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Educational Technology: Plagiarism

Online Resources

Centre's Policy on Academic Dishonesty

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY


A high standard of academic honesty is expected of students in all phases of academic work and college life. Academic dishonesty in any form is a fundamental offense against the integrity of the entire academic community and is always a threat to the standards of the College and to the standing of every student. In taking tests and examinations, doing homework or laboratory work, and writing papers, students are expected to perform with honor. In written and oral work for college courses, students will be held responsible for knowing the difference between proper and improper use of source materials. The improper use of source materials is plagiarism and, along with other breaches of academic integrity, is subject to disciplinary action.
Plagiarism. Plagiarism occurs when the student does not use footnotes properly, quotes without quotation marks, quotes or paraphrases without indicating sources, hands in material as his or her own when it is not, or incurs a combination of these omissions or commissions in any academic exercise. All such behavior constitutes a theft of someone else’s ideas or words. All students will have a classroom discussion and an exercise on proper research, footnoting, and paraphrasing techniques during the early part of their academic career at Centre. Also, students who do not understand proper research techniques should feel free to ask their instructors. Proper footnoting procedures are explained in The Rules for Writers Handbook. Always check there or follow the instructor’s guide sheet before finishing a paper.
Recent cases that have caused a great deal of concern have involved the persistent omission of quotation marks around quoted material, the persistent omission of footnotes, improper paraphras- ing using material too similar to the original, and handing in another student’s work as one’s own.
other forms of Cheating. All students should realize that every faculty member is asked to create an atmosphere in the classroom in which the honest are protected. Tests, quizzes, and exams are monitored, many footnotes and sources are checked, and seating during exams is as spread out as possible. students should never bring notes, texts, or special memory aids into a test, unless the instructor specifically permits this. Students who notice that a fellow student is cheating should feel free to tell the instructor. This should never be done lightly or without some degree of certainty. It is, however, important to protect the integrity of the entire class.
When a student hands in a take-home exam, a paper, or to-be-graded homework, the assumption is that the work represents the student’s own effort unless other sources are acknowledged. Furthermore, it is expected that this work has been produced exclusively for the course in which it is submitted. Students should not use the same or substantially the same material in different courses without the prior approval of both instructors.
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A student who helps another to cheat is also guilty of violating the principles of academic honesty. A committee appointed by The Student Government Association made the following clarifications about academic honesty: (1) Anyone acting in the role of tutor, either in a paid or voluntary capacity, may work on specific homework problems as long as these problems will not be used by the instructor for grading purposes. Students should clarify ambiguous situations such as lab write-ups and computer programs with the individual professor. (2) A proofreader may check for errors and misspellings. Also, proofreaders may check for problems in grammar, usage, diction, and agreement. The proofreader may place a check next to the error but not directly correct the mistake. In a general sense, the proofreader should feel free to discuss topics, ideas, and concepts in the paper. The reader may suggest alterations, but at no time may a proofreader actually write any phrase, sentence, or paragraph for another student.
Two other policy violations are treated as violations of academic dishonesty. They are defacing of library materials and abuses of the convocation system. They are subject to disciplinary action by the Associate Dean and/or the Student Judiciary.
Each of the three elements of the academic community—students, faculty, and administra- tors—carries part of the responsibility for maintaining academic honesty. Each case of academic dishonesty, no matter how minor the infraction, must be reported to the Associate Dean of the College before a grade is determined.
The following general procedures have been established for the faculty and are spelled out in the faculty Handbook:
•    The instructor or a faculty colleague should actively monitor all exams, including makeup exams and exams given early. Secretaries, student assistants, and other staff members should not be asked to give or monitor exams.
•    Instructors should not leave the classroom during examinations.
•    Students should bring to class only those materials necessary for taking the examination. All other books, notes, and materials should be left outside the classroom or in a common location within the room.
•    Students should be separated and dispersed throughout the classroom as much as possible. If the instructor anticipates that the scheduled room will be too small to assure adequate dispersal, the Registrar should be informed so that alternate arrangements can be suggested.
•    Students ordinarily should not be permitted to leave the classroom unless the exam is administered in sections. In other cases where it is clearly necessary for a student to leave the room, students should leave individually and the instructor should take reasonable precautions to prevent access to test materials.
•    Instructors with multiple sections of the same course should make separate examinations.
•    Students taking earlier exams or makeup exams should be given exams different from those given the regular class.
•    Instructors should check footnotes and references. For Internet references, instructors may use the software service “Turnitin.com,” which delivers a report listing Internet sites containing material that corresponds to passages submitted by either a faculty member or a student. To this end, an instructor may require all students in a class to submit papers to an “electronic drop box” that is automatically forwarded to Turnitin.com.
•    Instructors should vary topics of written assignments to minimize the use of previously written papers.
•    Instructors should repeatedly emphasize the proper referencing of sources, recognizing that the style of referencing varies among academic disciplines.
aCaDeMIC DIsHonesTY
If the instructor has a concern about a student’s academic honesty, the Associate Dean of the College must be notified. Students may report an instance of alleged academic dishonesty by filing a written account of the details with the instructor. The instructor should then send a copy of the account to the Associate Dean. The instructor and the Associate Dean will consult and decide on a proper course of action, which may include questioning the individual(s) involved or other witnesses to the incident.
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The following are reasons for alerting the Associate Dean to all suspicions of academic dishonesty:
•    A centralized handling of all academic dishonesty cases has been deemed advisable for the sake of fairness and equitable treatment of all students.
•    Any repeat offender will be dealt with more severely. The Associate Dean keeps a file on all cases and will check to see if the student has been in difficulty before.
•    The Associate Dean can consult with the instructor about ways of handling the situation.
•    The Associate Dean can help evaluate the evidence.
•    The Associate Dean will call in the student to meet with him or her and discuss the case. The instructor may wish to call the student first, but, although that is advisable, it is not mandatory.
•    The Associate Dean will decide, based on the case in relationship to other cases, whether it must go to the Student Judiciary or not. It must be pointed out, however, that the instructor and the student have the right to go to the judiciary independently of the Associate Dean’s decision.
saMPle WaYs of HanDlInG non-JUDICIaRY, RelaTIVelY MInoR PRobleMs •    The student may convince both the instructor and the Associate Dean that no questionable
activity has occurred. The case is dropped.
•    The grade can be adjusted to reflect the presence of a problem on the paper, test or assign- ment.
•    The student can be asked to do the assignment again.
•    The student can be asked to do a substitute assignment.
•    The student can be warned, but told that another problem of this nature will be handled more severely.
If a student objects to any of these decisions, he/she may choose to take the case to the judiciary for arbitration.
PRoCeDURes aT aCaDeMIC JUDICIaRY HeaRInGs
The Student Judiciary arbitrates serious cases. The Associate Dean of the College writes out the charges and requests a time for the hearing from the Chair of the Judiciary. Ordinarily, the instructor is asked to be present at the hearing to discuss the evidence and how conclusions were reached. The Judiciary will usually ask about the assignment. All of this occurs in the presence of the accused who is asked how he or she pleads at the beginning and is then asked to comment, respond, explain, question witnesses, and make a closing statement. The Associate Dean is also asked to make a closing statement. When the Judiciary goes into private delibera- tions, it is advisable for the instructor to stay in a room nearby in order to be available to hear the final decision of the Judiciary. The accused must be present to receive the final decision. At the time the decision is rendered, the Student Judiciary shall indicate in writing a concise statement of the basis for its finding.
The final responsibility for determining the student’s grade in the course rests with the instruc- tor, except in cases in which the Judiciary recommends a lowering or raising of the grade. In cases where a student is suspended as a result of a Judiciary recommendation, the grade of “U” shall be recorded for that course. Students who are asked to appear before the Student Judiciary will be given a written statement explaining their rights and will be told about the appeals process. Please see section on Campus Life and Services in this Handbook for the complete appeals process.
If cited to appear before the student Judiciary, a student may not withdraw from the College before the completion of the judiciary process.

Centre College Student Handbook and Calendar, 2010-2011, pp. 22-24.

What is Plagiarism?

What is Plagiarism?

Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work, or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:

According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means

  • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
  • to use (another's production) without crediting the source
  • to commit literary theft
  • to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.

But can words and ideas really be stolen?

According to U.S. law, the answer is yes. The expression of original ideas is considered intellectual property, and is protected by copyright laws, just like original inventions. Almost all forms of expression fall under copyright protection as long as they are recorded in some way (such as a book or a computer file).

All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism. See our section on citation for more information on how to cite sources properly.

 

“What is Plagiarism?” Plagiarism.org. Accessed September 26, 2010. <http://www.plagiarism.org/learning_center/what_is_plagiarism.html>