writing notes

Academic Integrity Strategies

Encouraging academic honesty involves both mitigating or preventing instances of cheating while also educating and informing students about academic integrity. There are resources and tools that can help you to prevent academic dishonesty whether you are offering an online exam or assigning a final project or paper.

  • If students are completing final papers or projects that require them to refer to a variety of external articles or other resources, ensure that you require students to cite their sources to help mitigate concerns regarding plagiarism.
  • Blackboard SafeAssign is available as a means to review student assignments for plagiarism.
  • Consider offering students multiple means of expressing or demonstrating their knowledge, emphasizing strategies that encourage novel ways of sharing information that are less easily copied or shared.
  • Where possible, consider offering an open book test or exam, especially if your learning outcomes rely on discussion, description, and analysis or synthesis rather than memory or recall.
  • Blackboard tests offers multiple versions of the same exam, shuffling questions, using a random subset of questions from a question bank, displaying one question at a time, restricting what feedback is available immediately to students (e.g. correct answers), and limiting the duration and/or availability of the test or attempts students have to complete the exam.
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser may be used with your Blackboard tests, which prohibits the students from opening additional applications or webpages while taking a test online.

Educating Your Students

In times of stress, or when adapting to a new learning environment, students may be less likely to recognize that what they are doing to complete an assignment or exam is considered a breach of academic integrity. It will be important to remind students of the rules and your expectations. Share information about MHC’s policies on academic integrity, or provide students with an honour code statement they must review and agree to before submitting work.

Be compassionate and flexible (within reason) when supporting students to help mitigate the stress and pressure that tends to precede instances of academic dishonesty. Report any suspicions of academic dishonesty to your Dean, or Associate Dean. Each Faculty and Department or School have their own procedures and protocol.

Here are a few resources to help you educate your students:

  • Teaching & Learning offers a Learning Module on Academic Integrity that can be copied into Blackboard courses as an opening learning activity so students know about expectations around academic integrity.
  • Library Services offers Information Literacy Instruction on how to avoid plagiarism and cite materials correctly in a variety of formats.

Academic Integrity Learning Module

To promote academic integrity at MHC, Teaching & Learning has developed a learning module for students that you can add to your Blackboard courses.


Common Questions

What activities are considered plagiarism?

Academic integrity isn’t just about plagiarizing, although a big part of it is. Academic integrity is the moral code of academia and can be defined as the use, generation, and communication of information in an ethical, honest, and responsible manner. Academic integrity violations include cheating, fabrication of information, facilitating academic misconduct, as well as intentional and unintentional plagiarism.

See the Medicine Hat College Academic Calendar for more information on academic regulations and policies.

What are the consequences of academic dishonesty?

Academic integrity violations (including cheating, fabrication of information, facilitating
academic misconduct, intentional and unintentional plagiarism) will result in disciplinary action. A student could be dismissed from their course or program for subsequent occurrence of academic dishonesty.

What should I do if I suspect a student of academic dishonesty?

If you suspect a student of academic dishonesty, you may refer to your dean for information or supports.

Further Resources

Information edited from: York BOLD – Going Remote (CC-by NC)

Contact Info


Director, Teaching & Learning