Academic institutions everywhere value academic integrity above all. Policies for maintaining academic integrity at UPOU are based on the UP Code⇗ and on the UP System's Acceptable Use Policy for IT services⇗. Familiarize yourself with these guidelines because ignorance of them will neither excuse you nor exempt you from penalties if you commit an act of academic dishonesty and misconduct.
One important component of academic integrity is intellectual honesty. Coursera.org's Honor Code⇗ captures the essence of intellectual honesty well. It is comprised of four statements, three of which are student pledges crucial to learning at UPOU (or any academic institution, for that matter):
Three important student pledges from Coursera.org's Honor Code:
- My answers to homework, quizzes and exams will be my own work (except for assignments that explicitly permit collaboration).
I will not make solutions to homework, quizzes or exams available to anyone else. This includes both solutions written by me, as well as any official solutions provided by the course staff.
- I will not engage in any other activities that will dishonestly improve my results or dishonestly improve/hurt the results of others.
Of these three statements, you might run into most trouble with the first one for your courses at UPOU. What does it mean for your work to be your own, and how do you ethically use the work of other people for your own work? How you can avoid plagiarizing the work of others?
- Say it in your own words. In the university setting, what your instructors want to see from you is a demonstration not only that you have done the assigned work, but that you can understand the ideas and apply them in new situations. This means, for example, that if your instructor asks you a question and you find an answer to that question from a source like a book or a website, it is not enough to supply your instructor the answer taken straight from the source, word for word (or "verbatim", as this practice is called). You have to demonstrate that you understand the answer by doing one or more of the following:
- Providing examples.
- Giving details not originally given by the source
- Finding flaws in the answer provided by the source
- Comparing and contrasting the the answer provided by the source with answers provided in other sources
- Cite your sources. In addition, you must acknowledge your sources. By doing so, you honor the hard work that the author of your source has done. If you don't, then you will be considered to have stolen someone else's knowledge.
Read more about and test your understanding of plagiarism
Plagiarism of computer code
While rules for appropriately citing sources and creating original text are well established in conventional writing, they are difficult to apply when you are writing specialized text such as computer code. Nevertheless, you can most definitely steal code. Specifically, you can steal the fundamental logic used by someone to answer a programming/scripting/layout/mark-up problem.
Avoiding code plagiarismLearn how to avoid code plagiarism by reading an archived version of the University of Pennsylvania's guide to code plagiarism⇗.
Sometimes, it is necessary to copy someone else's code, scripts, or markup in order to begin a project. To avoid plagiarizing content, consider the following guidelines:
- If you are using someone's code/markup, make sure that the author has not put any restrictions on the reuse of their work.
- If reusing someone else's code/markup, be sure to clearly indicate where the original source is taken, and clearly indicate which changes are yours.
- Making minor changes to the code that preserves the original function or logic of the code still counts as plagiarism.
- Example: Making a few cosmetic changes to a CSS file (e.g., changing the font-size of the text or the color of a <div>, <span>, or <p> element) is not enough for you to claim that the content is yours.
If you've read all the content and completed both activities in this article, congratulations! You are now in a much better position to uphold intellectual integrity in the academic environment, demonstrate your understanding of ideas, and honor the work of other students, scholars, artists, designers, and programmers.