For those students who haven’t looked at their syllabus since day one, cheating is defined as receiving or giving unauthorized assistance on coursework. Plagiarism is defined as citing someone’s written or spoken work without acknowledgement (and can be easily avoided by citing texts properly).
I can’t tell students how much cheating and plagiarism bother me. When I catch students in these nefarious activities (and I inevitably catch them) it embarrasses all concerned parties, distracts me from my proper role as teacher and forces me to act like a prosecuting attorney, insults my intelligence, makes me think less of my students, and has grave consequences for the students found guilty of such unethical behavior. Don’t believe me? Just look at the official UDM Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Integrity:
As members of an academic community engaged in the pursuit of truth and with a special concern for values, students are expected to conform to a high standard of honesty and integrity in their academic work. The fundamental assumption under which the University operates is that work submitted by a student is a product of his/her own efforts.
Among the most serious academic offensives is plagiarism, submitting the style of another author or source without acknowledgment or formal documentation. Plagiarism occurs when specific phrases or entire passages, whether a sentence, paragraph or longer excerpt, are incorporated into one’s own writing without quotation marks or documentation. One also plagiarizes by paraphrasing the work of another, that is, retaining another writer’s ideas and structure without documentation.
Students are advised always to set off another writer’s exact words by quotation marks, with appropriate references. Students avoid plagiarism by concentrating on their own words and ideas and by fully crediting others’ words and ideas when they find their way into the writing. Whenever in doubt, cite the source.
Students that purchase essays from other students or agencies or who copy from one another or from prohibited sources, commit the most serious type of academic dishonesty. The consequences of plagiarism, or any act of academic dishonesty, may range from failure on an assignment or in a course to dismissal from the University.
Look, just don’t do it. Okay?
© D. R. Koukal