Last week I wrote about some of the online resources that students sometimes use to cheat or otherwise “assist” themselves in university classes, without your permission. I heard from a few of you who lamented, along with me, that these resources even exist. Our best course of action as educators is to use “cheat proof” best practices in the design of our courses and assignments to keep our students accountable.

Here are 10 tips to get you started:

  1. It starts with your syllabus. Including the Student Conduct Expectations link is required, but consider taking it a step further. Spell out what is allowed and not allowed in your class, and discuss this on DAY 1. Some of our faculty include statements such as: “Use of online resources or prior students’ work that provide answers to homework or exam questions is cheating and will result in an F in the course.” Can’t get much clearer than that.
  2. Have your students complete the Academic Misconduct Tutorial during Week 1! Many of our students are never taught what constitutes academic misconduct before they come to us. Even better, include this in your program’s introduction class. Upon completion, students receive a Certificate of Completion. They cannot claim they didn’t know the rules!
  3. Plagiarism-resistant writing assignments are PROCESS focused. They include milestones along the way: Include note taking, outlining, annotated bibliographies prior to submission, drafting, and peer review. The early pieces can be low-stakes grading opportunities but should be required before they are allowed to turn in a final paper.
  4. Build support for researched writing into course design including analysis of models, conferences with you, and/or peer review.
  5. Have students present their work to the class. Short “press conference” style presentations where they field questions from the audience helps insure they’ve done the research.
  6. Teach citation conventions. The tutorial mentioned in #2 will help, but also discuss what/how you cite in your discipline.
  7. Avoid formulaic assignments that invite canned responses.
  8. Discuss common problems that students face and provide strategies for avoiding/solving them.
  9. Be prepared to change your questions if students are allowed to keep their homework/exams/quizzes. In the name of equity, consider providing an old quiz/exam or two on your Canvas site so that everyone has access to the same material.
  10. If students are allowed to collaborate, have them include the names of all students who contributed to the final assignment.

If you have other ideas, comment below! Finally, if you do encounter suspicious work, submit the case right away! It’s painful for everyone when you wait to call out academic misconduct from week 3 during finals week. The Assistant Dean is here to support you!

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