Developing an Online Community

Creating a space for students and yourself to meet, communicate, collaborate, question, and support each other is critical to fostering a sense of community in your online course. Consider creating a discussion forum or social media group for students to join and interact with peers. Make it personal by including a photo or video of yourself so students can get to know who you are behind their computer screen, and encourage your students to do the same.

Minimizing Academic Dishonesty

Cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty are a reality in both online and face-to-face classes. A well-designed instructional environment can help minimize opportunities for dishonesty. Be an active, engaged instructor to demonstrate to students that you are following their work closely. This will also help you familiarize yourself with students’ work and may help you better identify possible honor code violations.

  • Communicate consequences: Stress the importance of academic integrity and the consequences of academic dishonesty, such as receiving zero points for an assignment and reporting the student to school authorities. Read about UNCG’s Academic Integrity policies and procedures to prepare yourself and your students to uphold these standards.
  • Learn the tools: The more comfortable you are with the technology in your course, the less likelihood you’ll leave loopholes open for students to exploit.
  • LMS features: Utilize tools, like Canvas’s Turnitin LTI or Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor, that check for originality in student assessment submissions.
  • Set limits: Open quizzes or exams for a limited amount of time to reduce the likelihood that students will have a chance to collaborate. Also consider limiting the number of times a student may submit an assessment, such as the number of attempts a student can make on a quiz.
  • Application-based assessments: Design your assessments to test on the application of course concepts, not memorization. Explore personal connections—every student’s background is different and unique, so asking students to complete assessments based on real-world experiences decreases the opportunity to plagiarize.
  • Gate content: Limit plagiarism by allowing students to see other responses to an assignment, like a discussion board prompt, only after they have first submitted their own.
  • Randomize question pools: Develop a pool of questions and answers and make sure they’re randomized in the assignment. Also mix up the question types from multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, matching, open response, etc.
  • Refresh content regularly: To prevent students from passing along answers to new classes semester after semester, incorporate new assessments for each course offering.
  • Break assessments into smaller pieces: Whether papers or projects, breaking up large submissions into smaller pieces can help destress students, reduce motivation to cut corners, and provide the instructor with additional opportunities to review student work and check for quality.