Policies for Online-by-Design Courses: Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

This blog post is part of a series to help you build an online course quickly. It is for people who are preparing to launch their third trimester in course that they thought would be F2F but will begin instead as an online course, those looking ahead to intensive May terms, and those who had planned to teach in person in the summer or fall but now find their F2F classes will be online. To follow along, begin by framing your course, selecting your materials, and choosing your assignments. We now shift to writing the policies for your syllabus? Why–given that writing your assignments is actually more important? Because, in a worst-case scenario, you can start a course without the assignments written, but you need to have your syllabus available to students BEFORE the first day of class so they see if it’s a good fit for them.

Below I’ve included the policies that I recommend for plagiarism and academic integrity. Feel free to use them word-for-word if they are helpful.

Academic integrity means that scholars, including students, conduct their work ethically. This includes taking credit only for work they themselves perform. Violations of academic integrity undermine the principle of fairness, devalues your degree, and leaves you underprepared for applying what you have been taught. In this way, it defrauds you, your classmates, the university, and the people you will serve with your education after graduation. It includes cheating on tests and other assessments, collaborating on projects when not permitted to, presenting other people’s work as yours (whether they agree to that), and more.

Plagiarism is a serious offense against academic integrity that could result in failure for the test or paper, failure for the course, and expulsion from the university.  Plagiarism usually involves passing off the work, words, or ideas of others as your own without giving proper credit.  For further information, including specifics about what constitutes plagiarism, see our Academic Integrity Policy [hyperlink].  If you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism, you should ask me before submitting your work.

Cheating is so serious that I include questions about it, including the definition of plagiarism, in our syllabus quiz.

Image result for famous painting of a pickpocket

Above, a woman sells fruits and vegetables to another woman carrying a basket. Behind the customer, a third woman picks her pocket. Market Scene with a Pickpocket by Louise Moillon, public domain.

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