As the semester progresses, first exams and major assignments are coming due. Offices of Academic Integrity have been preparing by spending the first weeks of the term focusing on education and outreach, but the transition to case resolution is fast approaching. As we pivot towards finding and handling cases of alleged misconduct, one major suggestion for faculty to reduce cases of academic misconduct is simple: remind your students of the honor code before the assignment is due.

This is not something that should take a full lecture session or take away from the content of your course. Instead, I am asking you to remind your students that they have an obligation to turn in honest work. Tell them that it matters what they submit to you, and why. Repeat what is allowed or expected. This simple communication can help those students that want to do the work appropriately and complete their assignments with integrity. In other words, we can help those unintentional plagiarizers or collusion confusion students before they are reported for academic misconduct.

Add one slide to your lecture deck. Remind students of the date and time the assignment is due and add key components of how to do it with integrity. Examples include reinforcing the individuality of an assignment and how that will be checked, what constitutes plagiarism, and how outside sources can or cannot be utilized. If you do not have time to answer questions about the assignment, have every student take a piece of scrap paper and ask one question about the assignment. You can use these questions to draft an email to the class addressing the most frequently asked questions and opening a door to communication about the assignment if there is further confusion.

Looking for more ways to incorporate low effort and low-cost academic integrity interventions? Check out this 2019 book chapter by Bob Ives and Alicia Nehrkorn that reviews 97 studies of academic integrity interventions in higher education. You can also view this 2023 study by Frank Vahid, Kelly Downey, Ashley Pang, and Chelsea Gordon that sought to reduce cheating without “extensive resources, hours, or class redesigns.”

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