Talking about academic honesty

Academic dishonesty corrodes the entire academic experience for everyone.

  • Every key assignment provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of maintaining academic honesty. It is beneficial to clarify what would constitute academic dishonesty in any particular assignment.
  • Consider encouraging students to develop their paraphrasing skills as part of their personal and professional development. Writing without plagiarising is useful in many professions.
  • Provide examples of dishonest work explaining why doing the right thing is likely to result in a higher mark for the assignment.


Students may not be aware of how academic honesty translates to in different types of assignments like group work. Shared discussion in class helps to reduce the risk of unintentional dishonesty.

Academic honesty is important for the integrity of degrees students graduate with as well as part of developing professional integrity. Students may need help in seeing the link of these values to their current assignment.

Interesting assignments are often also assignments difficult to plagiarise, so they serve a double purpose for learning and integrity.


  • Including learning journals or personal portfolios in group assignments is a vehicle to reduce dishonesty related to free-riding and plagiarism.
  • Consider asking students why they believe academic honesty is important. The discussion can be led by questions like:
    - what would happen if everyone could freely plagiarise (as students/as academics)?;
    - What is the purpose of assignments (and doing them yourself)?; or
    - There are serious penalties for academic honesty (like getting a zero for the Unit of Study or even being expelled from University), why do you think they have been implemented?

Further resources