Pedagogic materials represent an ideal forum for promoting the importance of academic integrity as a central concept in higher education, and we recently welcomed the opportunity to reinforce knowledge and skills around academic integrity when developing an open textbook for university-level writing courses. The book, entitled Intermediate College Writing: Building and Practicing Mindful Writing Skills (Atkinson & Corbitt, 2022a), is available on the OER Commons ( and Open Textbook Library ( and has been released with a Creative Commons license that allows users to freely adopt, adapt, build upon, and redistribute its material with attribution for non-commercial purposes. The open permissions associated with the textbook mean that instructors and students have access to a free educational resource that intentionally addresses academic integrity topics from a variety of vantage points. In this post, we explain the rationale for our textbook design decisions.

The high cost of some commercially produced textbooks can prohibit students from buying the texts or cause them to delay purchases until adequate funding becomes available (Florida Virtual Campus, 2019; Nagle & Vitez, 2020), and we posit that this situation may have knock-on effects when it comes to academic integrity. For instance, if students in a writing course are assigned textbook reading and given homework based on textbook material during the early weeks of a semester but cannot afford their books, they may be left to navigate academic integrity issues on their own without explicit textbook guidance in this area. Of course, they might consult other resources to discern the meaning and practical implications of academic integrity, but without focused textbook guidance, they may also be left wondering how to connect what they learn to particular course content. Undergraduate students, in particular, may benefit from explicit academic integrity guidance as they learn to operate within unfamiliar disciplines and academic systems.

When producing chapters for our open textbook, we counted academic integrity as a design principle, an idea that inspired and delimited the scope of textbook material, to help center our writing efforts. The principle, in other words, helped stimulate the creation of textbook content and anchor the readings and exercises built into chapters. Adopting a needs-analysis approach popularized in the EAP (English for Academic Purposes) materials-development literature (see, e.g., Hamp-Lyons, 2011), we drew upon our classroom teaching experiences to identify academic integrity-focused elements that university students often struggle with—such as paraphrasing and summarizing, citing and referencing, and integrating source material into papers—as well as items that students might be somewhat familiar with but hesitant to acknowledge publicly, including plagiarism by dual submission, contract cheating, and course assistance websites, to develop textbook material that explicitly addressed the matters and encouraged students to think carefully about their significance in higher education and beyond.

Recognizing that instructors and students might pick and choose from among the textbook’s units rather than use the complete book, we decided to build an academic integrity element into nearly every chapter to promote the importance of the concept through varied repetition (see also Atkinson & Corbitt, 2022b). Varied repetition is a textbook design principle endorsed by Timmis (2016, p. 152) and used by the two authors in Atkinson’s (2021) study of textbook development expertise; when using varied repetition, a materials developer highlights key concepts and information through various treatments in different areas of a textbook. The importance of the information is thus emphasized to students as they revisit the material multiple times, albeit in different ways, and contemplate its complexities through readings and hands-on activities.

We also built reflection opportunities that focused on academic integrity into textbook chapters—for instance, prompts that asked students to record their questions about the topic and identify reliable sources they could turn to for answers—in order to encourage active engagement with textbook content and metacognitive processing. As part of this effort, we incorporated fillable blank text boxes into chapters to purposefully involve students in textbook activities (see also Atkinson & Corbitt, 2022b). Mathematics task designer J. Ridgway (personal communication, as cited in Samuda, 2005, p. 245) referred to these blank text boxes as “‘structured stationery,’” and Samuda (2005, p. 245), a materials design researcher, referenced them as a mechanism to encourage learner engagement with lesson materials when she wrote about pedagogic task design for English language teaching. Coverage of academic integrity is part and parcel of a university-level writing course, and we wanted to draw attention to patchwriting, inadequately paraphrasing by replacing a few words in an original text with synonyms, as a key topic and expand beyond that realm to address other forms of academic dishonesty, such as contract cheating and course assistance websites. The purpose was to intentionally raise awareness of the topics and ask students to think about them in relation to their own writing lives.

The open textbook project discussed herein gave us the opportunity to consider chapter development through an academic integrity lens and produce a learning and teaching resource that students and instructors can readily access for free. We plan to begin using the textbook in classes at Montana Technological University in the fall and hope others will benefit from its deliberate focus on academic integrity and emphasis on student engagement.  


Atkinson, D. (2021). Reconciling opposites to reach compromise during ELT textbook development. Language Teaching Research. Advance online publication.

Atkinson, D., & Corbitt, S. (2022a). Intermediate college writing: Building and practicing mindful writing skills. Montana Technological University.

Atkinson, D., & Corbitt, S. (2022b). Tracing the influences of praxis on the development of an open corequisite writing textbook [Manuscript submitted for publication]. Writing Program, Montana Technological University.

Florida Virtual Campus. (2019, March 8). 2018 student textbook and course materials survey: Results and findings.

Hamp-Lyons, L. (2011). English for academic purposes. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning: Volume II (pp. 89-105). Routledge.

Nagle, C., & Vitez, K. (2020). Fixing the broken textbook market (2nd ed.). U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

Samuda, V. (2005). Expertise in pedagogic task design. In K. Johnson (Ed.), Expertise in second language learning and teaching (pp. 230-254). Palgrave Macmillan.

Timmis, I. (2016). Humanising coursebook dialogues. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 10(2), 144–153.