Office of Academic and Community Conduct

Guide of Academic Integrity in Online Learning Environments

As Michigan Tech proceeds to online instruction , we offer the following guidance about academic integrity in online learning environments.  We know many of our students, instructors, and faculty have navigated this before, so we also invite you to email studentconduct@mtu.edu with any suggestions or resources, and we can continue to share those here.

  1.       Remind students that the Academic Integrity Policy still applies, as it always has.  As is best practice in any learning environment, be specific about what this means in your particular course or subject area.  Remember that our students come from diverse learning and professional backgrounds, and your leadership is integral to being sure your learning community has a shared understanding.  You can use the Academic Integrity Resource Center as a resource for students.
  2.       As you begin any new teaching format, openly invite clarifying questions about how and if collaboration and resource-sharing expectations might change given these changes in the learning environment.  If you and your students are changing to an online format, this will be a developing process for everyone, so continue to invite questions as you and students adapt. As you do this, be mindful and inclusive of Disability Services accommodations and varied internet accessibility.  You could say, for example, “The project that I had previously envisioned being a group project can now be done individually, and I will outline the requirements. If you need further modifications for Disability Services accommodations or limited internet access, please let me know that.”
  3.   Consider a variety of  ways for students to participate, including inviting students to disclose what technology and time are available to them.  Internet access may be varied among your students and they may be sharing home space with a variety of family members, so polling software or vocal participation may create challenges..  Find creative and multiple platforms for them to engage, including email, surveys, and formative assessments as the course progresses. This promotes integrity as well as better knowledge acquisition and your ongoing assessment of their learning.
  4.   Students should continue to use the Multiliteracies Center online resources, which provide excellent information about plagiarism, writing processes, and other essential steps in maintaining academic integrity.  Be clear about citation expectations: “For this assignment, you need to attribute any quotations that you use within the paper. Please see [insert example that you select].”    
  5.   Design assignments that require students to do the work independently of their peers, as this will also support varied internet access .  When assigning an online quiz or test, you can often randomize the order of questions or multiple choice options, making it harder to cheat.  Likewise, assignments or assessments designed with more than one correct answer and where students must demonstrate reasoning also promote academic integrity, as well as more real-world thinking.  Consider open note/book exams with a large question bank (say a 5 question test with 30 questions). That way everyone can easily receive a different test. This article from Ohio State University provides more detail on how to accomplish this.
  6.   Consider how much time you allot for assignments.  Be sure students have enough time to meaningfully do the work, without time to compare answers.  As noted before, be inclusive of students with varied internet access and students with Disability Services accommodations.   
  7.       If you’re not familiar with technology that increases assurances for online integrity, the Center for Teaching and Learning has some useful resources.
  8.       If you have questions or concerns about a student’s academic integrity, review our faculty guide for Academic Integrity.