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Student Conduct and Academic Integrity

Promoting Academic Integrity

These resources outline strategies to support faculty members in promoting academic integrity in their classroom. 

Syllabus Statements

Set expectations for exemplary student conduct at the beginning of the semester. Include these sample statements on your syllabus and talk to your students about the value of academic integrity. Feel free to adjust the statements to fit your course needs.

  • The Honor Code policy
  • Examples of behaviors that violate the Honor Code.
  • Share your obligation (and student's obligation) to report an Honor Code violation.
  • Your potential grade penalty (Typical grade penalties are a zero for the assignment or one letter grade lower as a final grade.)
Every student has a role in maintaining the academic reputation of the university. It is imperative that you refrain from engaging in plagiarism, cheating, falsifying your work and/or assisting other students in violating the Honor Code.

Two important components of the Honor Code:
  • Faculty members are required to report potential violations of the Honor Code to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.
  • When a student is uncertain as to whether conduct would violate the Honor Code, it is their responsibility to seek clarification from the appropriate faculty member.
To clarify your understanding of the Honor Code, use these resources: Your enrollment in this class signifies your willingness to accept these responsibilities and uphold the Honor Code of the University of South Carolina. Please review the Honor Code Policies. Any deviation from this expectation can result in a (insert academic penalty here) and a referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.
The community of scholars at the University of South Carolina is dedicated to personal and academic excellence.Choosing to join the community obligates each member to the Carolinian Creed. Academic and civil discourse are the cornerstones of the educational system and crucial to individual growth.
As a Carolinian:
  • I will practice personal and academic integrity;
  • I will respect the rights and dignity of all persons;
  • I will respect the rights and property of others;
  • I will discourage bigotry, while striving to learn from differences in people, ideas and opinions;
  • I will demonstrate concern for others, their feelings and their need for conditions which support their work and development.
Lectures and course materials (which is inclusive of my presentations, tests, exams, outlines, and lecture notes) maybe protected by copyright. You are encouraged to take notes and utilize course materials for your own educational purpose. However, you are not to reproduce or distribute this content without my expressed written permission. This includes sharing course materials to online social study sites like CourseHero and other services. Students who publicly reproduce, distribute or modify course content maybe in violation of the university’s Honor Code’s Complicity policy, which states: sharing academic work with another student (either in person or electronically) without the permission of the instructor.

To best understand the parameters around copyright and intellectual property review ACAF 1.33 "Intellectual Property Policy".
A student’s grades are to represent to what extent that individual student has mastered the course content. You should assume that you are to complete course work individually (without the use of another person or un-cited outside source) unless otherwise indicated by the instructor. It is your responsibility to seek clarification if you are unclear about what constitutes proper or improper collaboration.
In this course students will complete lab assignments with a partner. You are encouraged to work together to complete the data collection. However, all lab reports must be the work of the individual student and may not be copied from another student’s work, the text or any other source. Any discussion with your lab partner should be limited to general terms and big picture concepts. Avoid sharing your lab report with other students electronically.
  • The use of previous semester course materials is not allowed in this course. This applies to homework, projects, quizzes and tests. Because these aids are not available to all students within the course, their use by any individual student undermines the fundamental principles of fairness and disrupts your professor’s ability to accurately evaluate your work. Any potential violations will be forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity for review.
  • The use of previous semester course materials is allowed in this course. Keep in mind that they may serve as helpful teaching tools, but they are not guidelines for how you should complete your work this semester.

Proactive Strategies to Address the Honor Code

  • Remind your students that it is their responsibility to seek clarification if they are unclear of the guidelines in your syllabus or for specific assignments.
  • Encourage students to use the Student Success Center (SSC). This can be a requirement or extra credit. You can also submit students to the SSC through the alert program online to get them connected to effective resources. 
  • Motivate your students to utilize the Writing Center by making it an assignment requirement.

Below are suggestions to address the four policies of the honor code.

How Students Cheat:

  • Cell phone use for an academic advantage.
  • Improper collaboration.
  • Copying from a social study site like Chegg or CourseHero.
  • Sharing test/quiz answers or papers in GroupMe.

Proactive Strategies:

  • Create expectations for GroupMe and how or if it can be used in your class at the start of the semester.
  • Create a list of preferred online resources, this list will guide students in a direction that encourages the use of acceptable resources.

Homework Strategies

  • Be clear about whether it is a collaborative or individual assignment.
  • Make the assignment meaningful explain why the assignment will assist the student with the course learning objectives.
  • Utilize quizzing to mastery techniques ie: provide practice quizzes.

Exam Strategies

  • Do not use practice problems, these are likely to be found online on websites like Chegg or CourseHero.
  • See if previous exams are available on CourseHero, Chegg, or other social study sites.
  • Use a question bank to create multiple versions of an exam and reorder questions on exams.
  • Change test/quiz questions each semester.
  • Create a seating chart. 
  • Use color coded exams.
  • Have students place all of their items at the front of the room.

Online Strategies:

  • Set a time limit for completing the examinations.
  • Utilize proctor services.
  • Don't allow students to review their feedback until after exams are closed.
  • Use open-book exams. Consider issues with cell phones and calculators, books, papers, Internet resources, etc.

Common Behaviors:

  • Sharing work (in person or electronically).
  • Not reporting violations.

Proactive Strategies:

  • Explain what group work should and should not look like in your classroom. If you permit students to work together on an assignment, go a step further and explain what working together means. For example, you may assign a project with group work and a follow up report that has to be independently written. 

Common Behaviors:

  • Attendance documentation.
  • Creating a fake doctor's note.

Proactive Strategy:

  • Utilize a combination of attendance taking strategies (TopHat, Reef, plus random checks).
  • Make a note in your syllabus that you require documentation (doctor's note, obituary) to be submitted if a student requests to make up missed work.

How students plagiarize:

  • Poor paraphrasing.
  • Copying material and pasting it into their assignment.
  • Purchasing a paper from another student or from an online source.

Proactive Strategies:

  • Talk openly about what plagiarism is and how you will check for it.
  • Help students understand and guard against plagiarism with online tutorials or helpful websites.
    • Purdue Owl
    • University libraries
    • plagiarism.org
    • Academic Integrity Tutorial
  • Help SafeAssign be more accurate by uploading frequent course readings.
  • Use written assignments as an opportunity to learn your student's voices. As a result you will be able to to detect when a student's voice may not be their own. 
  • Assign papers on topics that can't be plagiarized - tie in current events, specific class topics, or unique perspectives.
  • Give students some choice in the topic so they can find something that sparks their interest.
  • Focus on the paper-writing process, not just the final product.
  • Consider the use of honor pledges for essays.

Addressing Potential Honor Code Violations

Below are strategies for addressing potential Honor Code violations 

Confronting cheating behaviors can be challenging. You'll want to keep in mind how you can respectfully address the concern and limit any potential disruption for other students.  Research does show that it is important to address cheating concerns to ensure that cheating does not become normalized within the classroom environment.  As a faculty member, you are not required to intervene during the exam period. If you choose to do so, the following information is designed to help guide your actions.

 

  • Have students sign an honors statement stating "I will practice personal and academic integrity".
  • Create a seating chart or encourage students who studied together to not sit together.
  • Have students put their backpacks, phones, smart watches etc. at the front of the room.
  • Through both written and oral instruction remind students what resources (if any) they can use on
    their exam.
  • Proctor the exam by walking around the room to prevent cheating behaviors.
  • Make a verbal announcement to the entire class regarding any negative behavior you are observing.
  • Approach the student(s) directly. Speaking in a low tone and describe the behavior you are seeing
    and ask them to refrain. You can also ask them to give you any unpermitted materials until the exam is over.
  • If you suspect cheating, you can take their current exam, move them to another seat or take away any materials and then give them a blank copy of the exam so they may finish.
  • Review the concerning exam(s), outline the students behaviors and document what led you to believe the student cheated through our online report form.
  • Discuss the concern with the student (privately) and let them know you are required to report the concern to the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.
  • Wait to provide a grade or grade penalty until the student has completed the academic integrity
    process.

 

Adapted from "Confronting Cheating" from University of California, Davis Office of Judicial Affairs. 

How to Respond:

  • Submit written assignments through SafeAssign and report both students.
  • In large group concerns encourage students to come forward and ask OSCAI to present to your class.

How to Respond:

  • Gather information to explain your concern.
  • Utlize the Ombudsperson or OSCAI to verify potentially falsified information.

How to Respond:

  • Examine the SafeAssign report.
  • Understand the nuances of SafeAssign.
  • Consider Googling suspicious phrases.
  • If you're concerned a student has not written their own work, ask specific questions related to high level concepts or terms.

 

Social Study Websites

Online study tools, used effectively, can help a student better learn a concept discussed in class. Often students are utilizing online sites to aid them in their studies, especially since they have always been able to Google information to learn. While these sites promote student learning, they can be used in a way that violates university policy and inhibits student learning. The most important thing faculty need to do is provide clear instructions to their students about how to utilize these sites for homework and test preparation.

Social study sites are websites like, Quizlet, CourseHero and Chegg. These sites allow students to upload, access, and share information from their classes. Essentially, they are digital test files that may be comprised of flashcards, course notes, PowerPoints, quizzes, or test materials. To best understand these sites it would be helpful to quickly Google search your course code.

Often students are able to access the different materials by either uploading their own material or paying a subscription service to view the content. Since each site crowdsources its information students have access to anything uploaded from previous semesters.

These sites provide ease of access to students who are looking to cut corners.

It is difficult to definitively answer if use of these sites is cheating. Students understand that copy/paste plagiarism and cheating are violations and considered unauthorized assistance. However, what they have difficulty in understanding is if use of the information in completing assignments, developing their notes or study guides, or exam preparation is “unauthorized”. Therefore, faculty need to set the guidelines for use of these sites for their course assignments, study prep and exams.

Use of these sites will only continue to grow. Therefore, it is paramount that we address how to utilize these websites effectively and in accordance with the Honor Code. Below are some strategies to address this issue:

  • Post your course material and old tests on Blackboard or Office 365 Teams to create your own monitored social study site.
  • Post only answers not questions to quiz and exam material. This still will help students identify subject matter they need to learn more about.
  • Recollect tests after you hand them back for in class review. Students shouldn’t leave your class with a copy otherwise it gives them access to  upload them to social study sites.
  • Include a statement about using these sites effectively in your course syllabus.
  • Share that students cannot post quiz or test questions/answers to these sites as it may be a violation of our cheating: unauthorized access, use, or distribution policy.  

If you are trying to examine your current strategies and in need of assistance, please call to schedule a consultation with our staff.

 

Large Classroom Strategies

  • Break up the course into 20-30 minute components.
  • Split students into groups for active learning.
    • Groups can present to the class on their findings and reflections.
  • Have students sign their answer sheet. 
  • Consider multiple forms of examinations. Shuffle the order of examination questions. 
  • For departmental examinations, seat the discussion or lab sections together. The TA for each section can monitor that section for greater control. 

Adapted from Ohio University's Resources for Faculty

Give students one minute to reflect on two questions:

  • What is the most important thing you learned today?
  • What question still remains in your mind?

This activity helps students reflect on the class and identify where there is still confusion or they need more information. This information can be used by the instructor to know what information may need to be reviewed. 

  • Split students into groups, give them a problem to solve that they don't have the knowledge to solve (yet). 
  • Have them work together to make predictions.
  • After the activity give a short lecture about the topic at hand - they will understand the topic more because they can apply the lecture to the activity.

Potential Assignments to Promote Academic Integrity

These assignments are meant to support your efforts to engage students in practicing academic integrity.

Academic Integrity Tutorial [video]
Academic Integrity tutorial [quiz]  
Classroom Paraphrasing Exercise [pdf]
Syllabus Checklist for Students [pdf]

Professional Development Opportunities

The Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity in collaboration with the Center for Teaching Excellence offers a certificate program in Fostering Proactive Learning environments. Through this program you will learn: about today's student and how to structure your class to foster a sense of belonging, proactive and reactive strategies for handling to academic misconduct, and how to avoid and address classroom conflicts. To register for the Certificate program and learn more about the sessions, visit the Center for Teaching Excellence's website

 

Student Conduct and Academic Integrity


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