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For Faculty » Using Honour Codes in the Classroom » How to develop a Class Honour Code

How to Develop a Class Honour Code:

  1. Engage your class in a discussion about the purposes and values of education

    Start with an open question like:  “What purposes does the university serve in society?” and lead through that to discussion of  “What values do you think the university needs to uphold to achieve these purposes?” Alternatively, start with a short presentation on values you think are central to a university and use these to guide the discussion.

  2. Develop a list of values on the board

    This list will vary according to what comes up in discussion. However, some examples might be:

    • Education
    • Fairness
    • Scholarship
    • Citizenship

    You might encourage discussion of how these values translate into your students lives or how they are understood according to their cultures and backgrounds.

  3. Connect those values with the practices of academic honesty

    This can be done in discussion with students, or with a presentation. For example, the values of education and fairness could be connected to academic honesty as follows:

    • Education

      Cheating threatens education because students who cheat do not participate in the experiences which lead to intellectual growth. Also, if cheating occurs and is known to occur at York, this can hamper the reputation of the university and diminish the value of a York degree.

    • Fairness

      As part of the educational process, students receive grades for the work of the course.  It’s important that students be judged fairly—not only in reference to other students but also in terms that reflect their real abilities and skills. 

  4. Incorporate a Commitment to the Values

    A few ways this can be accomplished are:

    • make them part of the class's "code of conduct" 
    • have each student sign some such statement of commitment
    • have students commit to them verbally in discussion or other form