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Adding Academic Integrity to Quizzes

GregoryBeyrer
Community Champion
8 6 3,475

At my college our exam bluebooks (actually they're green*) include our CRC Honor Code printed on the inside cover. That is part of a college-wide effort to build a culture of academic integrity. We are encouraged share the code with our students in various ways, and it is framed in each of our classrooms. It also is available on a printable form that faculty can give to their students. It has a place to sign indicating agreement with the following statement:

I understand that I, as a member of the Cosumnes River College community, am responsible for upholding this value, supporting academic quality, academic rigor, and an appropriate college atmosphere.

Our Academic Integrity Committee (AIC), a subcommittee of our Academic Senate, developed the code at a time when when less than half of our classes were using the college's learning management system.

The AIC chair asked me recently how the CRC Honor Code might be made similarly visible to students using the Quiz or Assignment tools in Canvas. We are a client of VeriCite (I mean Turnitin) and assignments using the tool for plagiarism detection have the similarity pledge enabled. But his question about quizzes got me to thinking about the various ways something like that could be done there.

One is pretty straightforward: Add a question to each quiz that is a true/false declaration (or even a single-option multiple choice question) that asks students to agree with the statement as if they were signing the paper. If I were to do this I would make it the first question on the quiz and make it worth some points. A zero-point question could work too, but that might communicate something undesirable about how much academic integrity is valued.

Another option is to use the prerequisite and requirement features of the Modules tool so that students are forced to agree with the statement in some other way. Following are some of the options, each of which I would put inside the "course orientation" module that I use as a prerequisite for all other modules in the class:

  1. Require students to view a content page "CRC Honor Code"
  2. Require students to mark as read a content page "CRC Honor Code"
  3. Require students to attempt a quiz that includes a true/false or single-option multiple choice question that asks them to agree with the statement
  4. Require students to get a perfect score on a single-question quiz asking students to agree with the statement
  5. Require students to submit an assignment writing a paragraph reflecting on what they think the code means to them

My favorites are numbers 3 and 4, which easily reward students with points for making a declaration. Since I already give students a pre-course quiz it would be easy to add a question to that assignment, but the standalone quiz draws additional attention to the issue. I wonder what other options there are and hope that other members of the Canvas Community share those here.

*: So was our carbon footprint reduced more by the move to "greenbooks" (made with >30% post-consumer recycled material) or by the increasing number of exams that are given online using the learning management system? Sounds like a great question for an environmental researcher! 

6 Comments
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @GregoryBeyrer , these are some great ideas and examples of how to integrate an honor code or other type of academic integrity to quizzes! Thank you for sharing!

myanalunas
Community Participant

I admire that your Academic Senate felt strongly enough about integrity to establish a subcommittee. Thank you for this post: The ideas are clear and easy to implement.

thompsli
Community Champion

That's a great set of options! The only one I'd add would be that you can also make it a "text" type question with no answer options available and embed it in a quiz that way. If you're also using the "one question at a time" quiz setting, you could make it the first question and include something like "by clicking "next" and starting the quiz you are indicating your agreement with the pledge" or similar. 

myanalunas
Community Participant

A very helpful suggestion Linnea - thank you!

Meg

lindalee
Community Champion

Hi Gregory Beyrer,

These are some really great suggestions! Given that evidence suggests such reminders about honor code and academic integrity issues reduce cheating, these suggestions are important, timely, and welcome! And like others have said, I'm impressed that the committee is looking at how to integrate this into Canvas assignments.

I can't immediately find the study I saw a year or so ago indicating that reminders about ethical behavior work -- that they demonstrate a short-term improvement in compliance. (I wish I could remember the specifics in more detail!) That being the case, though, such honor code agreement statements seem like they'd be more effective when part of (or immediately before) an exam. So I'd be more incline toward options that had students agreeing to the honor code for each high-stakes test (either in the quiz or within a module with requirements before they can get to the quiz), rather than as part of a course overview module.

An advantage of making it part of the quiz itself is that this would be easier to incorporate into Canvas sites that don't use modules, or that use modules in different ways. As clever and well-designed as the quiz prerequisite is -- and it is! -- implementing it requires a certain amount of expertise with Canvas Modules that might not match faculty skills. (If the setup would be done by an instructional designer rather than individual faculty, then this is probably less of a concern.)

Also, I understand your concern that assigning no points suggests something about the value that you place on academic integrity. I'm not sure I agree. Assigning points to an academic integrity compliance question seems to me kind of like giving extra credit for completing course evaluations.

Thanks again for the thoughtful suggestions!

-Linda

wakimsu
Community Participant

Linda - I had the same vague memory of a study (well, actually a TedTalk) about this.  I had to look it up - it was pretty compelling: https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_on_our_buggy_moral_code/transcript#t-9264 

I currently give my students a syllabus quiz with quite a few statements like

  • T/F I have read the academic integrity section of the syllabus
  • I understand that the following constitute cheating: A)  B)  C)     [I use this to remind students about paraphrasing, sharing answers, etc.]

I love the idea of having a question at the start of each quiz, but the TedTalk above also had me thinking about starting the quiz with a positive moral statement. Something like: "Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me." -Immanuel Kant.  Followed by a reminder that they should do their best on the test, which is not a measure of their value just a brief check on what they've learned on this topic.

Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/immanuel_kant_392163?src=t_moral
Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/immanuel_kant_392163?src=t_moral
Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/immanuel_kant_392163?src=t_moral― Laurence Sterne

This may have the same benefit of curbing cheating while being more uplifting - which might also help with overall test anxiety.  [Or it may be entirely too sappy...]