“Setting expectations” – panel offers tips and guidance for faculty addressing academic integrity

One of the best ways to ensure students treat exams and other assessments honestly is to clearly set and describe your personal expectations for classroom integrity – a small step that research has shown can have profound effects.

Jeff  Stefancic, an associate dean of students and director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, shared that idea as part of a virtual panel discussion about academic integrity that also included panelists from the offices of the Provost, Purdue Libraries and Innovative Learning.

The full 46-minute discussion (including questions submitted by faculty) was recorded and can be seen here; it includes detailed explanations on how set up exams in Brightspace, best practices for conducting exams during remote learning and what to do when academic integrity concerns arise.

Highlights from the panel:

Set expectations clearly


  • “The more that you can do as an instructor or faculty member to stress the importance of academic integrity – not only as it relates to the specific class or subject matter that you’re teaching, but also to you personally, and how it resonates with you – that shows a commitment to the issue. And with that, you’ll see a marked decrease in the instance of academic dishonesty occurring within your course.”
  • Confront and report dishonesty issues as needed. Resources are available for faculty and students online. For questions or advice contact osrr@purdue.edu.

Practical tips for moving forward in a new learning environment

Dave Nelson, assistant director of the Center for Instructional Excellence: 

  • What you were going to assess can change – what you administered in previous semesters may not be realistic this semester.
  • Have a time limit so students know they can’t start and come back four hours later (but increase overall test time available to students, as most are not used to testing in an online environment).
  • Follow provost’s guidelines and establish at least a 24-hour window to allow students to take exams – this is beneficial to students in different time zones and those who have difficulty accessing the Internet.
  • Assessments that tend toward memorization, or things that can be easily searched for online, may need to be rewritten to require a little more analysis by the student.
  • Things you can do to reduce academic integrity issues with exams:
    • Use question banks to create multiple versions of a question so that students don’t all see the same question. Both Brightspace and Blackboard have this function.
    • Randomize the order of the questions and the order of answer options in multiple choice tests.
    • Allow students to see only one test question at a time.
    • Make sure your questions aren’t “Google-able” – re-write questions so they’re not easy to look up quickly.
  • For students needing accommodations, contact the Disability Resource Center to find best approach.

How libraries can help students access materials

Donna Ferullo, professor of library science, director of University Copyright Office: 

  • Physical libraries closed, but many electronic resources accessible online at lib.purdue.edu.
  • Copyright issues can happen when transitioning to remote teaching, but help is available at lib.purdue.edu/uco

Helpful resources from Innovative Learning Team

To get help with any of these tools, contact innovativelearningteam@purdue.edu:

  • A webpage with Exam and Academic Integrity Resources has been created to help those new to teaching remotely. Resources include:
    • Guides for creating exams in Blackboard Learn and Brightspace.
    • Instructions for building an Honor Code quiz that students can take before exams as a reminder of the University’s commitment to academic integrity.
    • Information about conducting final exams.
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor are Purdue’s centrally supported proctoring tools. They are available for any course by request but don’t work for students using Chromebooks and could be problematic for students needing accommodations.
  • Safe Assign is a plagiarism checker available within Blackboard; Brightspace does not have a plagiarism checker at this time, but student work can be uploaded into Safe Assign via Blackboard by instructors.
  • Gradescope helps process written work by allowing students to upload images. Can be used for exams.