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Promoting Academic Integrity in Digital Learning

Promoting and preserving integrity in the online learning environment is part of an ongoing movement and effort to reinforce quality teaching and learning at UC San Diego. Dr. Tricia Bertram Gallant (2017) encourages a teaching and learning strategy in which faculty focus less on "stop cheating" and focus more on creating engaging learning environments, improving instruction, and leveraging the cheating moment as a teachable moment.

This strategy is essential for our digital environments in which online learners encounter a unique set of challenges including “technical access, asynchronicity, text-based discussions, multiple conversations, information overload, and isolation” (Whipp & Chiarelli, 2004). More recent studies have shown that while the digital environment presents different challenges, the reasons students cheat are the same regardless of medium, including ineffective time-management and academic and peer pressures.

Integrity Video for Online Learners

The Academic Integrity Office at UC San Diego encourages faculty to promote integrity with these four steps, including infusing integrity into the curriculum and fostering space for integrity. As part of that effort, Digital Learning has partnered with Dr. Tricia Bertram Gallant to provide a short video for online learners, emphasizing the values of integrity and tips for success.

Tips for Fostering an Online Culture of Integrity

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Embed this video in a course Introduction module, in your online course syllabus, or on your course website. Make sure to also include this Syllabus statement, or better yet, write your own personal integrity statement for the class.


Educate and Inform

Clearly indicate the standards for appropriate forms of collaboration, citations, and producing authentic work. Have a plan for handling academic misconduct and educate learners about the consequences. To learn more about Instructor and Student responsibilities, read the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship.

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Take the Integrity Pledge

Encourage or make it a requirement for students to complete the Integrity Pledge.

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Discuss Integrity

Create an online discussion forum to talk about integrity in the classroom, in the discipline of study, in the professional environment, and in current news. Ask learners to reflect on what integrity means to them and how it impacts their future academic and career paths.

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Review Integrity Values

Create a quiz on the information in the video, your integrity statement, the fundamental values of integrity, and the statement of ethical values.


Proctor Exams

For online exams, use ProctorU. Restrict your exams to an allotted timeframe. Use randomized test pools. Password-protect online exams.

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Create Authentic Assessments

Express a commitment to authentic learning and fair assessment. Use alternative assessment methods such as self-recordings, reflections, projects, creative assignments, incremental, or scaffolded assessments. Require drafts, progress check-ins, and allow multiple attempts.

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Give Meaningful Feedback

Use a grading rubric and be transparent about your grading criteria. Provide feedback and specific details on how learners can improve and succeed. Monitor and encourage their progress.

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Provide Support and Resources

Be available for questions and provide learners with resources for academic support and guidance. There are several on-campus academic services and peer educators that offer help via email or virtual sessions. See Online Tutoring and How to Speak Up for Integrity.


For More Information

How to take a teaching and learning approach to academic integrity:

Dr. Tricia Bertram Gallant
Director, Academic Integrity Office

Further Reading

For further reading, review some of the research and case studies on academic integrity in digital learning below: