Conversations With Students About Academic Honesty


I’ve found a conversation starter that works with students in my class and you may find value using it in yours.

“Help me understand your workflow.”

I’ve been confronted with student projects being riddled with identical code from videos from youtube, threads on reddit, first hits of google searches, and work from former (or current) students. I’ve also seen many more students clicking finish on lesson levels with no work done. Usually when I see all solid “bubbles” on my teacher dashboard, this indicates the student has read the instructions, followed the instructions, and programmed the level with academic integrity. Numerous times in the past few weeks I’ve found this to not be the case. (I do want to note that students are most likely doing this because I grade their levels for completion grades. This is a whole other ball of wax that deserves its own thread. This post is meant for an audience that may be seeing a similar trend and want to have productive conversation with students that leads to a change in behavior without tarnishing relationships or coming off as accusatory.)

With two separate students I have brought them over privately and said “Hey, when I’ve gone in to see everyone’s progress I noticed that your bubbles were filled in but you didn’t have any work done. Can you help me understand your workflow? How do you know what levels are finished and which ones still need to be completed?” This allowed the students to open up and at least start talking about how they work (or not) during class time. It also provides an opportunity for me to let them know that I see them. I want them to do the work. And, I want them to come to me for help before they find themselves slipping into a situation where they are compromising their academic integrity.

I’d like to hear from others if they try this conversation starter. I’m going to continue to use it and I’ll update with any new responses I get from students.


@sam_stafford - Thanks for starting this thread. I had similar conversations with students in the past. As you did, I give them an opportunity to explain the lack of work and how I can help them complete whatever is missing. I also assign pairs to check each others work and have conversations about what they learned and questions they may still have. Each pair turns in an exit ticket about their discussion.