Strategies to Avoid Academic Misconduct

Careful attention to your own academic duties is the best way to avoid allegations of academic misconduct. If you are asked to do something that you feel is wrong or unethical, it probably is.
Aiding someone in committing an academically dishonest act is just as serious as receiving the aid.

The following strategies may help you avoid violations:

At the Beginning of a Class

  • Check your faculty member's course syllabus for a section dealing with academic dishonesty for that course. There may be special requirements. If you cannot find a written section in the syllabus, ask the faculty member what his/her expectations are.

General Guidelines

  • Start working early enough to ensure that you have the time you need to do your best work.
  • Know that it is risky to electronically copy or transmit a computer program or file to other students. You could be implicated in a cheating incident if someone alters that program and submits it as their own work.
  • Keep rough drafts and copies of assignments and projects submitted in courses since other students may get access to your work and attempt to claim it as their own.
  • Do not share your current or former assignments, projects, papers, etc. with other students to use as guides for their work. Such a practice could lead to claims of collaboration if part or all of your work is lifted by another student. Sometimes friendly assistance may escalate into claims of blatant dishonesty.
  • Do not give your homework papers, projects, or other assignments to other students to submit for you. They may use parts of your work.
  • Keep your student identification card in your possession or secured. Never loan your identification to anyone.
  • Do not make any marks on a graded exam if there is any chance you may submit it for a re-grade. Make all notations on a separate paper.
  • Do not lend assignments you have finished to other students. Some students have been accused of knowingly giving unauthorized aid. Do not take this chance. Do not leave your finished assignments in a place where another student might be able to copy them. This is especially easy to do when using a community computer. Password protect your files if you need to leave them on a computer that is networked. Should there be any doubt, clarify with your instructor how much collaboration, if any, is permitted or expected when working on projects or assignments with other students, particularly computer programs.
  • Discourage dishonesty among other students and refuse to assist students who cheat. Be a person of character and make your education and degree count!
  • Honesty is the best policy – ALWAYS! Even if you cannot make the page number requirement on time talks honestly with the teacher.

Writing Papers

  • Know which recognized handbook for writing papers is required for the class. Two handbooks commonly used are the APA (American Psychological Association) and the MLA (Modern Language Association) handbooks. These are often used in general education classes. The sciences often have handbooks specific to the discipline. Look for the identification of the handbook in your syllabus or ask your instructors which they prefer. MAKE CERTAIN you know how to accurately cite sources; most faculty assume you know how to do this. Resources can be found online and are available for use in our library.
  • Since it is impossible to write everything with complete originality, use quotation marks, footnotes, and parenthetical textual notes to acknowledge other peoples' words or ideas employed in your paper. Again, check with your instructor for proper techniques for citations and attribution if you have any doubts.
  • Do not pad a bibliography. This means do not include sources in a bibliography or reference list if you have not used the sources in the preparation of your paper.
  • Know the difference between PRIMARY sources and SECONDARY sources and cite appropriately.
  • Do not use previous papers, lab reports, or assignments produced by you and used in a previous course with the intention of copying parts or all of the material. Check with your instructor and get permission before turning in a paper or project you submitted in another course.

During Examinations and Quizzes

  • Take the initiative to prevent other students from copying your work by shielding your answer sheet during examinations. In exams, if you feel someone is trying to copy from you, ask the proctor if you may move. This will alert the proctor to a potential problem and help remove suspicion from you as aiding the other student if a claim of cheating arises.
  • If you are allowed to take materials into a testing site, make sure no notes or materials are exposed or accessible that could cause one to believe you are using unauthorized aids (cribs). This includes cell phones, PDAs, programmable calculators, and iPods. Unfortunately, some students have used these electronic devises as an advantage over other students by entering materials that could be seen as unauthorized aid during quizzes, exams, finals.
  • Do not look around, particularly in the direction of other students' papers since it may appear you are trying to copy from others.  Look up for inspiration, down in desperation, but not around for information!
  • When completing take-home exams or online quizzes, do not collaborate with other persons unless approved by the instructor. ASK THE INSTRUCTOR. Blackboard knows what times exams and quizzes are started and finished.

References Used

Students in a circle in the grassPath with pink flowers on trees