Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity and You

All UBC students are expected to behave as honest and responsible members of an academic community (Okanagan Academic Calendar 2020/2021)

UBC and the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies take Academic Integrity very seriously – in fact, it is what all members of UBC’s community, from first-year undergraduates to publishing professors, aspire to when they do research. Academic Integrity is the foundation of what makes your education one of the finest in the world.

It has come to our attention that a small number of students have attempted to exploit the current online learning situation in dishonest ways. These students have engaged in a variety of unethical behaviours, including working together on independent assignments/quizzes/tests, and using tutors and tutoring websites to complete their work.

UBCO Academic Integrity

Would you know an academic integrity violation or cheating if you saw it? It is not always the old-fashioned example of looking at another student’s test or copying their paper; in this online world, cheating can happen in many forms, as outlined in the Academic Honesty and Standards and Academic Misconduct policies in the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar. Please read the following carefully to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

What is cheating?

Cheating includes, but is not limited to:​

    • Posting or viewing exam questions on “homework help” websites in an effort to receive assistance.
    • Submitting the same, or substantially the same, assignment more than once for credit (unless approved by the instructor).
    • Purchasing an essay or assignment from an agency or individual that sells such materials for profit.
    • Submitting an essay or exam with which one has collaborated or received help from a tutor, classmate, or a friend in the writing or revision process so that it no longer reflects one’s own capabilities; this implicates both of you in academic misconduct.
    • Use or possession in an examination of any materials (including devices or visiting external websites) other than those permitted by the examiner.
    • “Copying & pasting” sentences or phrases or key words from books or articles, online or hard copy, without placing them in quotation marks or block quote format and citing the source in the body of your essay and on a references page.
    • Summarizing, paraphrasing, or using ideas found in secondary sources without citing the source in the body of one’s essay and on one’s reference page.
    • Falsifying or submitting false documents, transcripts, or other academic credentials.
    • Impersonating a student to write or submit an assignment/exam.
    • In visual or digital contexts, failing to credit the work of others verbally and in writing through citations for research material, influences, and any pre-existing imagery used to generate assignments.
    • Using online tools such as “text spinners” or translation programs to assist with research writing.
    • Other actions as listed in the University’s Academic Misconduct.

Whether you’re taking a final exam in a gymnasium with 100 people or you’re behind your laptop in your bedroom, the rules for ethical behaviour during exams don’t change.

You can face tough consequences if you violate any of the rules listed in the Student Conduct during Examinations policy.

I cheated, so what?

The consequences for cheating and unethical behaviour are significant and wide-ranging. Ultimately, cheating and academic dishonesty can derail your academic and career ambitions, including getting into a post-baccalaureate professional program, or a graduate program, or receiving your UBC degree.

Academic misconduct can result in a one-year suspension from the University, a notation of academic discipline on your record and a grade of zero for the course in which the academic misconduct occurred. However, disciplinary measures which may be imposed, singly or in combination, for academic misconduct include, but are not limited to the following:

  • A letter of reprimand;
  • Revocation of a degree dishonestly or improperly obtained;
  • A notation of academic discipline on the student’s Transcript of Academic Record;
  • Denial of admission or re-admission to the University for a specified or indefinite period of time;
  • Expulsion from the University;
  • Suspension from the University for a specified period of time;
  • Suspension, cancellation, or forfeiture of any scholarships, bursaries or prizes
  • A failing grade or mark of zero on the assignment or in the course in which the academic misconduct occurred.

How to maintain Academic Integrity

Maintaining academic honesty is the easiest way to succeed at UBC and is at the crux of what you came here to do – learn. Do not share your work with classmates or help each other take tests. Do not be tempted by websites that promise you solutions to your assignments – there are examples where these sites have provided user information to UBC. Do not participate in a study group that demonstrates unethical behaviours, such as obtaining exam answers, collaborative test taking, creating a common set of notes or script among group members or copying assignments (among others).

Do use the resources provided by your instructor, like office hours, and do form study groups with classmates to help each other learn the course material before the exams while maintaining academic integrity. If you have read this article you should be well-informed about academic integrity, but if you are still not sure about what is right or wrong, ask your instructor and take part in Academic Integrity Matters (AIM) offered through the Student Learning Hub.

How UBC is tracking people who cheat

The Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies is committed to identifying all cases of academic misconduct and will take the necessary disciplinary action as appropriate. We are currently using all of the means at our disposal, including a variety of software tools to identify cases of plagiarism, cheating “contract essay writing” and “contract test taking.”

If you have any questions or concerns about academic misconduct, please let us know by emailing fccs.ubco@ubc.ca.