How Do I Protect My Academic Integrity?
What is Academic Integrity?
Having integrity means acting in a way that is honest and moral. In our daily personal interactions with others, acting with integrity tells people that we can be trusted, that we are honest, and that we follow generally accepted ‘rules’ or moral codes. An obvious example of acting with integrity would be alerting someone that they have dropped their wallet rather than pocketing it! A less obvious example of acting with integrity might involve acknowledging a co-worker’s great idea to your manager, rather than taking credit for it yourself. In your academic activities, acting with integrity is also important. Acting with academic integrity means that your instructors and teaching staff can trust that your work represents an honest effort, is original, and has followed university, rules or policies.
Is it enough to apply my personal values around honesty and integrity to my academic life? (I think I have a strong moral compass:, isn’t that enough?)
You may feel that the values of honesty and integrity already guide your decisions and actions, both inside and outside of your academic work, and this is a good thing. You may come to university understanding that it is wrong to cheat on an exam or pass someone else’s work off as your own; however, you may be unaware of special academic standards and rules that inform what constitutes integrity in an academic setting. For example, many students think it is okay to reuse a paper, or parts of a paper, in separate assignments for different courses. In other words, taking a section of a paper submitted to a first-year psychology course and inserting it in a second-year psychology paper on a similar topic may seem reasonable. But, using work that you have already received credit for in a different assignment is listed as a violation in Trent University’s Academic Integrity Policy.
What are some of the most common forms of academic dishonesty?
Cheating covers a wide range of conduct that includes, but is not limited to, bringing unauthorized aids to an exam, copying from another person’s exam or assignment, allowing others to copy your work, communicating with another student during an exam, or even impersonating another person in an exam or test. We think it is important to acknowledge that most students don’t plan to cheat in university, but often poor judgement, peer pressure, or inadequate planning are factors behind dishonest acts. At Academic Skills, we think practicing good time management, academic planning, and developing strong study habits will reduce anxiety and stress, helping students avoid acts of dishonesty.
When a student knowingly uses someone else’s work in a way that makes it seem that it is their own, they have committed plagiarism. Inserting an image into a slideshow without giving credit constitutes plagiarism. Cutting and pasting text from social media or a webpage into your essay is plagiarism. To avoid committing an act of plagiarism you must learn to use sources properly. Whether you are summarizing (stating only the main points and supporting points of a source) or paraphrasing (rewriting a source in your own words with the same level of detail as the original) you must learn the proper steps for putting other’s work in your own words. Remember, whether you directly quote the work of others or make reference to their ideas, you must include an in-text citation. See our Documentation Guide for information on what to cite, and how to cite it.
Sharing course content
Did you know that sharing course content with anyone not registered in that course is an offence under Trent’s Academic Dishonesty Policy (2021)? For example, you cannot post your instructor’s lecture slides, exam questions, assignment guidelines or other course-content to online study sites such as Chegg. You may not share any course materials that your instructor has created without their permission. If you are unsure whether you can share course materials with other people, check with your instructor first and get permission.
How can I learn more about Academic Integrity at Trent?
The most important thing you can do is to familiarize yourself with Trent University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Here you will learn about academic integrity, academic dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism and rules around sharing and distribution of course content. As well, the Policy outlines the penalties for academic offences and the procedures for investigating academic dishonesty and appealing decisions about offences. If you have any general questions about academic integrity, please feel free to book an appointment with an Academic Skills Instructor, ask your Instructor or TA, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your question.
Academic Skills at Trent University has developed an online course called the Academic Integrity Module. Many course instructors require their students to complete the Module and its three short quizzes before they hand in any major coursework. If you are required to complete the Academic Integrity Module you will see the module listed on your Blackboard course dashboard. If you are not enrolled in a course that requires you to take the module, you can request to be added to the module by emailing email@example.com. The Academic Integrity Module is particularly informative because it presents real-life examples of student behaviours that constitute academic dishonesty.