How to help your students

Seven easy tips for faculty:

  1. Educate your students: students must be educated on what is and is not acceptable, and that there can be substantial penalties for not following the University of Waterloo policy. Do not assume that your students know how to correctly acknowledge sources, or that they will come to you with questions. You may also want to direct your students to the Academic Integrity (AI) undergraduate or graduate tutorial in your course syllabus to further their knowledge on AI. If your students are having issues with writing direct them to the Writing Centre Workshops.
  2. Provide clear instructions on the course syllabus and in introductory lectures on what is expected and required of your students. For assignments, clearly indicate if group collaboration is acceptable (and the level of collaboration permitted) or if students must do all work independently.
  3. On the course syllabus, refer to Policy 71 (Student discipline). Indicate both verbally and in writing that there can be significant penalties for failing to meet the University of Waterloo AI standards. You may also choose to have your students complete an Academic Integrity Acknowledgement Form with each assignment, on which students "sign off" on having done the work themselves, and/or listing classmates with whom they may have consulted.
  4. Provide information on how to credit academic sources, and/or refer to a source for that information. The library has excellent information on Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA) formatting, etc. You may also find it helpful to require an annotated bibliography, where students are required to provide a brief abstract for every source document. This ensures that students have documented their research and used source material appropriately.
  5. Ensure all of your teaching materials properly acknowledge all sources (including course notes, charts, data, tables, figures, maps, PowerPoint presentations, etc.) so that you lead by example. Remember, your behaviour will set the standard for your students.
  6. Report all cases of suspected misconduct promptly to the Associate Dean of your Faculty. It is critical that all cases of misconduct (even minor ones) are reported promptly to improve our efforts in educating students and to identify those who reoffend.
  7. Take the time to talk to your students about the importance of AI and the need for them to learn and reflect on the information in your course. Developing relationships with your students helps to build an atmosphere of trust and respect. Help them understand the importance of AI and integrity in general.

Small ways to help

Highlight the relevance and importance of your assignments to improve student engagement and deter "shortcuts".

  • Clearly explain your expectations with regard to group work.

  • Don't assume your students already know how to correctly cite source documents.

  • Encourage discussion on Academic Integrity issues and the challenges facing your students.

  • Make the weighting of assignments and tests reflective of the effort involved.