Course and assignment design
There are a number of simple ways that instructors can help to prevent academic offences through assignment design, including:
- Avoid using the same essay topics and/or test and exam questions each year.
- Design assignments that require original input from students.
- Assign outlines, drafts, and/or annotated bibliographies so that the various stages of students’ work can be seen as it progresses.
- Set clear policies on submission of assignments, late penalties, and extensions. State the conditions under which an extension would or would not normally be granted.
- Be sure to hand back assignments in a secure manner (e.g. do not leave boxes of papers outside office doors).
- Design assignments that have multiple pieces, requiring students to build upon each toward a final project and to show their work-in-progress. Focusing on process helps to deter plagiarism. For example, instructors may first request an essay proposal, then an annotated bibliography or an oral presentation on the thesis/focus of the paper or on initial findings, and a final paper. This allows students to receive feedback as they move through the assignment and allows instructors to confirm the originality of the work.
- Be very clear whether and how collaboration is permitted, set clear rules and expectations regarding group assignments, take home work and online assignments.
- Tip Sheet: Developing or Redesigning a Course (Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation)
- Tip Sheet: Developing Course Syllabi (Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation)
- Tip Sheet: Assignment Scaffolding (Centre for Teaching and Learning, UTSC)
- Tip Sheet: Deterring Plagiarism: Some Strategies (Writing at U of T)