Integrity is considered to be one of the five core values guiding the behavior of faculty, staff, and students at the University of Central Florida. In reference to integrity, the UCF Creed states that individuals will 'practice and defend academic and personal honesty' (The UCF Creed). Academic integrity can be difficult to define; efforts to do so, however, have described it as encompassing the principles of honesty, responsibility, trust, respect, and fairness; see this report from the Center for Academic Integrity, 2007. In addition, as Olivia Petrie and Cheryl Dickie at the York University Centre for the Support of Teaching note, 'a student with academic integrity earns a degree with honest effort, and knows that this degree is a true accomplishment reflecting years of hard work and genuine learning,' (The Academic Integrity Tutorial, 2009, para. 5).
Fostering academic integrity is not an easy task. It involves the cooperation and support of all levels of university personnel as well as the creation of an environment that encourages honest behavior. It also requires role models. As Hinman (2002) points out, academic integrity is not limited to students but involves the integrity of faculty and university administration as well. In order to promote academic integrity in our students, it is important that the university as a whole embodies the five principles of honesty, responsibility, trust, respect, and fairness.
With the multitude of for-fee essay-writing services and for-free student term papers available on the Internet, concerns about academic honesty are even more prevalent today than they were a few years ago. According to UCF's Rules of Conduct, the most common forms of academic dishonesty are: unauthorized assistance and plagiarism. Unauthorized assistance (often referred to simply as cheating) is defined as, "communication to another through written, visual, or oral means. The presentation of material which has not been studied or learned, but rather was obtained through someone else's efforts and used as part of an examination, course assignment or project. The unauthorized possession or use of examination or course related material may also constitute cheating.' Plagiarism, on the other hand, is defined as anything 'whereby another's work is deliberately used or appropriated without any indication of the source, thereby attempting to convey the impression that such work is the student's own. Any student failing to properly credit ideas or materials taken from another is plagiarizing."
There are a few ways faculty can manage academic dishonesty in the classroom. One way is to identify cheating and plagiarism when they occur and to take specific academic and student conduct actions to remedy them. Currently, UCF has an account with turnitin.com to identify student plagiarism. Turnitin.com is a web-based tool that allows faculty to compare student work with other papers in turnitin's databases. The result of submitting a paper to turnitin.com is an overall similarity index, which specifies the originality of each student's paper with other works. Turnitin highlights specific areas of concern in student papers, linking each of these areas to corresponding passages in the original source documents.
Click to view the UCF Plagiarism Statement.
To find out more about turnitin.com, click here.
Academic actions taken in response to student cheating and plagiarism generally consist of counseling, deduction of credit for specific assignments, and/or a failing grade for the course. Student conduct actions, on the other hand, may involve a warning, probation, suspension, expulsion, and/or a mark on a student's permanent record about the incident (see the UCF Office of Student Conduct's sanctions page).
A second way that faculty can manage academic dishonesty is by discouraging cheating and plagiarism and encouraging academic integrity. These strategies can be used in conjunction with identifying/correcting academic dishonesty and can have the benefit of deterring students from cheating and plagiarizing in the first place.
Several sites exist with the purpose of facilitating the sharing among students of course materials, including test questions, individual assignments, and examples of graded material. If you find that your material has been uploaded to such a website without your permission, the following template can be used to request the site to remove the offending content on the grounds of copyright. If you have further questions regarding this issue, please contact the Faculty Center.
To Copyright Agent:
Please refer to the following links for resources on how to prevent academic dishonesty and promote academic integrity in your classes.
J. Blake Scott
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