There are many things you can do to promote your students’ academic integrity, reducing the likelihood of cheating and plagiarism in your classes. One of the most important things you can do is to make it clear to your students that you value academic honesty (and why), thereby conveying that you take cheating and plagiarism seriously. In addition, it is important to make it clear to your students what behavior is and is not permissible in your class.
One aspect of accomplishing these goals is to include a clear policy in your syllabus regarding academic integrity, and acceptable forms of collaboration. This is important because these details are likely to change from class to class and from instructor to instructor.
To start with, you need to know what is expected of you and your students, according to Carnegie Mellon’s Policy on Academic Integrity. Here are some highlights:
- Collaboration is an extremely useful tool to promote student learning. The level of collaboration allowed in your class, for each type of graded work, is up to you. The policy default is that no collaboration is allowed unless specifically permitted by a course instructor.
- What counts as acceptable use of outside resources for assistance with graded work is up to you to define. The policy default is that campus resources (Academic Development, the Global Communication Center, and the Academic Resource Center (CMU-Q)) are permitted, and nothing else; as course instructor you can choose to specify alternative boundaries for acceptable and unacceptable assistance.
- Students are required to acknowledge any collaboration or assistance used (including use of campus resources) when they submit graded work – but it is up to you to give them a method for their reporting.
- Students are required to cite their sources, but you need to tell them how you want them to do this.
As you create your own course policy, there are four things to make sure you include:
- Motivate the policy in terms of the positive dimensions of academic integrity (i.e. this is about enhancing your education).
- Provide links to the university’s Policy on Academic Integrity (http://www.cmu.edu/policies/documents/Academic Integrity.htm)
and to the general student resource (http://www.cmu.edu/academic-integrity/).
- Explain what is and is not permitted in your course, for each type of graded work, with respect to collaboration and/or outside assistance.
- Explain procedures for student acknowledgement of collaboration and/or assistance, when they submit graded work.
Note also that you may want to include relevant portions of your policy any time you give your students information and/or handouts describing the requirements of graded work. This can be included at the top of a homework assignment, on the front of an exam, and so on.
Sample Policies for your Syllabus
Below are three sample policies for you to use as a starting point for you to use when you are developing your own policies on academic integrity and/or acceptable forms of collaboration: