Students act with academic integrity because they want to learn and value their own honesty.
There is a lot at stake when it comes to academic integrity. Expectations at the University of Saskatchewan may be greater than students have experienced before and most students need to build some new skills. Credibility of assessments, our credentials, our students and graduates, our professors, our institution are all vitally important at USask.
Practicing academic integrity requires shared effort, including effort by students.
Ask your instructor for clarification
Why? Even though there are standard definitions that guide us, instructors can put different kinds of rules in place for their assessments. This may be for individual teaching approach or traditions and expectations in disciplines and professions. You should always check that you understand the rules in each course, and for each assessment.
Access help and avoid contract cheating
Why? Being proactive and seeking help from your instructors, TAs, lab coordinators, and seeking support from peer educators or hired tutors can be helpful to learning.
Increasingly, there is a risky international trend commonly called “contract cheating”. Students need to be aware that using tutoring services or file-sharing sites to outsource academic work, all or in part, and then presenting that work as though they did it themselves is academic misconduct. This is also often a copyright violation. Many researchers in Canada are noting that these sites are “predatory” meaning they are targeting students through social media who may be under stress and vulnerable to making a bad decision. Cases of students being blackmailed are also coming to light. Avoid this by using the following resources:
- Take workshops to build your skills to avoid academic misconduct.
- Seek support through USask tutor registries.
- Better understand the term contract cheating, the global trend of outsourcing academic work to commercial sites.
- Understand how you could be targeted and why contract cheating is riskier than students think.
- See information on copyright for students.
Learn with others and follow the assessment rules
Why? Studying and working on course concepts with classmates can benefit your learning. However, when the time comes to submit work intended to be done individually, what was collaboration-to-learn can become collusion-to-cheat.
For example, a student makes it seem the work is entirely theirs when in fact it was done by a group or the work was copied from another student. Instructors may encourage some collaboration on some assignments, so you need to double-check, every time.
Avoid plagiarism by citing sources
Why? Citing your sources gives credit to the work of others, helps readers find more information, shares useful resources, and most importantly, avoids an accusation of plagiarism because you are upholding the values of academic integrity and honesty.
- Always use the proper citation style that your instructor has outlined for submitting your written work. If the instructor has not made their expectation clear, be sure to ask.
- Learn more about citing with the Citation Style Guide
Plan ahead to avoid last minute pressures
Why? For some students, academic misconduct happens when under stress. The responsible thing is to manage your time and strike a good balance in all aspects of your life. Workshops, resources and services can help you be proactive and position yourself to make good choices, especially when under stress.