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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Academic Integrity is still important



 Academic integrity is about being honest and truthful concerning all of a student’s academic affairs. It especially refers to a student completing all their assigned work and assignments by themselves, without cheating, or having someone else do their work for them. It also covers plagiarism or copying someone else’s material without properly citing or quoting the author. 

It is extremely important for a student to maintain high levels of academic integrity throughout their academic experience at a university or college. A student’s credibility is at stake and there are serious consequences that could be detrimental to the student’s academic and professional careers. The consequences of violating academic integrity range from failing a course, dismissal from a university, monetary fines and other legal penalties.

In today’s world of available technology, it is easy to copy and paste large volumes of data to complete an assignment or paper. People in today’s society yearn for things that are quick and easy. The work ethic has declined over the years and this has had an impact in the university settings. Colleges and universities have had to take measures to enforce strict academic integrity policies to deter students from being tempted to simply take credit for other people’s work (Blum, 2009).

Recent studies have found that more students violate academic integrity to some degree, than previously thought. Some think that the added academic challenge in today’s universities have made students more competitive and the need to do well is much higher. Students who struggle to pass courses have been expected to be the ones who chose a less than honest path to complete their work. Now, new information has revealed that successful students may feel compelled to violate their academic integrity, just to stay ahead (Bratek, 2012).

Most academic institutions now offer online degree programs. Academic integrity still applies in the online world. Some students think that they can get away with violations of academic integrity because of the online format. Also many classes have open book and take home exams, with a set of rules or guidelines for completion. Academic integrity policies have been created to cover these modern educational circumstances. However, even with academic integrity policies clearly in place, students still try to beat the system. Harvard University recently investigated over one hundred students, who may have violated academic integrity policies during an exam. These students, if found to be at fault, will face severe penalties, including dismissal from the university and possible legal action (Robbins, 2012).

The bottom line is that each student is responsible for his or her own work and is accountable for that work. There is no need to violate academic integrity policies of any institution. I believe that ethics, moral character and integrity need to be taught and reinforced by academic institutions. If a person cannot be an honest student, what type of professional will they be in their career field?

References:

Blum, S. (2009). Academic Integrity and Student Plagiarism: a Question of Education, Not Ethics. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Academic-IntegrityStud/32323/ 
Bratek, E. (2012). Moving From Cheating to Academic Honesty. Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/17/08bratek.h32.html 

Robbins, R. (2012). Harvard Investigates "Unprecedented" Academic Dishonesty Case. The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved from http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/8/30/academic-dishonesty-ad-board/

Eric Dempsey
MS, ISSA Master Trainer
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