The best way to avoid having to deal with academic dishonesty is to discuss academic integrity before problems arise. A bit of effort to educate students to prevent dishonesty may mean spending less time detecting and adjudicating it. There are some suggestions below to help prevent, detect, and respond to academic integrity issues.
Know the Code
Educate your Students about Academic Integrity
Tips to prevent Academic Dishonesty in the Classroom
If you Suspect a Student has Violated the Code

I. Know the Code

Familiarize yourself with the Canisius College Code of Academic Integrity. Use it to support your efforts to create an environment of trust and learning for your classes. While students are responsible for knowing the Code they will need your help to apply it to their work both in and out of the classroom. Discuss the Code in the context of teaching and learning rather than as a punitive policy for cases of suspected dishonesty.

II. Educate your students about academic integrity

Do not assume your students know all that academic integrity entails or that they understand what plagiarism is.
  • Explain your policy: Take time to explain your expectations and policies to your student at various points throughout the semester. Remind students that they are part of a community of scholars and that the community has standards of behavior.
  • Put it in the syllabus:  Include a statement about academic integrity in your syllabus. To be effective it needs to be placed in a prominent location, a link provided to the College Policy, include possible penalties and other relevant information. Click here for an example of academic integrity infused throughout a course syllabus.
  • Use a pledge: Consider having students sign an integrity pledge when they submit written work. Signing a pledge may not prevent dishonesty; but, if a student has cheated or plagiarized and signed a pledge to act honestly, once you detect it, the student has cheated and lied.  The Canisius Pledge states: “As a member of the Canisius College Community I understand and will uphold the standards for academic behavior as stated in the Code of Academic Integrity.” Click here for an example.
  • Refer to resources: Refer students to resources that will help them avoid academic dishonesty.  The Tips for students on this website contains helpful information about plagiarism, the basic rules of copyright, the proper use of citations and Guides by Subject.
  • Give examples:  Give students examples of proper quotation, paraphrasing, and citation. Describe what is meant by collusion, duplicate submissions of work and cheating and give them concrete examples. 
  • Model good practices: There's no better way to teach important concepts than by leading by example: use citations in your own hand-outs and discuss the meaning of integrity in your own academic work.

III. Tips to prevent academic dishonesty in the classroom

In addition to educating your students about academic integrity, you can also take steps to minimize opportunities for dishonesty.
  • Specify the rules:  Students may assume that working together is acceptable or that they can use the citation standards employed in one class in all their classes.  Be clear about what is and is not acceptable.  Having this in writing is recommended.
  • Provide firm due dates: Plagiarism is sometimes an act of desperation. In planning due dates, consider times where students might be overwhelmed (mid-term and final weeks of semester). If possible, stagger due dates to minimize the potential for an overwhelmed student to consider acting dishonestly.
  • Create unique assignments: Internet Plagiarism is easy because there are accessible essays on standard topics.  Create unique assignments and change them every semester, especially if you use the same books. Require specific components in an assignment. For example: “Incorporate our class discussion into your paper”.
  • Encourage planning:  To help students avoid procrastination and the temptation to catch up through plagiarizing, assign projects in stages. For example, proposals, outlines, bibliographies, or drafts might be due prior to submission of the final product.  Require early drafts or outlines several weeks before the assignment is due. Meet with students to discuss their ideas.  This allows you to see if the final paper is consistent with the student’s activities. 
  • Consider ongoing reflections: In the case of  projects, a project journal may help avoid academic dishonesty. Ask students to reflect on their process as they work. Or, have them describe the research process in an in-class essay after you’ve collected the project (what they learned, challenges they faced and how they overcame them, where they found their sources). This may help you gauge their knowledge of the subject and compare their writing in this essay to the project they submitted.
  • No last- minute changes:  Last minute topic changes may be a desperate attempt to use a readily available paper.
  • Use electronic/digital submissions:  Let students know that their submissions may be subject to an online plagiarism checker like turnitin.
Tests and Exams
  • Clarify what is acceptable: Explain your expectations with regard to texts, notes, and electronic devices during exams and ensure students understand the consequences of not meeting those expectations.
  • Monitor tests:  Ensure adequate spacing between students and attentive proctoring of exams.  
  • Be original: Use different test items and, if possible, a variety of testing formats from semester to semester.  Old tests have a way of surfacing in the student population despite attempts to keep them under lock and key. 
  • Ensure fairness when using alternative testing:  To minimize the temptation to cheat, students taking the test in a different location should be proctored and start the test at the same time as the rest of the class.  Make-up tests should not be identical to the original test and this should be communicated to students in advance.
Additional Resources:
Faculty Tips on Preventing Plagiarism, Michael Matto (PDF)

IV. If you suspect a student has violated the Code. 

All members of the Canisius College Community are expected to report violations of the Code of Academic Integrity.  
In general
  • Familiarize yourself with the section of the Code of Academic Integrity entitled “Procedures for Adjudicating Violations of the Code of Academic Integrity”.  
  • Determination of dishonesty is based on the facts of the incident and whether it is more likely than not that a person is responsible for the alleged violation(s).
  • If you detect a violation you will need to collect relevant information, talk with the student about your concerns and report it to the appropriate Associate Dean.
  • Act in a timely manner to report the violation.  Normally this is five business days from the time you have communicated with the student and your decision and sanction has been determined. 
  • If you want additional guidance, consult with your Department Chair, Associate Dean, or Dean. 
Tips for Detecting Plagiarism
  • Use turnitin or one of the free online tools free tools for detecting plagiarism
  • Take an unusual phrase (4-6 words) from the work in question and put it into Google in quotes. This will often lead you to a citation for the original source and may lead you directly to the source if it is web-based.
  • Look at the sources that have been cited in the work. Is there an obvious source missing? Are the sources dated? Are the sources beyond the scope of the paper?
  • Is the format of the student’s work consistent? Does font, spacing, or formatting change within the project? Does the citation style change mid-way through the project?