Teaching Tips to Prevent Academic Misconduct

As part of the minimum syllabus requirement, instructors are required to include an academic integrity statement and policy that states the Aggie Code of Honor and refers to the Aggie Honor System Office Rules and Procedures on the AHSO website.

There are other elements that you can include in the syllabus to help discourage academic misconduct and provide support for you if someone in the class cheats.

  • Communicate writing and citation expectations early and often.
  • Establish expectations of how students should or should not collaborate on assignments.
  • Clarify policy on group work and what happens if one student commits academic misconduct.
  • Explain some of the consequences for a student who commits academic misconduct. As a reminder, the AHSO’s rules say “The usual sanction for a first offense is an F*.”

Other proactive measures include:

  • Proctor your exams closely. If you are in a large lecture hall it is wise to have more than one proctor monitoring the room. Regularly walking around the room and observing the student's behavior will deter any malfeasance.
  • If you have a suspicion a student might be cheating during an exam and are concerned at having proof of the violation, intervene in a way that quietly changes the environment. This could include standing between the student and the apparent target. Asking the student to move to a different seat or quietly asking the target to cover their own paper more carefully.
  • Ask students to move all backpacks, cell phones, food, drinks, and any other item not essential to completing the test to the side of the room or at least out of arm's length or line of sight.
  • If a calculator is required for the exam, make sure all potential formulas are erased from memory; the calculator cover is put out of arm's length or sight range; or allow only the use of a four function calculator if possible.
  • Pick up all blue books prior to the test and redistribute them at random.

If your class is writing-intensive, there are techniques you can use in designing the assignment and how it is submitted.

  • Work with students to submit large projects in sections and watch for dramatic shifts in writing style and ability.
  • Utilize plagiarism databases, such as Turnitin.com, to allow students to check their work prior to turning it in to you as well as checking it once you have received it. For assistance with setting up or using Turnitin.com, contact Instructional Technology Services athttp://itsinfo.tamu.edu/.
  • Direct students to resources that can provide assistance in avoiding plagiarism in their writing and citing styles.