Promoting Integrity in Assignments

Instead of focusing on the fact that "Plagiarism is a Crime" and our draconian policies to prevent it, it is better to work to prevent plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty at the time we begin to develop our assignments. It is important to have clear policies in place to deal with dishonesty and to educate our students about academic integrity. However, assignment design is an important factor in preventing plagiarism and other forms of dishonesty; possibly one of the most important factors.

Literature Review

Unfortunately, a general assignment almost invites students to cheat. It is more difficult to plagiarize on a focused assignment (Malouff and Randi 1996; Lathrop and Foss, 2000; Coffey and Casey, 2001; Drogemuller 1997; Vernon, Bigna, and Smith 2001; Moore 2002; Zack 1998).

As students are researching, faculty members should have them document and reflect on their progress and all steps of the process should be evaluated (Berg, 2003; Lathrop and Foss 2000; Malouff and Sims 1996). As Lathrop and Foss (2000) argue, “Specified parts of the paper should be submitted at stated intervals and supported with an outline, notes, note cards, drafts, photocopies of sources from books and magazines, copies of pages downloaded from the Internet, a working bibliography, etc.” (p. 175) Similar arguments have been made by others. (Harris 2001; Fain and Bates 2003; Center for Academic Integrity 2003; McKenzie 1998; Harris, “Presenting and Detecting Plagiarism, 2002; Wilhoit 1994; Drogemuller 1997; Vernon, Bigna, and Smith 2001)

Best Practices

Promoting Integrity at the Classroom Level

In addition to promoting academic integrity when designing specific assignments, the "Promoting Academic at the Classroom Level tutorial gives ideas on how to create a culture of integrity in your classroom.




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References and Resources

    Coffey, Monica A., and Kathleen E. Casey. The Cyberspace Detective: Uncovering Online Plagiarism. [Philadelphia, PA]: Xlibris Corporation, 2001.

    Drogemuller, Richard. "Designing Cyber-Assignments." Australian Science Teachers Journal 43.4 (1997): 42+.

    Malouff, John M., and Randi L. Sims. "Applying an Employee-Motivation Model to Prevent Student Plagiarism." Journal of Education for Business 72.1 (1996): 58+.

    Moore, Vincent. "Playing Dirty in the War on Plagiarism." The Chronicle of Higher Education (2002). 4 November 2007. Web.

    Malouff, John M., and Randi L. Sims. "Applying an Employee-Motivation Model to Prevent Student Plagiarism." Journal of Education for Business 72.1 (1996): 58+.

    Vernon, Robert F., Shirley Bigna, and Marshall L. Smith. "Plagiarism and the Web." Journal of Social Work Education 37.1 (2001): 193+.

    Wilhoit, Stephen. "Helping Students Avoid Plagiarism." College Teaching 42.4 (1994): 161+.

    Zack, Ian. "The Latest Academic Vice: Computer-Assisted Cheating." The New York Times on the Web. 16 September 1998.