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Prevention & Educational Opportunities

Students’ perceptions of academic integrity will vary, so make your expectations consistent and clear.
Develop a course protocol document that appeals to students’ virtues, principles, and reasoning. This could be done collaboratively with input from the students themselves. Ask them questions such as “What constitutes academic honesty versus dishonesty?”, “What can we, as a learning community, do to prevent dishonesty activity in our course?” Use Conestoga’s Academic Integrity website or relevant policies and procedures to guide this activity.

A culture of integrity is best achieved through modelling and mentorship.
As faculty, we must assess our own practices and resources (slides, handouts, postings, publications, etc.) to ensure we’re appropriately acknowledging and citing the work of others. When we model scholarly behaviour, we encourage students to follow our lead.

Academic Integrity is a shared responsibility.
Refer students to key supports.  Try instituting a “three-before-me” routine wherein students identify three steps they will take to get feedback prior to submission. Feedback sources could include visiting the Library Services for research, writing and citing support. 

Students are more likely to cheat when they’re anxious or worried.
Provide the scaffolding needed to make course outcomes achievable, and inspire student autonomy by offering choice over the content and/or process and/or product that they are assigned.  

Instances of academic dishonesty shouldn’t be ignored.
Even with all your efforts at prevention, some students might cheat. All cases of academic integrity violation should be filed using the Academic Offences tab in the Employee Portal. 

Assignment Situations

  1. Draw the line between formatting errors and subversion.

    Define and demonstrate the differences between these occurrences, and inform the class that while formatting errors (e.g. improper use of punctuation, spacing, etc.) may not be considered academic offences, they will be assessed on the rubric and have an impact on grades.
  2. Provide an example of previous student work (with permission).

    Highlight how the exemplar meets expectations, and remind students that this resource is being presented as a guideline, not a template to copy.
  3. Use examples of citations in your teaching practice.

    Try saying things like, “As you can see I am quoting directly from _____; They conducted research on _____.” ; “This slide summarizes a research study by _____; You can see my citation here and the associated reference on the last slide.” ; “Here I am paraphrasing the findings of _________; Note the citation with the authors and the year.”
  4. Ask an expert to visit your class to explain best practices in academic integrity.

    Library & Learning Services can advise students on how to collect, conduct, cite, and research, please check out Educational Resources > Classroom Workshops.
  5. Where appropriate, use technology (e.g. Turnitin, Google, etc.) to support your review of student content, but recognize its limitations.

    If you use Turnitin, be sure to consult the Instructor Guide beforehand.  Click the “Turnitin” button in the Conestoga dropbox and allow multiple submissions so students can check their own papers for originality and make adjustments prior to submitting the finished product. If you require assistance interpreting the Similarity Report, please contact the Academic Integrity Office.
  6. Try not to recycle assignment prompts and topics.

    Change the variables within topics each semester, or better yet, personalize the task to each student.
  7. Limit the number of sources and the size of the final product.

    Carefully consider how much you need to read and the student needs to research and write so that you have evidence that they have met the course learning outcomes.
  8. Assess PROCESS and PRODUCT separately so that students can see your expectations for both.

    Have an in-class workshop after they do their preliminary research, and ask students to bring evidence of their work to-date. Circulate and provide feedback and guidance. You can reward this with a section on the final rubric for evidence of preliminary work.
  9. Provide parameters around collaboration.

    Inform students, very explicitly within the assignment instructions, whether they are expected to complete assignments independently or collaboratively. Reiterate this when providing verbal instructions, as well.
  10. Where appropriate, offer extensions.

Although deferred deadlines are not always ideal or feasible, sometimes the only thing a student needs to produce honest and authentic work is a little more time.

Educational Resources

    The Library and Learning Services offer classroom workshops on research, APA@Conestoga, Copyright and Academic Integrity. For further information on research, copyright and Academic Integrity workshops, please visit Instructional Support. For the APA@Conestoga workshops, please visit Student Success.


Conestoga College offers an online micro-credential that explores key concepts, practices, and strategies related to academic integrity. You will take an in-depth look at topics like why students might cheat, how to build a culture of integrity, plagiarism and intentionality, the relationship between technology and academic integrity, contract cheating, and barriers to reporting academic incidents. For further information, visit Conestoga Continuing Education.

Setting Up TurnItIn

The following guide provides instructions on how to set up Turnitin on eConestoga with best practices in mind. All Conestoga faculty can access Turnitin to analyze students’ assignments for proper citation and referencing and identify possible plagiarism concerns. To access this feature, faculty must activate Turnitin for each assignment folder on eConestoga.
  • Guide to Setting Up Turnitin Infographic [PDF Document]
  • Guide to Setting Up Turnitin Accessible Verision[PDF Document]
  • Testing Situations

      1. Familiarize Students.

        This guide provides instructions on setting up Turnitin on eConestoga with best practices in mind. All Conestoga faculty can access Turnitin to analyze students’ assignments for proper citation and referencing and identify possible plagiarism concerns. To access this feature, faculty must activate Turnitin for each assignment folder on eConestoga.
      2. "Cheat-Proof" Your Questions.

        If students know that they need to apply information and concepts to novel cases, then the usefulness of planning cheating in advance is diminished. When appropriate, writing test questions that require higher-order thinking skills can positively impact the way students approach learning the material.
      3. Secure the Environment.

        There are two main types of cheating with regards to unauthorized materials: 1) Planned cheating, wherein a student attempts to bring notes or test answers into the test setting via paper, a smartphone or a smartwatch 2) On-the-spot cheating, in which a student tries to access answers from the web or another student (verbally or visually). For more information on navigating testing situations, check out Teaching & Learning's Hub Post, "Testing Preparation: Providing Guidance for Students Taking Tests".

      1. Make studying more appealing than cheating.

        Don’t wait till the day of the test to tell students how you try to cheat-proof your tests. Post your practices on eConestoga from the start of the course.
      2. Refresh your tests regularly.

        Students can quickly snap photos of pages during or after a test and share/sell them online or privately. It would be better for you to share copies of previous tests and exams for practice and ensure that you use new prompts each time that require novel application of the course’s learning.
      3. Keep desktops clear.

        Do not allow any watches, phones, digital devices, programmable calculators, coats, bags or pencil cases to be within arm’s reach. All of these items can contain digital or print copies of course materials. Such items need to be left in lockers, placed in baggies, set along the front wall or placed out of reach under the table. Be aware that faculty in Ontario have caught students with extra cell phones on their persons, so circulating around the room remains important. At Conestoga, we’ve had multiple cases of students taking pictures of test pages and sharing with the next section. Teachers find out as angry students send the faculty screenshots.
      4. Require Student I.D. 

        Ask students to bring their Conestoga ONECard as identification. Students may attempt to write each other’s test in large cohorts.
      5. Consider a Seating Plan.

        Consider numbering the seats 1-X and as students enter, assign them a random place. Alternatively, you can number the test papers and place them around the room and as students come in send them to the next number. You can also create a seating plan in advance and project it on the screen so students sit where assigned. Once everyone is seated, create a seating plan if you didn’t use one. Let the class know you will be doing so as evidence in the event that students submit similar answers.
      6. Create variations.

        Have 2-3 versions of each test but don’t spend your time making completely different questions. Simply alter the order of either the questions or the answers so students cannot find an answer by glancing at a neighbor’s test. Alternately, have a few unique data sets or a few unique cases so that answers differ across three versions of the test.
      7. Colour-code your tests.

        Switch the colour of your exam and have another colour for a rough work paper each time. Students who bring a smaller, white-coloured sheet to slip under their exam will be foiled. Make sure you use only pale colours that have a good contrast so students can read easily.
      8. Check in.

        Tell students that you may randomly ask rows to stand and raise their arms during the exam time to check that no small slips of paper have been pulled out of their pockets. Tell them this will also give them a stretch break.
      9. Label containers.

        Tell students that they need to take a sticker and write their name on it and affix it to any disposable water bottles or coffee cups they have with them during the exam. Tell them these items must be left behind on the table when they exit and will be inspected. Do not allow any food items or gum in the exam, as wrapper notes may be used as a cheating tool.
      10. Be an active observer.

        Do not sit at the front or move about predictably. Circulate to the four corners of the room during the test. If students can’t anticipate your next move, they will hesitate to access unauthorized materials. Place a chair at the back so you can be comfortable sitting there on occasion. Most faculty stay near the front, which is not where a student wanting to cheat is likely to sit. Stay alert. Avoid squeaky shoes. Do not stay at the computer. If you use the computer during the test, be sure not to make noises on the keyboard.
      11. Seek support.

        If possible, partner with another faculty member so both of you are in the room together for each other’s exams. This way, you can escort to the washroom if needed. There is no way to check what happens in a stall, but the idea of being escorted may cause second thoughts about planting a cheat sheet in the washroom.
      12. Have a full class washroom break.

        For example, you can divide your test into two parts and collect Part A after 50 minutes, provide everyone with a 15-minute break and then hand out Part B on their return. This way, you can allow a timed washroom break. Students can chat and refresh their minds halfway through.
      13. Use markers for marking.

        If you are worried that students will modify returned tests and then request a re-write, use a fine-tipped permanent marker during marking. Cross out empty answer spaces.
      14. Manage sightlines.

        Discourage on-the-spot cheating by asking all students to protect their test papers. You can provide an extra sheet of coloured paper that students should use to cover answered questions.
      15. Discourage talking.

        Tell students that speaking out loud, in any language, will be considered cheating.

    Using Turnitin as an Editing Tool

    The Academic Integrity Office strongly recommends that students have access to their Turnitin Similarity Scores before the due date. Turnitin should be used as an educational tool for both the faculty and the student. Students can use their Turnitin Similarity Score as one editing tool to check their citing, referencing and paraphrasing before submitting their final version.

    Here is a video (7:30) you can share with your students on how they can use Turnitin as an editing tool: