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Common Misconceptions | Academic Integrity | Seneca College

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Common Misconceptions

Common Misconceptions

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An academic integrity offence is commonly believed to be cheating on a test (e.g., copying answers from another student’s paper, using unauthorized materials such as a cellphone) or plagiarizing (e.g., cutting and pasting from the Internet without documenting the source). However, an academic integrity offence involves more than just the above.

Am I Cheating?


Scenario 1

J is taking a test in a large classroom. The professor is busy talking to another student and is not watching the class. J checks to see if she is not looking and then quietly asks his friend sitting next to him if the answer "c" is the correct answer for a question. His friend nods yes.

Is J cheating? Is his friend cheating?

Scenario 2

A is working on a take-home test for chemistry. She asks her friend, who's a chemistry major, to double check her answers on several problems. Her friend checks the answers and doesn't find any errors.

Is A cheating? Is her friend cheating?

Scenario 3

I has a paper due for his English class and he has left it late. He finds an old paper he wrote from a few years back that would work for this assignment. He makes a few revisions and submits the recycled paper.

Is I cheating?

Scenario 4

L is taking a test in a quiet corner of the learning center. He doesn't know the answer to one of the questions, so he texts his friend B and asks for help. B doesn't respond.

Is L cheating?

Scenario 5

M is part of a group working on a project. M is very busy with her other classes and doesn't put much time into the project. M relies on others to do the work and get a good mark.

Is M cheating?

Scenario 6

G is writing a test and notices that N beside him is using a cheat sheet. He does not report it.

Is G cheating?

Scenario 7

C is behind on studying and is not prepared for her test. She tells her professor that she is ill and cannot write the test.

Is C cheating?

Lesser known examples of academic misconduct:

Missing In-Text Citations

Failure to cite the sources listed at the end of your assignment within the written portion of your assignment is a form of academic misconduct. You must show where your research has been used in your written work in order for your professor to accurately assess and provide meaningful feedback about how well you have applied the knowledge you have developed. Show where you have used ideas from your research by providing in-text citations that refer to the sources you have listed at the end of your assignment.

Misrepresenting Copied Words

When you cut-and-paste word for word from your research and cite your source in the written portion of your essay, neglecting to use quotation marks around the copied text misleads your professor to think that you have paraphrased the original source in your own words. This prevents your professor from providing meaningful feedback on your research and communication skills.

Submitted Work Edited/Altered

It’s okay to ask for help, but if the work you submit has been significantly edited or altered by someone else or through an online tool (e.g., Grammarly, online editing or essay service, paid tutoring service, a friend), to the point that it does not represent your skill level, then you have bypassed the learning process and negated your professor’s ability to provide meaningful and accurate feedback on your skill level.

Making Your Assignment Available to Others

We all want to help each other to succeed but if someone who is enrolled in a course that you took asks for your assignment and you share it (either physically or digitally), then you are committing an act of academic misconduct.

Improper Research Practices

Research involves collection, analysis and interpretation of published information or data. When this information is not accurately represented in your academic work, such as falsifying the information or fabricating the information, this is an act of academic misconduct.