Centre for Teaching Excellence

Teach | Academic Integrity


Per the S2017-05 Academic Integrity Policy, instructors are responsible for taking actions to prevent academic dishonesty.  


There are many options to prevent academic integrity in your course.  To choose the right option, we encourage you to start with a clear understanding of: 


Academic integrity  

  • Definition 
  • At CapU 


Academic misconduct  

  • Frequency 
  • Types 
  • Reasons  


Understanding Academic Integrity 


The International Center for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity as a commitment to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. We believe that these five values, plus the courage to act on them even in the face of adversity, are truly foundational to the academy. Without them, everything that we do in our capacities as teachers, learners, and researchers loses value and becomes suspect. 

(International Center for Academic Integrity, http://www.academicintegrity.org/) 


Capilano University describes the standards of academic integrity as including, but not limited to: 

  • Independently producing work submitted under your own name;  
  • Properly and appropriately documenting all work 
  • Identifying all collaborators in work;  
  • Completing examinations without giving or receiving assistance unless assistance is required due to documented accommodation;  
  • Respecting the integrity of examination materials and/or the examination process. 

(Capilano University, S2017-05 Academic Integrity Policy) 


Understanding Academic Misconduct

Academic Misconduct in Canada

The latest research study suggests that academic misconduct is widespread at both the high school and university level in Canada.









Forms of Academic Misconduct 


According to Policy S2017-05, an act of academic misconduct is “any act that breaches one or more of the principles of academic integrity”. (Section 7.2). The policy lists the most common instances of academic misconduct; however, it is not intended to be exhaustive.  











Preventing Academic Misconduct


Minimum requirements

Per the S2017-05 Academic Integrity Policy, at a minimum, the instructor is required to do the following:

  1. Include in all course syllabi/outlines a statement pertaining to the importance of academic integrity, and a reference to the Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures for violations to this policy;
  2. Review these course syllabi/outlines statements with students at the beginning of each term and outline expectations for demonstrating academic integrity in the course and within the specific academic discipline;
  • Provide students with information about the correct use of acceptable references/citation format(s) within the academic discipline; and,
  1. Provide students with information about any rules relating to acceptable levels of collaboration on assignments or in any required laboratory, research, or clinical work.


Identifying and addressing the underlying issue/s

The most effective way to prevent academic misconduct is to identify possible reasons why its occurring and use strategies that will most likely address the situation.  Keep in mind, there may be multiple relevant reasons.


Adapted from: https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/solveproblem/strat-cheating/index.html



Reason #1: Student might not understand the fundamentals of plagiarism/plagiarism in Canada.

Studies show that many students cannot define plagiarism and/or don’t have the skills to cite an idea appropriately.  Depending on cultural background, students may not be able to distinguish between providing reasonable help to a classmate and collaborating inappropriately on an assignment and/or may not have experience with paraphrasing.


Strategies (choose the one/s that are most appropriate for you and your students):



Reason #2: Students might perceive tests and/or professors as being unfair.
Research suggests that when students perceive exams or tests as unfair (e.g., including material that wasn’t covered in class, skills they haven’t had a chance to practice, questions requiring minute details), they are more likely to cheat.


Strategies (choose the one/s that are most appropriate for you and your students):


Reason #3: Some students might cheat because they have poor study skills that prevent them from keeping up with the material.
University-level workloads can take some adjustment for students coming from high school or from other cultures.  Students may underestimate the time required to complete an assignment or have competing demands on their time (jobs, other courses) so may be desperate enough to consider cheating.




Reason #4: Students may be more inclined to cheat or plagiarize if the stakes are high or the likelihood of success is perceived to be low.
Heavily weighted final exams or papers (accounting for a large portion of the final grade at the end of the course) can create significant pressure on students – there is little room for error and no chance to redeem themselves.  In these types of scenarios, students may try cheating rather than studying if they think cheating will provide a better chance of success.





Reason #5: Students might perceive a lack of consequences for cheating and plagiarizing.
Cheating is often dealt with privately to protect a student’s privacy.  Other students are not aware that cheating is detected and dealt with, leaving an impression that there are no consequences.




  • Publicly acknowledge when occurrences of cheating have been detected to your class (in general terms).
  • Follow the S2017-05 Academic Integrity Procedure steps to report cheating and plagiarism incidents.
Reason #6: Students might perceive the possibility to cheat without getting caught.

The proliferation of options for cheating (chegg.com, coursehero.com, testbank.shop) may lead students to believe that cheating is easy and that they will not get caught.




  • Require drafts of the work.
  • Create unique assignments, e.g. using applied projects.
  • Use Turnitin in your course.
  • Use testbanks judiciously, e.g., for inspiration, reword questions where possible using examples from classroom discussions or local events
  • Explain in advance the cheating-prevention techniques you will be using for in-person exams (allocate seating alphabetically, check ID/sign-in sheet, two proctors in the room, two or more versions of the exam, bags/coats at the front of the room, etc.). It may seem as if you’re giving students notice on how to prepare to cheat which may be the case for a few, but for most students, knowing that there will be measures in place can be enough to reduce the likelihood of cheating.
Reason #7: Student focus may be on grades rather than on learning.
In this situation, students may be more willing to take a shortcut to achieve the desired grade because they do not perceive the importance of learning.




  • Clearly indicate the alignment between the learning objectives and the assessments to students by sharing the course Evaluation Plan.
  • Identify the relevance of the learning for future undertakings (e.g., other courses, the workplace, etc.)
Reason #8: Students are more likely to cheat when they feel anonymous in class.

Students who have a connection to their instructor are less likely to cheat. Students don’t want to let you down. Students who experience anonymity in the classroom are not subject to these social and emotional costs and consequently are more likely to cheat.


  • Learn and use students’ names.
  • Use pre-class time to meet and greet students.


Reason #9: Students do not understand the criteria for the test/assignment

Unclear instructions and expectations can lead to feelings of frustration and fear of failure that may prompt a student to cheat. 


  • Provide clear instructions in a handout or on the course eLearn page. Review these instructions in-class explaining the requirements (or provide a video for asynchronous courses).
  • Use a rubric to clearly communicate your expectations.


Capilano University is named after Chief Joe Capilano, an important leader of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) Nation of the Coast Salish people. We respectfully acknowledge that our campuses are located on the unceded sovereign Indigenous Nations of Lil’wat, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm(Musqueam), Shíshálh (Sechelt), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh(Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh).


Capilano University | 2055 Purcell Way | North Vancouver | BC | Canada | V5J 3H5