Our role as instructors involves both the modeling and promotion of academic integrity as a way of upholding the values of fairness and quality in teaching, learning, and research. This can be achieved by educating ourselves and by clearly communicating to students what is meant by academic integrity and what some of the strategies are to achieving it.
This page offers instructors resources for creating awareness about academic integrity and preventing academic misconduct, such as:
- information sheets you can give to your students
- guidelines for redesigning your assignments
- examples of assignments from other instructors that teach students about academic integrity
- Departmental/program policy statements and syllabus statements
- as well as information on text-matching software (i.e. Turnitin.com)
It also provides you with the university’s policies and procedures regarding academic integrity, as well as guidelines for the use of student’s work for teaching.
Educate your students
- You can also share with your students the Library’s overview or handout on plagiarism to remind them of what forms it can take and its possible consequences.
- The students’ section of this website makes it clear what are the rights and responsibilities of the student; you may find it useful to know what they are expected to know, examples of plagiarism, and so on.
- Be sure to indicate on your syllabus whether or not students can hire a professional editor for their written assignments.
- Margaret Proctor, who is the University of Toronto Coordinator of Writing Support , has developed resources to help instructors educate students about plagiarism.
- As well, the LTC, under Dr. Geri Van Gyn, produced a report on academic integrity and an article on how students perceive plagiarism.
Redesign assignments for prevention
Communicate clearly about policies
Instructors are encouraged to include a statement on the course syllabus outlining the policy regarding academic integrity. As well, a strong program policy could be posted online, or simply linked to the calendar statement on academic integrity. Here is an example from Engineering that clearly communicates the expectations and policies of the department.
Model integrity in teaching
- Discuss academic integrity with your students, put a statement regarding academic integrity on your syllabus, and refer students to resources to avoid plagiarism. This is particularly crucial in introductory and foundational courses where students are being introduced to the university context.
- Student samples are fine to use if you have the student’s permission to use it and you have been clear about its intended use.
- The UVic Copyright Office provides up-tp-date information about what you can use in your courses, Moodle shell, and course pack.
- Retention of materials - Keeping copies of the feedback you give on student work can be very helpful in the appeals process. This can be done in a variety of ways, including the use of a rubric, or a typed compilation of your feedback on students’ work.
Know the policies, procedures, and consequences
- The UVic Policy on Academic Integrity states that departments have to follow university policy. Departments follow procedures at the departmental level, but the university ultimately has jurisdiction.
- Many departments require that instructors put a statement about academic integrity on their syllabus. One example statement is: “I would anticipate that we will all adhere to the academic integrity standards that are expected of all students and professors at UVic. Specifically the Undergraduate Calendar (p. 32 in the 2009-2010 edition) outlines the university’s policy on academic integrity, and defines plagiarism (as well as the variety of processes and procedures used to address it). If you have any questions about academic integrity or how to comply with the university’s policy, do not hesitate to let me know.”
- The university policy is the same for both undergraduate and graduate students.
- Text-matching software policy - documentation pending. While a policy statement was passed at the Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning in November 2009, but has not yet been approved. A suggested syllabus statement is:
“As part of the university’s commitment to academic integrity, students in this course are required to submit assignments to text-matching or code-matching software designed to assist in the detection of plagiarism. For full details of the university’s policies and processes, please see the academic calendar. Students are encouraged to carefully review these documents and direct any questions or concerns to their instructor immediately.”
What do I do when I suspect an assignment or exam is plagiarized?
- If you suspect plagiarism, keep detailed notes and inform your Chair.
- You may find that an initial conversation with the student can address this issue without engaging in a formal process. This is especially true if you think the plagiarism might be unintentional and due to a lack of student knowledge regarding citation requirements.
- The Chair can propose a sanction to the Dean, if applicable. Note the Dean of Graduate Studies should be informed if the case concerns the work of a graduate student.
- Bear in mind that a student has the right to be heard at each stage, and has the right to appeal decisions.
All of the following penalties are accompanied by a letter of reprimand which stays with the student’s file for four years after graduation. Please see the UVic Calendar for more detailed information. After following the policies and procedures of your department and in the UVic policy, generally speaking, the penalties may be:
- A grade of zero for the whole or part of an assignment;
- A grade of F for the course;
- Rejection of parts or the whole of a graduate student’s thesis.
Working with teaching assistants (TAs)
- Discuss academic integrity as part of the roles and responsibilities document with your teaching assistants.
- Be clear about what the departmental policies are.
- Reassure teaching assistants that their concerns about academic integrity will be taken seriously and be clear with them that they will not have to handle these issues themselves. Instead, they should refer any suspected incidents of student plagiarism in the course directly to you, the instructor.
- Text-matching software allows instructors to ascertain if portions of student writing match other writing in the database. UVic has a license to one such software package, Turnitin.com. For more information, please see the UVic Policy on Academic Integrity.
- Turnitin.com: http://turnitinhelp.uvic.ca/
- Turnitin can also be used as a student self-check tool on drafts
- Some students ask their instructors if there is an alternative to using text matching software. Here are two examples of how other universities have approached this situation: McGill and York
- The ombudsperson, Martine Conway, has created a great explanation of the UVic policies and procedures through real student examples. The complete document is available here.
- Examples of assignments from other instructors – under construction. If you are interested in submitting example assignments, please contact Teresa Dawson, Director of the Learning and Teaching Centre, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The University of Toronto has a document that clearly outline the rights and responsibilities of students in regard to academic integrity.
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