Online Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity in Online Courses

We believe that instructional design can greatly impact the academic integrity of students. By creating courses that allow students to contribute their best work when they are able to, students are more likely to properly cite the sources they reference, build on their own drafts towards major assignments, and work more originally and creatively.

Here are some reasons why academic integrity gets compromised in submitted assignments:

  • Cultural understandings vary on what constitutes proper citation and academic integrity;
  • Overlapping timelines for various courses encourage rushed submissions with incomplete or unoriginal material;
  • Lack of excitement towards course material;
  • Misunderstood expectations on assignments;
  • Assignment- or exam-related anxiety and fear of failure which may lead to uncited references of published works.

The CTL recommends several  ways to encourage academic integrity in the classroom through the structure of assignments:

  • Provide resources for students to learn the proper ways to cite referenced sources within their submitted assignments;
  • Foster a culture of communication and respect in the classroom;
  • Encourage students to ask for help when they get stuck or don’t understand assignments or subject matter;
  • Create flexible due dates for assignments which allow students to dedicate the time they need towards creating original work;
  • Create frequent low-stakes assignments which build towards final projects, encouraging the creation of drafts and revisions of drafts;
  • Intentional reduction of grade anxiety through the distribution of assignment weight across the course of the semester;
  • Allow more time for major assignments, providing students with clear guidelines earlier in the semester to encourage preemptive work and drafts;
  • Discuss case studies of ethical and fair use practices in the students’ field of study, such as the unpaid use of artists’ work for commercial purposes and the impact of these practices on working artists.

Faculty are encouraged to link and share Pratt’s academic integrity policy with their students and hold a discussion about it early on in the semester:

The CTL also recommends that faculty co-create class participation norms for the semester, and as part that conversation they draw upon Pratt’s Community Standards, as a resource. Discussions of academic integrity often become part of these co-created community rules.

This policy of Academic Integrity in online educational environments was developed with reference to principles outlined by UC Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning, Cornell University Center for Teaching Innovation, and Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning.

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