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Promoting Academic Integrity

When discussing academic integrity and academic dishonesty in the classroom, faculty can create a positive context that invites students to participate in understanding the value of their own original thought with respect for the sources they will use in their studies. While it is important that students understand what academic misconduct is and its potential consequences, it is also important that students are welcomed into a conversation about why academic integrity matters in each class, in their academic discipline, and at Boise State at large. Overall, the three kinds of activities that promote academic integrity and discourage academic misconduct are:

  1. Having a value based discussion about academic integrity,
  2. Defining academic misconduct, and
  3. Following university policy when an incident of academic misconduct is suspected.

At the start of the semester:

  • Frame an aspirational discussion regarding academic integrity within your syllabus, on your discussion boards, and/or in class. What is academic integrity and why is academic integrity important to you? To your discipline? To your students’ success in class and beyond? How will academic integrity help you get to know your students and best support their learning?
  • Faculty and students often have differing definitions of academic misconduct (McCabe, Butterfield, & Traviño 2012; Razek 2014; Yeo 2007). Clearly define how students can maintain academic integrity in your course. What citations are required for assignments like discussion board posts? What types of collaboration are permissible and for which assignments?

Throughout the semester:

  • To promote ethical writing, provide unique prompts for papers and scaffold assignments using tools such as creating milestones for large projects or papers, collect drafts and/or increase the amount of low stakes assignments, utilize peer review, and refer students to the Writing Center. (Craig, Federici, & Buehler, 2010; Linder, Abbott & Fromberger, 2006).
  • To reduce the chances that students will cheat, vary exam questions from semester to semester as well as within the same course. Avoid test bank questions where answers can be found online. Combined, discussing academic integrity in detail and removing the temptation to cheat can reduce incidents of academic misconduct in the classroom (Broeckelman-Post, 2008).
  • To promote ethical collaboration, provide assignment instructions that include the necessary parameters to maintain academic integrity in group work settings. This may be especially important if a particular assignment has unique expectations around the collaboration of if expectations in your course differ from others in your department or program. 
  • Role model academic integrity through citing all source material in worksheets, slides, exams, etc. (Nelson, Nelson & Tichneor, 2013; Craig, Federici, & Buehler, 2010).
  • If teaching online, have an online presence. Being a “real” person who students understand is engaged with them and their ideas support students’ involvement with the course content rather than focusing solely on the grade.

The Office of the Dean of Students would like to thank the CTL/IDEA Shop and eCampus Instructional Designers for providing comments on this document.

Broeckelman-Post, Melissa A. (2008). Faculty and student classroom influences on academic dishonesty. IEEE Transactions on Education, 51 (2), 206-211.

Craig, P. A., Federici, E., & Buehler, M. A. (2010). Instructing students in academic integrity. Journal of College Science Teaching, 40(2), 50–55.

Linder, S.P., Abbott, D., & Fromberger, M.J. (2006). An instructional scaffolding approach to teaching software design. Consortium for Computer Sciences in Colleges, 21(6), 238-250.

McCabe, D. L., Butterfield, K. D. & Treviño, L. K. (2012). Cheating in college: Why students do it and what educators can do about it. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

McCabe, D.L., Trevino, L.K., & Butterfield, K.D. (2001). Cheating in academic institutions: A decade of research. Ethics & Behavior, 11(3), 219-232.

Nelson, L.P., Nelson, R.K., Tichenor, L. (2013). Understanding today’s students: Entry-Level science student involvement in academic dishonesty. Journal of College Science Teaching, 42(3), 52-57.

Passow, H. J., Mayhew, M. J., Finelli, C. J., Harding, T. S., & Carpenter, D. D. (2006). Factors influencing engineering students’ decisions to cheat by type of assessment. Research in Higher Education, 47(6), 643-684.

Razek, N. (2014). Academic integrity: A Saudi student perspective. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 18(1), 143-154.

Turner, C. E. (2005). A new honesty for a new game: Distinguishing cheating from learning in a web-based testing environment. Journal of Political Science Education, 1, 163–174.

Yeo, S. (2007). First-year university science and engineering students’ understanding of plagiarism. Higher Education Research & Development, 26(2), 199–216.

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