Developing a Best Practice Review and Guidelines to Prevent Student Academic Misconduct - Part 2

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: David MacAlister, School of Criminology

Project team: Graham Farrell, School of Criminology, Curtis Hugh and Tarah Hodgkinson, research assistants

Timeframe: July 2014 to May 2015

Funding: $5,000  

Courses addressed: Courses in the School of Criminology (CRIM)

Final Report: View David MacAlister and Graham Farrell's final project report (PDF)

News: Read an interview with Graham Farrell about the project, which was done by Robyn Schell, a TLC learning technology specialist.

Presentation: View a presentation (PDF) describing this project from the 2014 Symposium on Teaching and Learning

Description: Academic dishonesty seeks to be a growing problem. There is, for example, what seems to be a rise in the use of online sites to purchase tailor-made essays. Students have also been caught using sophisticated means to cheat in examinations. While many efforts to address academic dishonesty are typically undertaken after it has occurred, this project will focus on preventative approach, and seeks to identify a repertoire of effective prevention techniques and strategies. These may include suggestions on the design of curricula and assignments, plagiarism detection software, and means of identifying cheating during examinations.

The project will be conducted in two phases. The first will be comprised of two literature reviews: one on the extent and nature of academic misconduct, and the second on best practices in the prevention of it. Criminological frameworks will inform the structuring of these reviews.

The second phase of this project will be undertaken in a second TLC development grant application. This phase will seek to develop a good practice guide for the School of Criminology on the subject of academic dishonesty and the prevention of it.

Questions addressed:

  • What is the extent and nature of academic misconduct?
  • What are the best practices in the prevention of academic misconduct?
  • What is the extent, nature and variation in academic misconduct at Simon Fraser University?
  • What are the best practices in the prevention of academic misconduct?

Knowledge sharing: At the end of first phase, a collection of best practices generated from the work of the Research Assistants will be prepared and distributed to faculty within the School of Criminology. It is anticipated that this will comprise a two to three page handout with practical ideas about how to prevent academic misconduct among students. The various prevention strategies will be grouped into categories of related strategies (eg. Exam Invigilation Strategies, Assigning Term Paper Topics Least Likely to Lead to Plagiarism, etc.)

The aspiration of the second phase is to enhance the prevention of plagiarism within the School of Criminology by developing a best practice guide with recommendations for implementation. It is envisaged that this will also have relevance to, and broader implications for the Simon Fraser University community. In the long-term this may help support the implementation and evaluation of prevention programs across the university.

MacAlister, D., Farrell, G., Hodgkinson, T., & Curtis, H. (2014, May). Designing-Out Student Academic Misconduct. Workshop at the Simon Fraser University Symposium on Teaching and Learning: Provocative Pedagogy, May 14-15, 2014, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.