One of the biggest challenges facing distance learning today is ensuring academic integrity. There are an overwhelming amount of blog posts, scholarly articles and stories in the Chronicle covering this topic. Let’s clear the air now and state that there is no absolute, sure-fire way to eliminate cheating in your online courses, just as there is no way to do it in your face-to-face courses. However, you can educate your students about academic integrity as part of their course activities, thereby ensuring that they understand what expectations you have of them in regards to academic integrity in your online course.
Here are some examples:
- Have students submit an assignment, blog post or journal entry on how they would define academic integrity.
- Have students use their own words when describing the course’s academic integrity policy.
- Provide a discussion assignment where students can discuss the importance of academic integrity in online courses.
- Have students “sign-off” on the course’s academic integrity policy stating that they understand what the policy means and how it pertains to them.
- Utilize a course wiki and have students create the academic integrity policy (have specific requirements).
Having students invest in the academic integrity of your course will go along way towards having them make good choices when it comes to academic decisions in the online environment.