NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Academic Honesty: Challenges with Online Learning

Despite making students aware of the UH Academic Honesty Policy, it is still a challenge to create a culture which stands on academic integrity. As stated in the policy, “The University of Houston can best function and accomplish its objectives in an atmosphere of high ethical standards. It expects and encourages all students, faculty, and staff to contribute to such an atmosphere in every way possible and especially by observing all accepted principles of academic honesty.”

In the recent months since transitioning modes of instruction to the virtual environment, the number of academic honesty violations in NSM has increased tremendously.

What are some measures faculty can take to help educate students about the need for academic honesty to build a culture of integrity within NSM? Also, what are some measures faculty can take to learn about the process of holding students to the standards/policies in place?

Below are some tips to use in your courses to encourage students to uphold the tenets of the University.

  • Develop and enforce standards for your course and clearly state them on your syllabus. For example, include the statement below (or similar) on your syllabus.
    Academic Honesty
    It is each student’s responsibility to read and understand the Academic Honesty Policy found at catalog.uh.edu/content.php?catoid=36&navoid=13063. There will be no tolerance towards academic dishonesty, and cheating can lead to a report of a violation of the Academic Honesty policy to the UH Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.
  • Know the procedure and process for dealing with academic dishonesty.
  • When an academic honesty violation occurs and sanctions are warranted, encourage the student to reflect on why they violated the policy and on how to get assistance/resources to help them be better prepared in the future for assignments/exams.
  • Include an academic honesty question or statement on your quizzes, exams, homework, etc., which students must agree to uphold. This statement should include the basic guidelines for the exam/assignment. Below is a recent version of a statement used by faculty for online exams in Introductory Chemistry courses. Students are required to read and mark as reviewed the following statement before gaining access to the exam.

    Prior to your ONLINE exam, please read and acknowledge your acceptance of the following:

    • I, Student Name and ID number, hereby acknowledge that I will complete this exam with integrity.
    • I certify that I will not have prohibited materials (e.g., phone, headphones, book, notes, etc.) in my possession.
    • I am familiar with and will comply with the University Policies governing academic honesty.
    • I understand that exam fairness is a shared responsibility of the University community and that it is my responsibility to alert the course instructor if I am aware of other students acting in a dishonest manner.
    • I will not communicate with anyone but my instructor or UH-IT by any means (e.g., in person, by phone, chat, email, text message, etc.) while taking the exam.

      Click on “Mark reviewed” to acknowledge your acceptance of this agreement. After you have clicked “Mark Reviewed,” during the exam time window, the exam link will become available.

These are just a few things you can do to promote a culture of academic integrity at UH and within NSM.

If you have any questions regarding Academic Honesty, please contact Dr. Donna Stokes (dstokes@uh.edu).