Course Design

Here are some methods faculty can employ in your online courses to mitigate instances of academic misconduct in your online courses.

Preventing Cheating: Assessments

  1. Course Requirements: Graded items that make up the course components should contain a diverse range of grading items.
  2. Varied forms of Assessments: Assessments should vary in form and not rely solely on multiple choice exams or publisher-generated exams/quizzes and should promote higher order thinking. Alternative assessment opportunities can include:
    • Grading of online discussions that require immediate feedback (24 to 48 hours)
    • Peer and Self-assessment (Consider using one of Blackboard’s third party tools to evaluate self-assessments. i.e. Studymate). Many opportunities for self-assessment are provided.
    • Teamwork and collaborative assessment projects.
    • Online dialogue and debate
    • Online simulations and role plays
    • Digital scrapbooks and portfolios
    • Research Papers
    • User generated content (blog, journal, wiki, etc.)
    • Complimentary publisher digital learning labs
    • Authentic assessment and problem-solving tasks
  3. Test Banks: Instructors should create their own test banks instead of using the publisher’s generated test banks that come with the textbook. Use the test as a teaching and learning tool, rather than simply a measure of fact recall. For instance, allow students more than one attempt to encourage them to review the content they missed the first time.
  4. Question Pools: Create large pools/test banks of questions and select a random amount of questions for each version of an assessment. Groups can also be created and assigned a different version of an assessment.
  5. Time: Reduce the time limit per question so students aren’t given the opportunity to search for the answers. Variables such as subject matter and content difficulty should be factored in when determining the time per question. Ultimately, the time allotted per question is at the discretion of the professor.
  6. Displaying Questions: Choosing the setting “present one question at a time” eliminates the student from viewing the exam all at once, making them address the question in front of them versus the whole exam.
  7. Feedback Settings: Make the recommendation to release feedback after all students have taken the assessment. This will prevent students from exchanging answers during the exam availability period.
  8. Proctoring: High valued assessments (20% or higher) should be administered via a proctor and/or through alternative assignments.
  9. Redesign Assessments/Assignments: Although it is not always practical to redesign assignments every semester, try to avoid reusing assignments from previous terms. As a suggestion, utilize modified versions of the same assessment term to term.

Preventing Cheating: Written Work

  1. Academic Misconduct Policy: Reiterate the institution’s academic misconduct policy in each of your courses by having the students acknowledge the terms before gaining access to your course materials, assessments and assignments.
  2. Lead by Example: As a faculty member, you have great influence on your students. Lead by example by citing correctly within your courses and contributions (discussion forums, announcements, feedback, etc.) In addition, serve as a resource for your students by encouraging them to reach out to you with their citation questions.
  3. Set Clear Expectations: Faculty members are encouraged to make use of grading rubrics in order to provide a clear explanation of the expectations surrounding assignments. Clearly inform students of what it will take in order to achieve full credit for any assignment in the course. In addition, provide students with a checklist, example of a successfully completed assignment, or a performance rubric in order to aid their approach to the assignment.
  4. Plagiarism Detection: Create assignment drop boxes by using institutional selected plagiarism detection tools to avoid plagiarism and ensure academic integrity when submitting written work.
  5. Video Assignments: Incorporate video assessments in which students can articulate concepts while allowing the faculty member to verify their identification.
  6. Interactive Content: Use interactive online tools to help immerse students and encourage active learning.