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‘Tis the season: tips for integrity

I found this post via Diane Cordell’s tweet on Twitter this weekend.

The popular blog Lifehacks, recently presented Advice for Students: How NOT to Plagiarize.  Contributing editor, anthropology and women’s studies Professor Dustin M. Wax, lists ten very practical tips for college students that might speak well to our high school students who may be tempted to cut a few ethical corners this time of year as  academic deadlines and the holidays converge.  The tips are all based on incidents he has caught and failed a student for.  I suspect we’ve all seen most of them, but those that resonate loudest with me are:

  • Don’t copy entries from Wikipedia.
  • Don’t cobble together the free excerpts from several different “free essay” sites. 
  • Don’t paste formatted text into your papers.
  • Don’t hand in first-person accounts written by people who are radically different from who you are!
  • Don’t use writing that is much better than your own.

I am looking forward to sharing this college professor’s voice with our upperclassmen. 

And when I do, I will also share my spin:

  • We generally give you choices when you engage in a project.  Choose wisely and try to enjoy your explorations.  If you are unhappy with a project, or a project’s format, discuss options with us.
  • The golden rule applies here.  You wouldn’t want others to claim your work as their own. Don’t take the work of others who choose to invest time and effort in creating.
  • It isn’t hard to summarize, paraphrase, quote and ethically use the works of others.  It isn’t hard to find copyright-friendly material to post, broadcast or publish.  Ask us how.
  • We want to know when you are in trouble way before things get out of hand. We can help you manage your time. If you let us know in time, we can provide the support you need to navigate any big project.
  • Integrity matters in our community.  When you cheat intentionally, you lose the respect of people who care about you and want to see you succeed.  You may also lose the respect of your peers. We set in place a policy to define all of our responsibilities in creating a culture based on integrity.
  • We want to hear YOUR voice.  You have something to say.  Tell us what you think.  Tell us how YOU built knowledge based on what YOU learned.
Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


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