Tips to Avoid Being Accused of Academic Misconduct
This webpage offers some general tips to follow and habits to develop to help protect yourself from being accused of academic misconduct. You can find additional tips on avoiding each specific different type of academic misconduct on the description pages for the academic misconduct definitions.
There are a few overarching tips for all students and situations.
- Communicate with instructors about a problem — they cannot help you if they don't know you are having difficulty.
- Don't assume you know what an instructor's answer will be — instructors understand that emergencies or life crises can happen but it is critical you contact them promptly and follow up appropriately.
- Don't wait until the last minute to do an assignment — many violations occur when a student feels desperate about a deadline but it is usually better to turn in an incomplete assignment than cheating on one.
Even as you are focused on completing an exam, it is important to be aware of your environment and how gestures and mannerisms might appear to the proctor.
- Keep your own paper covered or shielded to discourage others from looking at your paper or looking like you are helping someone to cheat
- Avoid mannerisms that might seem like an effort at looking around, like flipping long hair or stretching, twisting your upper body, or looking side to side while rotating your neck.
- If you think better gazing into space in front of you, make sure you obviously either raise your eyes above the level of the student in front of you, such as looking up at the ceiling or keep your eyes closed.
- Make sure your study materials are securely put away and not accessible from your exam seat.
- If you suspect someone is trying to cheat from your paper, let the instructor know or move your chair. If there is another place you could sit, ask to move.
Working Together and Helping Others
It is natural to want to help friends do well in their courses. However, sometimes friends can make bad decisions and your assistance can turn into a violation of complicity. You can avoid this by exercising some discretion with working with others.
- Explain how you did something, not the answers you got.
- Assist individuals who have asked for help by looking at what they have done and pointing out to them where they have made mistakes (not by showing them your results).
- Never provide anyone with an electronic copy of your assignment.
- Set up password protection on your laptop or files and keep the access secure.
- Do not share USB drives (or other portable memory devices)
- Pick up printouts promptly from shared printing stations
When Working as Part of an Assigned Group
Working as part of a group can present some special challenges in protecting your academic integrity.
- When intentionally sharing files back and forth use a dedicated portable member device (USB drive) with only material for this course or assignment on it so you are not sharing other assignments
- Document who was responsible for which part of the project, preferably in writing (such as email or a project outline)
- Look closely at what your team members bring back to the group
- Speak up if you have questions or suspicions about someone else's work
- If you know a group member has cheated, bring it before the entire group or the instructor before the assignment is turned in