5 Academic Integrity

Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter, you will be able to

  • explain the concept of academic integrity
  • describe the main types of academic dishonesty
  • describe six fundamental values for academic integrity

Academic Integrity

Information in this section has been adapted from the Confederation College Academic Integrity Policy.

All students at Confederation College must follow the College’s Academic Integrity Policy. It is every student’s responsibility to familiarize themselves with this policy; ignorance of the policy is not an acceptable reason for violating the policy.

Completing work on your own and with integrity enables you to practice skills like time management and critical thinking. These skills are important for success throughout college and beyond. Academic dishonesty is a violation of academic integrity. Academic dishonesty takes the form of any kind of cheating in academic work, including taking credit for the work of others without crediting them, misrepresenting one’s own work, fabricating information, and facilitating academic dishonesty in others.

Examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, the following four major offences:

1. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is taking the words or ideas of someone else and presenting them as your own. This can include include copying and pasting from the internet without putting the copied information into quotation marks, as well as not including citations for quotations, paraphrases, or summaries.

You must use APA citations and references to provide “attribution”. In other words, whenever you use information, ideas, or direct quotations from a source, you must give credit to that source by including an APA in-text citation next to the borrowed information and including a full bibliographic entry for the source in a reference list.

Paraphrasing means rephrasing ideas or information from a source. When you paraphrase, you must make sure that you are accurately representing the original material and that you have rephrased it sufficiently so that your phrasing is quite different from the original. When you paraphrase ideas or information, you must include a citation and reference.

Direct quoting means using the exact words or phrasing from the source. If you want to use direct quoting, you must put the directly quoted material into quotation marks to show that the phrasing is not your own. You must also include a citation and reference.

Patchwriting occurs when students try to create a paraphrase, but they do not change the words or phrasing enough. Patchwriting is NOT acceptable in college courses. You must either paraphrase OR direct quote.

To learn more about plagiarism, take this plagiarism tutorial from Indiana University.

2. Cheating

Cheating is using or attempting to use unauthorized information or materials in any academic exercise; copying from someone else’s work; representing someone else’s work as one’s own; or violating rules and policies governing examinations, such as bringing pre-written work into an in-class examination or talking during examination or accessing information via the internet.

Cheating may also include using AI (artificial intelligence).  AI programs include ChatGPT, Bing, Grammarly, and Quillbot. In CS 106, you are not allowed to use any AI software, and any unauthorized use of these tools will be considered an act of academic dishonesty. However, you may use Microsoft Word tools (including spell-check, grammar-check, and editor functions).  In other classes, if AI use is allowed, be sure to ask your teacher how to cite your use of the software.

3. Fabrication

Fabrication is inventing or falsifying data, citations, or information.

Examples of fabrication include making up information or data to include in a research paper or lab report, or creating a false citation for information in order to avoid charges of plagiarism. When you include paraphrases or direct quotes, it is important that your citations and references are accurate or you may be accused of fabricating your attributions.

4. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty

Facilitating academic dishonesty is intentionally helping or trying to help someone else commit an act of academic dishonesty.

This violation is also sometimes called “collusion.” Examples of collusion include sharing quiz questions and/or answers with classmates, showing completed work to classmates so they can copy it, or providing homework answers to classmates.

Professors assign quizzes and assignments to assess your learning. Unless your teacher specifically says that you are allowed to work in groups or with other students, you should assume that any graded assignment must be completed individually. Do not share your work with other students.

Policy Violations

Canadian post-secondary institutions take academic integrity very seriously. Employers rely on colleges and universities to uphold academic integrity policies so they can be assured that graduates have sufficient skills and knowledge to be successful in their professional fields.

Therefore, students who violate the academic integrity policy can face serious consequences. At Confederation College, first time offenders will receive a 0 or severely reduced score on the assignment, and the teacher will enter a report about the incident into the Academic Integrity Tracking System. Subsequent offences will receive additional and potentially more severe consequences, which may include a mandatory meeting with the Dean or Associate Dean, an F grade in the course, or in severe cases, expulsion from their program.

Academic Values

Information in this section (including the learning check boxes) has been adapted from the e-text Academic Integrity by Ulrike Kestler (Kwantlen Polytechnic University Library)[1], which is made available by Pressbooks under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

As a post-secondary student in Canada, you are part of an academic community that is governed by a set of six shared values. These values ensure that the degree or diploma that you earn is a true representation of your hard work and dedication to your studies.

1. Honesty

Honest students respect university policies, follow the instructions of their professors and do their work on their own, without any unauthorized help. Dishonest behaviour, such as lying, cheating, fraud, theft, impersonating another person, falsification of data and the like, are morally and ethically not acceptable to a person of integrity.

Your friend asks you if you want to meet up and do an online quiz together. Somehow you feel uneasy about this. What should you do?

Click on the responses to see the answers to each.

2. Trust

If you are always honest, you will be able to build a relationship of trust both with your peers and with your instructors. Trust is established over time and is based mostly on your actions.

Charlotte has a difficult time writing her essay. She asks you if she can just have a quick look at yours to see how you went about it. As she is your friend, you want to be helpful, and give it to her before you leave for your job. Charlotte is tired and thinks to herself: “I just want to be done with this. I’m going to change a few things. That should be enough to submit it.” Why do you think Charlotte made this choice?

Click on the responses to see the answers to each.

3. Fairness

A person of integrity is fair. You are fair to your peers when you do your own work, to authors when you acknowledge their work you use by citing it, to the university when you respect and follow academic integrity standards, and to alumni when your behaviour helps to support the value of their degree.

You are a new student and are juggling to keep up with your courses while also working a part-time job. You are a bit stressed about your upcoming exam. A student who is a year ahead of you offers you a copy of the exam questions to one of your courses. What action would be acceptable?

Click on the responses to see the answers to each.

4. Respect

You show respect when you adhere to your assignment instructions, when you actively participate in learning and show interest in gaining new knowledge, when you contribute your thoughts to the academic discourse while accepting that others may disagree with you, when you credit others for their ideas, and when you show that you are putting your best efforts forward.

At the end of your class your instructor says: “Don’t forget your assignment is due next class. Remember, this is an individual assignment. You are meant to work on this alone!” You think, “Oh no, I already completed half of the assignment with Jason and Harpreet!” What should you do?

Click on the responses to see the answers to each.

5. Responsibility

You show responsible behaviour when you lead by example, when you resist negative peer pressure, and when you discourage others from violating academic integrity principles. Being responsible means being accountable to yourself and others and to do your work to the best of your abilities.

You have difficulties with your studies, especially in one of your courses. You have been stuck on your essay for a whole week already. You are afraid that you may fail the course if you can’t turn this situation around. What should you do?

Click on the responses to see the answers to each.

6. Courage

To uphold academic integrity standards requires courage to resist temptations for the “easy way out” and to speak up against wrongdoing.

You are entering the room to write your final exam. You see a sign that reads “No electronic devices permitted. Please leave them at the front. You may pick them up after you have finished the exam”. As you enter, you see your classmates put their phones in their pockets. What might you do?

Click on the responses to see the answers to each.


To learn more about how to avoid committing academic dishonesty, review this module on Academic Integrity in The Learning Portal.

Discuss the concept of academic integrity with your classmates. Is this concept understood in the same way in your culture? Do you have experience with citing and referencing information from sources, or is providing attribution a new skill for you to learn?

  1. Kestler, U. (2021). Academic integrity. KPU. https://kpu.pressbooks.pub/academicintegrity


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