Academic Integrity in Cyberspace

Meg Gorzycki, Ed.D.

Towards Authenticity

Research indicates that with or without distance learning, cheating in college is rampant (Lanier, 2006), and that the most common form of cheating college is plagiarism (Tibbetts & Meyers, 1999). The assessment that comes with a one-on-one Socratic dialogue or one-on-one proctoring of student exams offer a good way to ensure that work submitted by the student is authentic, but these methods are hardly practical.

 Strategies for promoting academic integrity

  1. Define academic integrity in the syllabi and in class, address the relationship between academic integrity and professional standards in their discipline
  2. Monitor students as they complete assignments and exams with programs such as Proctor U®
  3. Reserve class time in hybrid courses for examinations and compositions to be completed in the instructor’s presence; these items may be compared to works completed outside class
  4. Maintain digital archives of student work for each class so that subsequent works may be compared with previously submitted works (Herberling, 2002)
  5. Use search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, AltaVista, MetaCrawler or Lycos, to screen submitted work for plagiarism, or use formal programs such Turnitin®
  6. Design courses in ways that allow time for students to explore their own difficulties and for the instructor to explicitly address strategies to overcome difficulties, such as organizing research, composing scholarly essays, using and citing sources properly, or reading dense material; this may decrease the incentive to cheat
  7. Reward robust and substantial contributions to discussion rather than rewarding the number of entries posted on forums or blogs


Herberling, M. (2002). Maintaining academic integrity in online education. Journal of distance learning Administration. 5(1),

Lanier, M. M. (2006). Academic Integrity and Distance Learning∗. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 17(2), 244-261.

Tibbetts, S. G. and Meyers, D. L. (1999). Low self-control, rational choice, and student test cheating. American Journal of criminal justice, 23(2), 179-201.

Additional Resources