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Tips for Avoiding Academic Misconduct

  1. Make sure you know the rules.
  2. Read your course syllabus.
    • Instructors use the syllabus to inform you about policies on late penalties, submitting assignments, Turnitin.com, emailing, acceptable collaboration, and plagiarism. Keep it handy and refer to it throughout the year.
    • If you have a group assignment, know the course policy on sharing and collaboration.
    • Check before tests and exams if you are allowed to use a calculator or notes. Possession of an unauthorized item, including cell phones, is an offence, even if you do not use it or it is turned off.

  3. Remind yourself of the Exam Rules and listen to all announcements.
  4. Learn how to properly take notes, paraphrase, and reference sources.
    • Always indicate immediately the source of your material and use quotation marks if you copy material directly into your notes.
    • Remember that if you use the words of another person, a citation isn’t enough: you need to place the words in quotation marks.
    • Don’t try and hide weak internet research (e.g., Wikipedia) by providing a false reference to an academic journal or book.
    • Remember that a paraphrase must be a re-phrasing or a re-writing of the text in your source. You must do more than just change one or two words.
    • 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 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.

  6. Plan ahead for challenges that will come.
    • Know that you will experience hard times, and how you respond to them is important.
    • 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. 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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