Preventing Academic Misconduct With Time Management

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There’s a common view that students who commit academic misconduct don’t care that they are doing something wrong. The view is that cheating doesn’t bother them, nor do they care that cheating is unfair to other students who do follow the rules. This is an easy view to take but it isn’t an accurate view of the vast majority of students. It’s also not a useful one to figure out why academic misconduct happens or what to do about it.

Like most other difficult problems, looking beneath the surface of academic misconduct reveals that there are more complicated issues than just an individual who isn’t concerned about cheating. For a thorough understanding of academic integrity and types of academic misconduct, you may want to read What Is Academic Integrity? and Types of Academic Misconduct.

For the purpose of this skill, you should know that there are times when students inadvertently cheat because they lack the skill to do something. Doing citations properly is a good example of this. There are also times when students make a poor choice to cheat, but it emerges from what they view as desperate circumstances. Those desperate circumstances are frequently because the student does not have good time management skills.

This module is about how time management skills can help you avoid circumstances where academic misconduct seems like the only choice you must complete an assignment. There is substantial evidence that lack of effective time management prompts students to make that choice. For example, one study (Beasley, 2014) found that one in four students attributed a lack of time as the reason for engaging in misconduct.

This skill covers how students can manage their time to avoid academic integrity issues. One of the most important things for students to look at is the big picture of why they are pursuing an academic degree. Recalling these goals is a strong motivator to use good time management as a tool for success. Then, understanding how to effectively manage time includes creating effective goals, planning accurately, making use of strategies such as prioritizing, figuring out a good schedule, avoiding interruptions, and creating a good routine. How one manages time is a very personal process so identifying strategies that work for you is important to do. Finally, this skill addresses the problem of procrastination—a time management problem that impacts many people. Understanding what procrastination really is and why we do it is essential for addressing it with workable solutions.

Suggested Readings
Bailey, C. (2017, October 4). 5 Research-based strategies for overcoming procrastination. Harvard Business Review.
Beasley, E.M. (2014). Students Reported for Cheating Explain What They Think Would Have Stopped Them. Ethics and Behavior, 24 (3):229-252.
Buehler, R. (2019, May 2019). The planning fallacy: An inside view. Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
Christa Anderson, C., & Griffeth, L. L. (2014, May 01). Time management: 10 strategies for better time management. University of Georgia Extension.
Covey, S. (2020). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change (
4th ed.
). Simon & Schuster.
Dierdorff, E. C. (2020, January 30). Time management is about more than life hacks. Harvard Business Review.
Duhigg, C. (2014). The power of habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. Random House Trade.
Jacobs, L. F. & Hyman, J. S. (2009). Top 12 time-management yips. US News & World Report.
Tracy, B. (2017). Eat that frog!: 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time (
3rd ed.
). Berrett-Koehler.