Elon faculty share methods to deter academic dishonesty

Posted on: March 2, 2016 | By: Cheri Crabb, PhD | Filed under: Instructional Technologies, Tech Tips, Online Instruction, Teaching & Learning

startup-photos-mediumThese best practices for online and blended course design were compiled from the Summer College @Elon faculty data and personal interviews from 2006-2015. The consensus among Elon faculty parallels the literature in the field.

Academic dishonesty

At some point in our teaching careers, we’ve all asked ourselves, how can we uphold the integrity of our online/blended course to the same standards as our face-to-face courses? While academic dishonesty can’t be entirely controlled in online/blended environments, there are proven strategies to deter it:

  •  Create unique assignments that require students to incorporate their individual opinions or experiences; this also encourages community and diversity awareness if peer review is a part of the assignment.
  • Assign weekly writing assignments that allow you to become familiar with each student’s unique writing style.
  • Use standard exam/quiz formats such as multiple choice, short answer, and matching as ungraded or low stakes learning tools; include randomized question generation and randomized responses in these assessments.
  • Include online assignments that incorporate critical thinking, such as: conducting and analyzing interviews within a given field, analyzing corporate policy, or viewing/reporting on a guest speaker/TedEd talk.
  • Use a significant number of group-based or individual synthesis assignments such as: applications of theory to personal and professional experiences, case studies, debates, blogs, wikis, current event discussions, and peer reviews of work.
  • Design tests as open book tests where the onus of responsibility is on the students to track down the answers; time these assessments in the LMS.

In my next post, we’ll look at how open book testing can measure student achievement and put your mind at ease (a little) about academic dishonesty.


Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. M. (2010). The Online Teaching Survival Guide: Simple and Practical Pedagogical Tips (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Ko, S., & Rossen, S. (2010). Teaching Online A Practical Guide. (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Watson, G., & Sottile, J. (2010). Cheating in the digital age: Do students cheat more in online courses? Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration. Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/spring131/watson131.html?goback=%2Egde_52119_member_208797940.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Cheri Crabb, PhD

I am dedicated to working with online faculty at Elon University and pride myself on designing quality curriculum advocating instructional technology usage. My career in academia is focused on instructional design and development using integrated electronic media systems. I earned my Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Systems Design and Development from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University while representing NASA’s Office of Education as their first Graduate Studies Research Program doctoral fellowship recipient.

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