As you talk with students on the first day about class policies, attendance, late work, and so forth, have a conversation about academic integrity. Make it clear to them what cheating and plagiarism are in the context of your class and your discipline and why it matters. Then make sure that the same information is in your syllabus. The purpose of a syllabus is to clearly convey course information along with the professor’s expectations regarding the course. A well written syllabus is a course roadmap that serves as both a contract and a tool for providing course transparency and clarity. For more information on communicating with students see Talking about Academic Integrity.
Several components should be included in a well-crafted syllabus. These components include, but are not limited to:
- Teaching philosophy
- Course expectations
- Course policies
- Grading rubrics
In addition to outlining the penalty for plagiarizing or cheating, consider stating what the penalty is for late assignments and missed exams. If group projects are assigned, it is important to outline the instructor’s expectations of how the group project will function and be graded. Be clear in your expectations.
Taking time to review the course syllabus the first day of class is considered a good practice and allows the instructor to address any questions.
Academic Integrity Statement
Be sure to include RIT’s Honor Code and Student Academic Integrity Policy in your syllabus. In addition to conversations about plagiarism, be sure to discuss duplicate submission or self-plagiarism, which is often an unfamiliar concept to many students. Including the following statement from RIT’s Academic Integrity Policy helps further clarify the meaning of duplicate submission: “Duplicate submission is the submitting of the same or similar work for credit in more than one course without prior approval of the instructors for those same courses."
Check with your home department for additional policies or recommend wording to be included in your syllabus.
RIT's Teaching and Learning Services provides several resources related to syllabus development:
- Academic Integrity: Sample Policies for Your Syllabus, Carnegie Mellon University, 2015
- Checklist: Components of a Comprehensive Course Syllabus, University of California at Berkeley, 2006
- Course Syllabus Production Guide, Gabriele Bauer (Villanova University), 2015
- Syllabus Design, University of California at Berkeley, n.d.