Teaching students about academic misconduct

Speaking about student ethics development and academic integrity, we can't ignore such a phenomenon academic misconduct.

Academic misconduct - dishonest and prohibited deeds and means a student uses to get a higher grade or course credit. It is a misrepresentation of students' abilities, knowledge and skills; and it does not let educators determine and understand how well a student is doing in the course.

Every educator has the authority and right to define how well his students follow the rules of academic integrity; that is why one and the same assignment may be given differently for different classes. Anyway, there are some general rules for students to follow if they do not want to be a victim of academic misconduct:

  • Do all your assignments by yourself.
  • Do not copy other students' works, and do not submit them as your own.
  • Do not use cheat sheets during exams.
  • Always cite all sources you use in your assignments.
  • Do not ask anyone to complete your assignments for you.

A teacher, an instructor or a teaching assistant can always can help a student understand if he completes all tasks with academic integrity: a student should just ask if he has some doubts.

Why should we teach students about academic misconduct? Academic Integrity Seminar makes an accent on misconduct and its definition for students to understand why they shouldn't practice it, what the consequences may be, and why it contradicts the principles of academic integrity and ethics in general.

Examples of academic misconduct

For you to understand the concept of academic misconduct better, we provide some examples below. So, academic misconduct includes:

  1. Cheating. A student cheats if he obtains information or work from others and submits it under his own name; if he uses unauthorized notes; if he communicates with others during exams and tell them answers to exam questions; if he submits the same paper for two or more classes; if he takes exams for another person; if he fabricates data; if he tries to find out answers to all exams questions in advance.
  2. Unacceptable collaboration. It is considered unacceptable when a student has been instructed to work alone but he still tries to collaborate with others and ask them some questions; when a student collaborates with others during exams; when he works with others but tries to submit this work under his own name without citing or mentioning his peers.
  3. Classroom disturbances. They include failure to comply all educational directives or instructions, disruption of academic activities, interference with the work of other students, distraction of other students from tasks performance.
  4. Plagiarism. It is detected if a student uses someone's else words, ideas, or statements as his own ones without proper citation; it includes borrowing facts, paraphrasing, and copying word for word.
  5. Falsification of official documents.

Measures that can be taken

All incidents of academic misconduct can be defined as minor or major ones depending on their seriousness. Academic misconduct is considered major if it happens in examinations halls and covers everything connected with exams.

Depending on the severity of misconduct, measures and penalties can be different. Minor misconducts are usually reported to the Head of Department, and he decides whether a candidate is guilty and whether some measures should be taken; major misconducts are considered by a special committee (Academic Misconduct Committee), and if a candidate is found guilty he has the right to appeal against such a decision.

What may a student's penalty for minor misconducts be?

  • A formal reprimand.
  • A reduction of the marks obtained by this student.

What may a student's penalty for major misconducts be?

  • A formal reprimand.
  • A reduction of the marks obtained by this student.
  • A withdrawal of all marks obtained by this student in his program.
  • Re-examination.
  • Expulsion from the educational institute.

Student ethical development and academic integrity do mean academic misconduct as a phenomenon to eradicate. Academic Integrity Seminar teaches students about it in order to help them understand the incompatibility of this concept with ethics and academic integrity; plus, it helps students see all consequences of their decision to use academic misconduct and fully understand the inadmissibility of this practice's usage in educational process.