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 CHEATING. 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 anyone.... Please check out the file at this URL: It contains a lot of information about what is regarded at York as academic dishonesty. 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 grades. Another is allowing someone else to copy one's work or answers for grades. 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 above URL. 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 to oneself, 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