Research demonstrates that effective assessment strategies reduce academic misconduct. Specifically, strategies such as low stakes assessments, authentic assessments, and engaging students in discussions on academic integrity can help reduce misconduct (Bretag et al., 2019). Read on to hear how UWaterloo instructors are utilizing assessment strategies in the online environment. 


Ross Willard is a Professor in Pure Mathematics. He focusses on maximizing learning opportunities for students while mitigating misconduct by encouraging them to work in groups and cite any outside sources. His strategies include:

  • Weekly assignments worth 80% of the mark (instead of the usual 20-30%)
  • Encoraging students to work in teams of up to 4
  • Highlighting the best student solution to problems each week and sharing them with the class
  • Encouraging active discussions on Piazza
  • Not prohibiting students from using online solutions for similar problems, however he requires them to cite their sources

Linda Carson is a Continuing Lecturer at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. She has authentic discussions with students about academic integrity and gives students the opportunity to practise good scholarship skills. Her strategies include:

  • Engaging with students about why academic integrity is important [note: instructors can use Linda's video in their classes with attribution]
  • Using Turnitin as an educational tool to give students the opportunity to practice integrating evidence and citing before submitting a final version [note: instructors can learn more about using Turnitin as an education tool on our Turnitin page]
  • Using low stakes, frequent, open-book assessments to keep students on track
  • Using an ungraded, humorous practice quiz at the beginning of the term to familiarize students with her quizzes
  • Allowing students to customize their written assignment to a topic of their interest
  • Using question pools and randomizing questions/answers in Learn quizzes