“Hey Students! I Care; Be Aware”: An Academic Integrity Researcher’s Approach to Teaching

Having read and thought about students’ understandings of academic dishonesty, students’ responsibilities, and our own as teachers, I am very intentional about how I present my expectations and commitment to academic integrity in my teaching practice.

Here are some principles I strive to follow:

  • Create and foster student-teacher familiarity—I tell students about myself and express my interest in learning about them, especially through their writing and contribution to class discussion.
  • Establish the value and relevance of the course content and learning outcomes—I explain why this course exists in the curriculum, why it may be useful to them now and in the future, and why students have a unique and valuable opportunity to develop by becoming engaged learners.
  • Be explicit about referencing—I explain why referencing is important in academic work, why the particular protocol I require is appropriate to the course content and discipline, where they can find assistance in employing the protocol, and that I am available to answer questions.
  • Be explicit about expectations–I explain what I expect of students in their submission of individual work and their submission of group work. I also explain why I am interested in their original analysis, self-reflective ideas, and what research or literature provides a foundation for their point of view.
  • Be transparent about my approach to special requests like extensions on deadlines– I outline the specific time on the specific day that assignments are due, the penalty for each day late, and the approach students can take for requesting extensions, including that they should be prepared to explain why their peers would find the accommodation they are requesting a fair one.
  • Communicate commitment and diligence to fair and authentic assessment—I refer to our Learning Charter and our Academic Misconduct Policy and to my own personal interest in promoting academic integrity. I publicly commit to asking questions of students if I suspect unintentional or intentional misconduct and to following the policies of my department, college, and the university.

There are some interesting books in the University of Saskatchewan library that can be resources for teachers. A recent one available at the Education Library is:  Pedagogy, Not Policing: Positive approaches to academic integrity at the university. Edited by Tyra Twomey, Holly White, and Ken Sagendorf and published in 2009 by the Graduate School Press at Syracuse University.

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