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Tips for Avoiding Academic Misconduct

  1. Make sure you know the rules.
  2. Read your course syllabus.
    • Your syllabus contains essential information about course policies and expectations: due dates; submitting assignments, Turnitin.com, late penalties, emailing, acceptable collaboration, plagiarism, etc. Not reading it puts you at a disadvantage. Know the course policy on sharing and collaboration.

  3. Remind yourself of the test/exam rules and listen to all announcements.
    • Read the exam rules and check before tests and exams if you are allowed to use a calculator or notes. Don't assume that you are allowed an aid simply because a test earlier in the same course allowed it.
    • Remember that merely having an unauthorized item (including a cell phone) is an offence, even if you do not use it or it is turned off. Leave it at home, by the side of the room, or under your desk in a resealable bag.
    • Read these tips for avoiding exam offences.

  4. Learn how to properly take notes, paraphrase, and reference sources.
    • If you copy something into your notes, always immediately write the source and mark exactly what you copied by quote marks, a block quote, highlighting or changing the font colour. Do it right away—if you wait, you may forget what source you used, or what parts are your own notes and what parts you need to turn into quotations.
    • Remember that a paraphrase must be a rephrasing or a rewriting of the source text in your own voice. You must do more than just change a few words in a paragraph of copied text. Help on how to paraphrase is available.
    • If you use the words of another person, a citation (i.e. saying where the words came from) isn’t enough: you must also place the words in quotation marks or in a block quote. Help on how to quote is available.
    • Don’t try and hide weak internet research (e.g., Wikipedia) by providing a false reference to an academic journal or book.
    • Only list sources that you have actually read in your bibliography.
    • For more information, consult the University’s writing website, including the invaluable How Not to Plagiarize document.

  5. Protect your own hard work—don’t share it with other students.
    • Helping your friends or classmates by discussing ideas or showing them how to work through a problem is part of the university experience. But if you provide them with a copy of your work, and they then copy all or part of your work, you also could be in trouble for assisting them to commit an offence.
    • In tests and exams, keep your work safe from wandering eyes.
    • Always lock your computer when you are away from it.

  6. Plan ahead for challenges that will come.
    • Know that you will experience hard times, and how you respond to them is important.
    • Remember that you always have choices: ask for an extension, hand in a paper late, or don’t submit it at all, rather than commit an academic offence.
    • Pay attention to your habits so you can learn how to manage your time and manage stress.
    • Learn to rely on yourself and trust the skills you are building at the University.

  7. Use the free resources available to you on campus. The University is here to help you with your goals.
    • Establish a relationship with your College Registrar who is there to help you. If you aren’t sure how to use footnotes, or how to paraphrase something, ask your instructor, teaching assistant, college writing centre or Academic Success Centre for help.
    • If you miss a test and don’t think you have a good reason, don’t invent one or get a fake medical note – instead, ask your College Registrar for advice.

  8. If ever in doubt – ASK!
  9. Take your University experience seriously.
    • You have earned your place here: make your time count.
    • Develop the skills you will need to excel in your chosen profession—always relying on the help of others won’t help you to you think independently or to solve problems on your own.

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