Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is an important and complex issue, essential for effective learning and for ensuring the value of an IU education. The resources we provide in this section are meant to help instructors promote academic integrity in ways that support the educational growth and development of our students, avoiding where we can punitive or policing approaches. Essentially, we seek to promote integrity (and, yes, reduce cheating) by enhancing learning opportunities—creating more inclusive policies, offering more effective and authentic assessments, engaging students in self-motivated learning, and more.

As James Lang notes in Cheating Lessons (2013a), academic dishonesty is often caused by a combination of factors, including student's motivation (intrinsic vs extrinsic), the stakes involved, the orientation of the class (learning vs performance), and the structures of the learning environment. These structures can include "curriculum requirements, the course design, the daily classroom practices, the nature and administration of assignments and exams, and the students’ relationship with the instructor" (Lang 2013b). In short, many of these structures are within our control, giving us a variety of ways of promoting academic integrity while improving teaching and learning.

Academic integrity is a joint endeavor, and it relies on a healthy relationship between students and their instructors. We encourage instructors to develop policies and procedures that are equitable* for all students, and that are based on clearly shared and articulated values and goals. Approaches to academic integrity that are based on overly strict rules, or that rely on punitive or threatening language, can create an adversarial relationship that can both harm student learning and inadvertently lead to more examples of cheating and academic dishonesty (Lang 2013a).

* Note the distinction between treating students equitably and equally. Policies related to online testing, for examples, can place students with technology and housing challenges at a distinct disadvantage compared to classmates with greater privilege.


Lang, James (2013a). Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty. Harvard UP. Available electronically through IUCAT.

Lang, James (2013b). "Cheating Lessons, Part 1." The Chronicle of Higher Education. May 28, 2013.