Teaching Strategies

Strategies to Limit Opportunities to Cheat

No strategy is foolproof, but there are some common strategies instructors find helpful in minimizing opportunities for students to cheat or plagiarize. Which strategies an instructor chooses to adapt will depend on their teaching context and personal pedagogical values. 

Limiting opportunities for dishonesty on in-class exams:

  • Limit what items students can bring into an exam (e.g. disallow watches, hats, backpacks, etc.).
  • At the start of the exam, arrange students so they can’t easily see each other’s work but the instructor can clearly see every student.
  • Assign random seating in class to prevent collaborators from seating beside each other.
  • During the exam, regularly walk around the classroom to demonstrate that the instructor is paying attention to students’ behavior.
  • Consider randomizing question order or the order of multiple choice responses so students aren’t able to copy from their peers.
  • Avoid reusing exams.
  • Retrieve exams from students so they cannot share them with future students in the class.
  • Ask students to leave technology behind when entering the exam room.

Limiting opportunities for dishonesty on papers and other out-of-class projects:

  • When designing a paper or other project, do a quick google search to see how easily students can find similar assignments online.
  • Regularly update assignments to limit the chance that students can acquire assignments from someone who previously took the course.
  • Experiment with unexpected pairings of texts or other elements to limit the chance that students can find suitable examples to copy from. 
  • Scaffold assignments so that students must turn in — and then revise — different pieces of the assignment along the way (e.g. a paper outline, project proposal, introductory paragraph, first draft, etc.).