Developing your integrity

Developing ideas and understanding boundaries of collaboration

An important part of learning is sharing own ideas and learning to work and collaborate with your friends and colleagues. This is what you will need to do in your working life, so your studies are a great way to learn and practice these collaborative skills. When you are working together it is really important to understand the boundaries that you need to have with your work, and especially if you are working on an assignment that you have to submit individually, that this is only done by you and not with someone else. When this is not done, this is called ‘collusion’. Collusion means to have had other people involved in work which is represented as your own.

Appropriate acknowledgement of other’s ideas in your work, whether design, images, code or writing

Anything that someone else has produced needs to be acknowledged by you if you are using it or referring to it, even if you have used it as a base to introduce your own ideas. When you use others’ ideas, just let people know by telling them who and where you got it from. In the section on referencing we show you exactly how to do this in your academic work.


Discussing integrity with your peers and encouraging cultures of honesty and best academic practices

One of the best ways that we can all model and implement integrity, whether we are teachers, staff, students or members of the public is to talk about integrity and honesty. Having these conversations can increase the cultures of integrity and honesty and help to develop the best academic practices, which we strive for at Polimi.

For teachers and instructors, make sure that you refer students to support services and policies so that they understand where they can get help when they need it. We know that when students turn to cheating they may feel great senses of guilt and shame, and this causes anxieties. There is evidence of students who have outsourced their assignments to be then blackmailed by the company/person to keep their cheating ‘quiet’, so that they don’t get caught. To help students you can have conversations with them in class before assessments about the best ways to complete their assignments. Make sure that assignment details are clear. The more confusion there is, the more chance there might be to create situations for cheating.



Ethical approach and modelling in teaching and learning

Educators are relied upon by students to modelgood academic practices and work with integrity. This is not just about referencing everything you use and creating new learning materials, but it is about the design and pedagogy in your course and assessment. Assessments should be testing student’s learning of key objectives in your subject and be interesting for the students to complete. This might seem like common sense, but it is common to hear that the purpose of assignments is not always clear to students, and is cited as a reason that students think it is acceptable to cheat. Assignments which are relatable and aligned to the main course, to their vocation or future profession and which develop key skills are the best designed assignments to engage students in their learning. Moreover, the attitude of teachers and instructors to discussion solutions of the exams and be open to motivate grading choices with students is extremely important.