Blackboard Strategies for Academic Integrity

Last Updated: Oct 23, 2014 03:46PM PDT
While it is impossible to prevent cheating, these tips can be used to protect academic integrity. The following tips are aimed at mitigating cheating for the two most common assessment types, testing and homework. In addition to Blackboard, other tools that integrate with Blackboard can be used to prevent cheating (Respondus LockDown Browser) and identify plagiarism (Turnitin).


  • Use Objective Testing Sparingly - Multiple choice, multiple answer, and true/false questions are great for low stakes assessment; but other assessment methods are better for evaluating higher order thinking skills such as applying, understanding, evaluating, or creating. For online assessment that requires objective testing, we highly recommend Respondus Lockdown Browser and/or Respondus Monitor to prevent cheating.
  • Use Respondus Lockdown Browser - Respondus Lockdown Browser is a tool that integrates with Blackboard and prevents students from opening new browser windows or running other processes during a test.
  • Use Question Pools - Questions can be grouped by criteria such as topic, question type, difficulty, etc. Question pools enable randomized sets of questions from each pool selected by the faculty member. Pools can be created from existing quizzes or new questions and can be added to or removed.
  • Set a Timer - If you aren't using Respondus Lockdown Browser, you may consider setting a time limit on the exam to restrict the amount of time students have to consult books, notes, or the internet.
  • Randomize Questions - Select the randomize questions option when building a test to limit the likelihood that students cheating together will receive the same questions on a test and on future tests.
  • Randomize Answer Order - Just as with questions, you can randomize the order of the answers.
  • Prevent Backtracking - You can prevent students from returning to previously answered questions.
  • Display Questions One-at-a-Time - You can limit how many test questions are displayed at a time. This is particularly useful in combination with the inability to backtrack.
  • Limit Test Availability Window - Select a timeframe when your test will be open that accommodates students schedules, but does not leave the test open for too long.
  • Limit Number of Test Attempts - Prevent students from taking the exam multiple times.
  • Include Academic Integrity policy in the Syllabus - Deter cheating from the very beginning of your course by adding the academic integrity policy and your own expectations very clearly to your syllabus.
  • Check for Plagiarism with Turnitin - Turnitin is a tool that integrates with Blackboard that checks student submitted papers against a global database of billions of sources, including other submitted papers and websites, that provides faculty with an "Originality Report" indicating what amount was plagiarized.
  • Use Blogs, Journals, and Wikis - Blogs, journals, and wikis are great ways to engage students in different ways with collaborative and reflexive learning.
  • Use Discussion Assignments - Create a Discussion Board assignment that requires students to demonstrate critical thinking skills by responding to a relevant forum topic. Having assignments that are very specific makes it more difficult for students to use portions of a previous term paper or other sources that may only indirectly touch on the Discussion Board topic.
  • Create Group Assignments - Create group assignments that require students to interact with group members regularly. Groups can be made responsible for determining the functional roles for each member, establishing a mechanism for accountability (i.e., submitting weekly progress reports), and sharing drafts of individual progress on a group project.
  • Let Students Create - Design assignments around the concept that students will be creating or publishing their work for the class or the world at large. Students can add image, video, links, to blogs, discussion boards, journals, just as faculty can. Make them get creative and they will!
Find more examples and strategies here.