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What Is Considered Academic Misconduct?

Academic misconduct includes but is not limited to:

  • Academic dishonesty
  • Misrepresentation of personal performance
  • Copying from or using prohibited material
  • Improper academic practices

Do you think it’s appropriate?

  • For a classmate to copy parts of your assignment and then submit the work as their own?
  • That while writing an exam the student behind you looks at your answers to answer the questions on their own paper?
  • To take an old assignment you submit for a course on the previous semester and re-submit it as a new assignment for a different course you are taking this semester?
  • To bring notes into an exam to help you answer the difficult question?

All four of the situations are inappropriate in a Canadian classroom. Your instructors at Humber would consider these as forms of academic misconduct.

Read the following definition and decide if the following examples can be considered plagiarism or not.

Humber’s definition of plagiarism is:

Plagiarism, in the broadest sense, is misrepresenting the work of others as one’s own. Plagiarism can be understood as the act of copying, reproducing or paraphrasing significant portions of someone else’s published or unpublished material, and representing these as one’s own thinking by not acknowledging the appropriate source or by the failure to use appropriate quotation marks. (Humber College, 2010, p. 26)

Examples of Plagiarism

  • I purchased an essay online, because I paid for it; I own it and can submit it as my work?
  • Back home in my University we were allowed to copy and paste information found from different sources into our work. The professor allowed it because the way it was written was better than the way I could write it. If I was allowed to do it there, than I can do it here.
  • I found similar information from a website, journal article and from a book, so I rearranged the information and combined the sentences to make it read differently.
  • I summarized a paragraph from an article in my words and used that in my report
  • The internet is considered a public domain. I can use any information, pictures or statistics I find and include it in my work?
  • My brother gave me his assignment, and since I have his permission to use it, I can include i in my assignment.  

Anything and everything that is not yours such as:

Ideas, spoken words, sentences, facts, figures, graphs, statistics, videos, pictures, images, photos, music, etc.

That you found from sources like:

Books, articles, magazines, journals, websites, interviews and videos must be properly cited and referenced in your work.

Idea from - (Salem-Wiseman, 2010)

Check out "Keeping It Real" to help you cite and reference ideas, words, facts and figures, etc, that are not yours.

What is Cheating?

"Cheating is using unauthorized notes, study aids, or information during an examination; altering a graded work after it has been returned, then submitting the work for regrading; allowing another person to do one's work and submitting that work under one's own name; submitting identical or similar papers for credit in more than one course without prior permission from the course instructors." 

Humber, Centre for Teaching and Learning. (n.d). Cheating. Retrieved from Resources/06 Cheating-B.pdf

In your home country it may be acceptable to share information and ideas. In Canada it is only acceptable to share information when an instructor has instructed you to do so as part of the learning process. Instead, students are expected to express their own ideas without the assistance of friends or classmates.

How Cheating is Detected

Cheating is often detected because:

  • Professors will remember similarities between assignments when marking.
  • Sometimes a simple sentence or phrase may catch their attention and they can then easily search the internet for its original source.
  • Many instructors will now have you submit your written assignments on, an internet-based software program that detects unoriginal content in your work. The program searches a database of stored student essays as well as a database that contains information from books, newspapers, journals and information found on the internet and compares it to your written work.
  • During mid-terms and exams many instructors will have additional proctors to help them supervise the test and to look out for things like: cell phone use, talking, wandering eyes, cheat sheets etc.

When it is Appropriate to Share Information?

  • When the instructor allows the class to complete and submit a project as a group. In this situation the sharing of ideas and written work is a requirement. One assignment is submitted, with all group members sharing in the grade.
  • The instructor may encourage you to borrow a classmate’s notes from a lecture that you missed.
  • Discussions with other classmates about the material discussed in class, textbook readings and questions about course content is strongly encouraged because it allows students to learn from one another.

When it is Inappropriate to Share Information?

  • During tests and exams.
  • When assignments are to be completed and submitted individually. Students are not permitted to discuss or share information about the assignment including: ideas to the copying of written content.

Adapted from: Eland, A., Smithee, N., & Greenblatt, S.L. (2009). U.S. Classroom Culture. Washington: NAPSA: Association of International Educators.

How To Keep Your Work Honest


When you use another author’s work in your academic assignments you must refer to your source by providing the last name of the author and the year of publication directly after the quote or information.

Why Do I Have To Cite Sources?

Citing is important because it gives credit to the authors of books, articles and websites that you use to write your paper. It also gives your assignment credibility and it proves that you have done your research. If you don't give credit – you are plagiarising or stealing somebody else's ideas and words.