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Mohawk College academic integrity office

Academic Integrity for Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Find what you need in our searchable FAQs.

What are the consequences for me if I breach academic integrity?

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If you breach academic integrity, you will be asked to complete remediation, an opportunity to learn from your mistake. Depending on the severity of the breach, you may also face formal sanction in the form of a course or even program-level penalty. Repeat instances typically result in more significant sanctions, even for different types of breaches.

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Copying from web sources okay if you change the words?

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Copying, using someone else’s words, or even paraphrasing (changing the words but keeping the same meaning) without attribution is considered plagiarism. While citation styles may be different depending on your program, any source MUST be cited both within the document where you use the information AND at the end with a bibliography or references page. Using sources without attribution is plagiarism even if the assignment does not require research or external sources. Using citations frequently makes your work stronger!

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What if I didn’t know I was doing something wrong? Does intention matter?

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A breach of academic integrity is still a breach even if you didn’t mean to do anything wrong or did so by accident. If your conduct or submitted work has breached academic integrity, it is treated as a breach regardless of intent. All Mohawk College students are expected to understand and maintain behaviours consistent with academic integrity at all times.

The best thing to do is to commit to building the skills and knowledge so that you do not find yourself in a situation where you have unintentionally breached academic integrity. You can build these skills through the resources listed on the Student Academic Integrity Guide, visiting the Library@Mycanvas course, and speaking directly with your faculty.

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Will others find out if I have breached academic integrity? Will a record appear on my transcript?

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Student records relating to breaches of academic integrity are considered confidential and are not typically shared with others. They will not appear on your transcript. However, Mohawk College does retain detailed records which are shared confidentially with specific members of the academic delivery team, such as academic managers, program support staff, and specific faculty when concerns arise relating to suspected breaches.

Moreover, some programs and professions have an integrity component to qualifying exams or other eligibility factors. Speak to your professor, program coordinator, or academic manager if you have questions about academic integrity records or professional obligations.

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Can I work with other students to complete coursework and assignments?

230 views   |   0 Vote this question as useful.   0 Vote this question as not useful.   |   Last updated on Aug 25, 2022   

Typically, your are expected to complete all academic activities by yourself unless your professor has explicitly said otherwise. So if you work with others to complete this work, or even share completed work with other students even after you completed this work yourself, your professor or program team might consider your actions to have breached academic integrity. The best strategy is to ask your professor what is acceptable. The very best strategy is to be open and honest any time you have collaborated to complete your academic work.

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If I am wrongly accused of breaching academic integrity, can I appeal?

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Yes. You have the right to appeal if you are accused of breaching of academic integrity. Specifically, you can appeal the decision or the sanction, but note that you cannot appeal referrals for remediation. Successful appeals typically have strong grounds, meaning that students are able to bring forward clear evidence that shows no wrongdoing occurred, or can otherwise demonstrate that the decision was faulty or the policy was applied incorrectly.

Note that appeals of breaches of academic integrity have a specific process starting with the Level 1 – Informal Appeal. Review the Academic Integrity Policy’s Appendix E – Academic Integrity Student Appeal Procedure for the details of steps you must take to initiate an appeal.

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Is it still plagiarism if I only copy one or two sentences?

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When it comes to plagiarism, the amount of copied text does not make a difference. Even a single copied or paraphrased sentence is likely an instance of plagiarism if missing a citation.

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What should I do if someone says that I breached academic integrity?

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As a student, you have a right to respond to any allegations or suggestions of wrongdoing. The best approach is to seek to understand why you are being accused of breaching academic integrity – in which circumstance, with what course, and relating to which assessment or evaluation? Consider bringing any materials which may help you – this may be prior assessment drafts, notes, learning materials, or other related materials which can help clarify any doubts.

You may have breached academic integrity accidentally or unintentionally, which means you will still be responsible for the consequences of doing so. Listen carefully to the individual discussing their concerns with you and commit to maintaining academic integrity at all times. You do have the right to appeal which you may consider using if you did not breach academic integrity.

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What happens if this isn’t my first time being accused of breaching academic integrity?

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Each repeated breach of academic integrity results in progressive sanctions, up to and including expulsion from Mohawk College. To avoid increasingly severe consequences, commit to maintaining academic integrity at all times. 
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Plenty of online resources are offering to help tutor or even do my school work for me. Does using these resources breach academic integrity?

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The impulse to get help with school work that is particularly difficult is a good one. At different points, many students may find ideas, concepts, skills, or practices to be challenging. Part of your learning involves understanding when and how to seek out help and where to turn. A great number of services at Mohawk College are designed to help you succeed. This starts with your program teams: professors, academic managers, and staff. The College also has support areas which can help you specific skills like academic writing.

These official supports are authentic resources. Using authentic resources is not a breach of academic integrity.  But you may also find information about course content or topics online on places like Discord, Reddit, other social media channels, or even through dedicated advertisements and websites. But be very careful – most of these are inauthentic supports that might mislead you, charge you fees, or even threaten or exploit you. For these reasons, accessing inauthentic resources can be dangerous. If you need help identifying whether a resource is authentic or inauthentic, consider speaking to your professors or reach out to the Academic Integrity Office.

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If I start a new program, do old records of my previous breaches of academic integrity carry over?

205 views   |   0 Vote this question as useful.   0 Vote this question as not useful.   |   Last updated on Sep 08, 2022    breaches

The College keeps any records of a student’s breaches and sanctions. If you choose to drop a course or program, you will still be subject to any actions or sanctions related to the breach. Any breaches which take place in one program will count towards any future sanctions in another program. Sanctions may also be applied retroactively if new information related to breaches of academic integrity is discovered. To avoid increasingly severe consequences, commit to maintaining academic integrity at all times.

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If I do something that’s not listed on the learning plan or mentioned by my professor as not allowed/prohibited, can I still be accused of breaching academic integrity?

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Yes, you may still be accused of breaching academic integrity. For practical reasons, your professor might not be able to specify every type of act that could breach of academic integrity in your course or program. Part of your responsibilities as a student are to learn how to maintain academic integrity and act in a manner consistent with the six values. The best practice is to check with your professor or program team if you are unsure of whether an act might breach academic integrity.

At Mohawk College, you can  learn about your responsibilities and which actions maintain and breach academic integrity through the Academic Integrity Guide for Students, the Library@MyCanvas course or by emailing academic.integrity@mohawkcollege.ca.

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