Academic honesty is always the best policy

By Holly Salmon and Shannon Moist, Learning Centre

Academic integrity means ensuring you’re not being academically dishonest, which includes committing academic fraud, cheating, misuse or misrepresentation of sources or plagiarism.

Understanding what academic integrity looks like will make completing assignments and tests easier and your education journey much smoother. There’s no better time than the beginning of term to review your understanding of academic integrity.

“Academic integrity guarantees that I’m learning as much as I can. Without it, my education would be in jeopardy. I learn better when I research and give credit where credit is due—it also provides an opportunity for others to learn from my work as well. Additionally, maintaining honesty on my assignments and exams motivates me to study and really learn the material, which is a great skill to have to succeed in both school and in my career.”

Ariel Buxton, Douglas student and peer tutor

Know what’s expected and your own limitations

Take a moment to evaluate your own abilities honestly. Ask yourself where you are confused or nervous about your skills or knowledge when it comes to academic integrity. Do you know what’s allowed and what isn’t?

Reach out for help when you are unsure, whether it be from your instructor, a peer tutor or a librarian.

Here are a few tips:

  • Whenever you include information you found somewhere else, ask yourself if it needs to be credited. 
  • Always provide credits for images in PowerPoint presentations and provide a citation for any image you use.
  • Develop and use a scheduling and planning system for your assignments so that you schedule appropriate time to complete the work and are not rushed at the last minute. This will help you avoid mistakes and allow enough time to look for source information.

Learn how to cite your sources

The Learning Centre created a guide on how to write with sources, including paraphrasing and integrating sources into your writing. They also offer student-to-student tutoring support; book an appointment for one of the following topics to learn more:

  • Academic Integrity: Understanding and Awareness – Gain awareness of the principles and concepts behind academic integrity, plagiarism, and intellectual property
  • Using Sources in Your Writing – Learn how to paraphrase and quote effectively, without plagiarizing
  • Following Style and Formatting Guidelines – Learn how to access and follow guides and manuals in order to use APA, MLA and other citation styles to format your writing assignments.

Not every program is the same

Different programs, courses and departments may require sources being used and recognized in different ways. Use the Douglas College Library guide on how to Cite Your Sources; this guide is ultimate source on using APA, MLA and other formatting styles in your writing assignments. If watching and listening is more your style than reading, check out the Library’s citing help playlist on YouTube, which covers topics such as when to cite, how to use style guides, citation elements and more.

Still confused?

Don’t worry, we get it – it’s a lot to keep track of, and if you’re taking a variety of courses you may find yourself using several citing styles at once. Librarians are a great resource for helping you understand the whys and the hows for citing sources correctly.

All new-to-Douglas students in Winter 2021 must complete the mandatory Academic Integrity Education module available through your Blackboard account by March 12, 2021.

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