Academic Honesty / Dishonesty
It has happened too many times to me over the years that students in
my courses engage in various forms of the disgusting practice called
It is also called academic dishonesty.
Only a small proportion of all students do dishonest things in
courses, but when one does, it is a TON of paperwork to deal with
it. It takes MOUNTAINS of time to deal with even just one dishonest
act by one student, and is about the most unpleasant kind of
time-wasting I know of in my job.
So: Don't be one of these few students who do dishonest things in a
course of mine. You WILL regret it if you are one of them; I
guarantee this. I have helped throw students out of university
and get Fs, with notations of academic dishonesty on their York
transcripts, in several cases over the years. It is not fun for
Please check out the file at this URL:
It contains a lot of information about what is regarded at York as
Academic dishonesty can take many forms.
One is hiring someone to impersonate one at an exam or class test.
(This does not work in a small class with an alert instructor.)
Another is agreeing to be hired this way, or just agreeing to
impersonate someone as a favour.
Another is copying someone else's homework or test answers for
Another is allowing someone else to copy one's work or answers
Another is using someone else's ideas in an
assignment without clearly stating in the assignment that you have
used those ideas and identifying the source of them. If you submit
work for grades, and do not acknowledge help from others or ideas of
others, the assumption is that all the work and ideas are yours. But
if you have used such help or ideas in this situation, then you are
guilty of "plagiarism", a serious act of academic dishonesty, with
penalties which can range from 0 on the assignment or test, or a
reduced grade on it, to failure in the course, depending on how
serious the plagiarism is and how large the piece of work is.
To understand all such matters better, read the information at the
Read through the "on-line tutorial" on academic integrity at the
above URL, and, once you have finished it, take the quiz.
I took the quiz myself recently and got one answer out of 20 wrong.
(It was the one that asks whether it is all right to submit work
when it is part of a group submission of work, and not mention that
some idea in what you submit came from someone else. I will talk
more about this below, or soon, in another file to be posted here.)
Check your answers and take the quiz more than once, if necessary,
changing your wrong answers until you get 20 out of 20.
When I assign a piece of work, it is assumed that you will use your
brain to do the work, not someone's ideas off the Internet. Not
some solutions or ideas you find by scurrying around looking for
helpful things on the Internet.
If you try to do an assignment but cannot get anywhere with it or
get very far with it, and feel that you HAVE to run to the Internet,
well, I guess you can do so. But ANY ideas you get from stuff on
the Internet must be specifically acknowledged in whatever you
hand in. And of course someone, who is able to do an assignment
WITHOUT getting help from sources I would prefer that people not
use, deserves a higher mark than someone who runs for help.
I taught MATH 3020 three years ago and for some reason was so naive
as to think that my students were just being honest and doing the
problems themselves. This is what I did, as a student. I assumed
people would ask me if they needed help.
Then at some point about 2/3 of the way through the year I
got assignments submitted by two or three students with some
solutions that looked very much the same and somewhat silly.
Suddenly the English was much better than what the students
had been writing for months, too.... I soon found that all of them
came from a certain Webpage. The students did not say anything
about using other people's ideas.
This is DISHONEST. I prosecute all cases of dishonesty
I come across. Doing this is a LOT of paper work. It is
not fun for me or for the student, or for the other people at York
who have to follow all the paperwork. There are meetings with
me and with other faculty members. The student is accused formally
of certain offenses, and a proceeding a little like a courtroom
trial takes place. It is especially bad when a student who is
accused decides that the "smart" thing to do is to deny everything.
This basically never works (unless the student is innocent, of
course -- but 95-100% of the students I have accused have not been
innocent), and just means that everyone dealing with the student
gets even angrier and more disgusted at the stupidity and ugliness
of the whole thing -- the ugliness of the idiotic lying piled on top
of the original dishonesty.
Cheating -- quite apart from any punishment it incurs -- is disrespect
one's instructor, and
one's fellow students.
It is a thoroughly abhorrent practice.
Being dishonest in general -- misrepresenting work not one's own as
one's own, or helping someone else do this, or failing to mention
the true source of an idea -- and of course copying or allowing
one's work to be copied, or impersonating someone or being impersonated
by someone at a test or exam -- my assumption is that people will NOT
do these things in a course of mine.
Don't be one of the few who do.
I will post here before too long a file on Study Groups.
I allow and even encourage the formation of study groups, groups
of up to four students who work together on course material generally
if they want -- who help one another to understand it in general
-- and who can make group submissions of assignments if they choose
to do that. Working together is ok; it is not academic dishonesty,
if the members of the group do it honestly and responsibly.
More on this soon. -- Ganong