Other Forms of Academic Dishonesty

 

As part of a scholarly community, you are expected to make honest and ethical decisions throughout your academic life. Actions of academic dishonesty are considered an offense at UPEI. Of course, avoiding plagiarism is only one part of academic integrity. There are many other ways that one may violate the University's academic integrity policy, purposefully or not.

 

 

According to Regulation 20, actions constituted as cheating include the following:

  • giving false reasons for absence
  • impersonating someone during a test or exam
  • copying or sharing information or use of unauthorized materials (eg. notes, books, calculators, etc.) during a test or exam
  • unauthorized use of technology (cellphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) during a test or exam
  • obtaining, copying, and/or sharing a copy of a test or exam before it is administered
  • altering a test or exam after it has been graded and returned by the instructor
  • unauthorized collaboration between students when individual work is required

While many of these seem obvious, cheating is still far too common among students. According to a survey done by the International Center for Academic Integrity, 68% of undergraduate students and 43% of graduate students admitted to cheating on written tests or assignments. 

There are many reasons that students may be inclined to plagiarize or cheat. Sometimes, it is done purely out of a lack of understanding of what is considered academically dishonest. As a general rule, if you did not complete the work yourself, taking credit for that work is dishonest. 

 

Contract Cheating

Contract cheating is the act of having a third party undertake one's assessed work. It could be in the form of impersonating you during an exam, writing a paper for you, or completing other homework for you. This is plagiarism, whether it is paid or unpaid, and could lead to severe punitive action against you. In this digital age, it is becoming easier than ever to outsource a paper or assignment. Many service providers now strategically advertise their contract cheating services to students through deceptively benign means, like on social media websites.

According to the International Journal for Educational Integrity, contract cheating is a form of fraud and has "ramifications for individuals’ learning outcomes, institutional reputations, educational standards/credibility, professional practice and public safety, particularly if it is somehow normalised as an acceptable way for academic work to be accomplished". When you participate in contract cheating, you are not growing as a scholar. Instead of pursuing your own learning, you are giving yourself an unfair advantage that is highly dishonest.

 

Falsifying

Another form of academic dishonesty covered by Regulation 20 is the falsification of records or documents submitted to the University. Some examples of this are:

  • falsifying any research results, whether in experiments, field trip exercises, or other assignments
  • falsifying academic records, transcripts, or other University documents, or misrepresenting one’s credentials
  • requesting the extension of a deadline citing reasons known to be false, including submitting false documentation supporting that request
    • for example, feigning illness as an excuse for a missed deadline would be considered an offense

Falsifying leads to similar consequences to plagiarism and cheating. In some cases, the repercussions may be severe. 

 

Why do Students Cheat?

Committing acts of academic dishonesty may be tempting to some students. Here are some of the most commonly cited reasons for why cheating may happen:

  • a poor understanding of what is considered dishonest
  • not enough time to complete a task
  • a perception that cheating is normalized behaviour
  • pressure to do well
  • a perception that good grades are not correlated with effort
  • convenience

 

Strategies to Avoid Plagiarism or Cheating

  1. Manage your time. Use an agenda to keep track of assignments, and make sure you are completing them in enough time to warrant your best effort. You can use an assignment calculator, like this one from the University of Toronto, to develop a schedule for completing the assignment. If you do all your research long before a paper is due, you will be much less tempted to falsify citations or plagiarize information.
  2. Take thorough notes in class or while studying. If you understand the material, you won't have to resort to dishonest means to complete your assignments.
  3. Write down important points in your own words as you read through books, articles, websites, etc. Make sure to write down the source of your information. This will save you time in your paper later, as you will have already paraphrased the idea, and kept note of the citation. 
  4. If you're struggling with citing or writing skills, feel free to speak to the Writing Centre, your professor, or a librarian; they would be happy to help. Your professor expects that you will reach out to them for help with your classwork. 
  5. Be honest with your professor. Don't make up an excuse if you miss a class. If you don't understand an assignment or are stressed for time, discuss it with them. If you're not sure what may or may not count as dishonest work for your class, ask.