Academic Integrity

What is Academic Integrity?

Academic Integrity is the undertaking of academic activity in an open, honest, and responsible manner.

What is Considered Academic Dishonesty at Cambrian College?

In its broadest sense, Academic Dishonesty refers to any conscious, deliberate, or reckless action or omission taken to obtain academic credit through deception and/or false means. Academic Dishonesty, in whatever form, compromises the values of the College, undermines the credibility of credentials granted by the College, and discourages students and staff who pursue their academic activities honestly.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty

Academic Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following examples:

  • Plagiarism
  • Cheating
  • Passing the work of others off as your own
  • Misrepresentation
  • Falsification, and
  • Fabrication of information

Discussing Academic Dishonesty with Your Students

There are a variety of ways that you can discuss academic integrity with your students. We strongly encourage you to discuss this topic on the first day of class with your students, as well as provide a link in your Moodle shell to Cambrian’s Academic Integrity Policy. We have also created the following video which you may wish to share with your students:

Why Are Students Academically Dishonest?

There are a spectrum of reasons when it comes to students being academically dishonest in post-secondary education. Some examples include:

  • Having low confidence in their own academic abilities.
  • High-stakes testing and assignments that are weighted heavily.
  • Feeling pressure and competition with classmates to achieve high grades.
  • Feeling pressure from, and wanting to appease self, family and friends with good grades.
  • Needing to reach a certain percentage if they’re falling behind or failing a class.
  • Little or no time management/procrastination when it comes to studying or completing assignments.
  • Uninterested in the material or course.
  • Don’t understand the material being taught.

These are just some of the top reasons and motivations for students to cheat during their post-secondary education. It is important for educators to consider these reasons and others to take action and prevent academic dishonesty. 

How to Prevent Academic Dishonesty:

Hub Quick Tips: Preventing Academic Dishonesty

Download the following PDF document, developed by the Hub Team, for a handy guide on preventing academic dishonesty in your classroom here at Cambrian:

Proactive Classroom Strategies

Besides awareness of the Policy, being proactive also includes minimizing opportunities for your students to cheat. This can be done through effective design of your Moodle course, assignments, quizzes and tests. For example:

  • Focus on performance not mastery
  • Build intrinsic motivation within your students. Ex: instead of focusing on the mark that they’ll receive at the end of a test, encourage them to think about the value that this will bring to their career and the skills they’ve learned.
  • Help students build confidence in their understanding of the material by giving them multiple opportunities to practice, frequent feedback and opportunities for clarification and to ask questions.
  • Create a respective and trusting environment by getting to know your students and their names, talking about what it means to be honest and instilling pride and motivation that students are capable of being their best self.
  • Don’t recycle tests from the previous year, especially if students would have had access to the questions and answer keys
  • Give students choices in topics/assessments, such as encouraging them to be creative in the types of materials they hand in and not using cookie-cutter templates
  • Ensure you are not weighting certain tests and assignments too heavily as this adds additional stress to students who may turn to cheating if they believe it will boost their grades. A better way is to have more frequent assessments that are more evenly weighted throughout the semester.
  • Give your students a test review before exams/tests, give some class time to work on or go over the review, and give the opportunity to answer any questions in that class time.
  • Use fun ways to teach lessons that can help students be motivated to go to class, learn the material, and have it as a way to study later on when it comes to exams/testing. Ex. Kahoot! is a game-based tool that incorporates learning and playing together that is flexible, simple, diverse, and engaging to use for things like quizzes, surveys, discussions, lessons or studying.
  • Using software available to you when students are required to write online tests. Ex. Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Moodle so students can’t move away from the testing screen and open other tabs.
  • Don’t allow anything on the desks such as phones, bags, etc. during tests and have students sit at least one desk apart during tests.

Responding to Academic Dishonesty

If you suspect, or have witnessed a student in your class demonstrating an act of academic dishonesty, follow the steps outlined in Cambrian College’s Academic Integrity Policy.   The Policy outlines information regarding:

  • Allegations of academic dishonesty
  • Timing
  • Reporting and disclosure
  • Retention of materials
  • Meeting with student(s)
  • Standard of proof
  • Penalties
  • Appeals
  • Student records
  • Responsibilities and accountability of all stakeholders

Additional Resources