problem?. 3 General Questions. . Why do they do it?. Easy to get away withInsufficient timeA friend needed helpPassing grade is vitalEveryone else is doing itNobody cares if I cheatCourse is too hardTeacher is unfairCourse is useles

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Fostering Academic Integrity in Online Courses

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Fostering academic integrity in online courses

Fostering Academic Integrityin Online Courses

Advice for Faculty

Larry MacPhee, CTEL

Joyce Kincannon, CTEL

Wally Nolan, CTEL


Is cheating inevitable?

Why do students cheat?

Why is it my problem?

3 General Questions


Why do they do it

Easy to get away with

Insufficient time

A friend needed help

Passing grade is vital

Everyone else is doing it

Nobody cares if I cheat

Course is too hard

Teacher is unfair

Course is useless.

Why do they do it?


Is this my problem

Credibility is at stake

of the Instructor

of the Course

of the Program

of the Institution

Student morale is at stake.

Is this my problem?


5 course design elements

5 Course Design Elements

  • Syllabus Design

  • Content Delivery

  • Student-Instructor Relationship

  • Assessment Design

  • Monitoring Tools


1 syllabus design

1. Syllabus Design

  • Clearly define course objectives

  • Define inappropriate behavior

  • Specify consequences

  • Link to institutional policies

  • Warn students of monitoring tools

  • Discuss relevance of course

  • Establish deadlines

  • Clearly define course policies.


2 content delivery

2. Content Delivery

  • Change assignments each semester

  • Know your audience

  • Required vs. supplemental info

  • Tell students what is important

  • Design assignments for the web.

  • Link to resource pages

  • Keep audio & video clips short

  • Avoid PowerPoint

  • Use student prompts

  • Lean and rich, not flashy and fluffy

  • Offline learning is ok.


3 good communication

3. Good Communication

  • Offer frequent reminders

  • Respond promptly to questions

  • Build a respectful relationship

  • Encourage student collaboration

  • Monitor student communication

  • Moderate discussions.


4 assessment design

4. Assessment Design

  • Randomize questions and answers

  • Use large question banks, multiple versions

  • Set short time windows for objective tests

  • Proctor objective tests in labs

  • Thwart paper mills like “SchoolSucks.com”

  • Spread points across many assignments

  • Consider use of “honor statements”

  • Assume student access to all resources

  • Investigate suspicious activity.


5 monitoring tools

5. Monitoring Tools

  • Enroll a “mole” in your class discussions

  • Look for same wrong answer patterns

  • Check test start and end times

  • Check test takers’ IP addresses

  • Interview suspects sequentially

  • Track student scores during the course

  • Look at grade distributions over semesters

  • Use comparison tools like “TurnItIn.com”


New technologies

Google, Encarta, WiFi, IM, cell phones, OCR

New Technologies


Additional resources

Software Secure

Duke University’s Center for Academic Integrity

Designing Online Courses to Discourage Dishonesty by Barbara Christe

30 seconds to a Darwin Biography (courtesy Encarta.com)

Additional Resources