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Academic Integrity: Distance Education Students

So you are taking a distance education course, what do you need to know about academic integrity? On a research paper, how much information can you “borrow” with or without citing the original author? How do you cite the resources you “borrowed” or quoted from the original author? Will anyone know if you submit a friend’s research paper? No one can see you taking an online test from your living room – should that change how you take a test? These are just a few questions associated with the term academic integrity. The information below is provided to assist you in becoming the best distance education student you can be and to ensure that you get the most out of your studies at ECU.

What is Academic Integrity?

Academic integrity is a commitment that is built upon several values including honesty, trust, respect for others, and a responsibility for your actions. Academic integrity is an essential part of your educational success. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, integrity is “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” Integrity is an important quality in all aspects of life and you will have many opportunities to exercise integrity throughout your coursework here at ECU, your future career and beyond.

Why is Academic Integrity important?

The academic community at ECU thrives when its members are dedicated to exercising academic integrity. Exercising integrity means that you understand the importance of submitting your work as an ECU student.

For almost 100 years East Carolina University has provided quality education. As a distance education student, you are responsible for assisting ECU in continuing this tradition. Distance education students are held to the same standards as students that come to campus. As our (ECU) community of distance learners has grown, so has the concern for academic integrity in the distance education environment where there is a separation of time and distance between the instructor and student.

What does Academic Integrity mean to You?

Throughout your studies as a distance education student at ECU you will be required to complete assignments, projects, research papers, online tests, and more. The information below will help you understand how and when to cite sources.

  • What sources should you cite? Typically when conducting research you will consult books, journal articles, web sites and other sources. So when you begin writing your paper, assignment, or project it is important that you cite all of your sources. If you incorporate someone else’s ideas or words, you should cite them. Citing your resources gives credit to the owner of the original works and will guide your readers to the full text documents referenced.
  • How do you cite sources? There are many different citation styles; generally your instructor will tell you what citation style to use. Joyner Library provides links to citation style guides, examples of how to cite various types of materials, and online citation generators in the Style Manuals / Citation Guides section of the Virtual Reference Desk. One of the best citation generators is the KnightCite Citation Service. Choose a resource type, complete a brief online form with the citation information and the Citation Service will create the citation. You can then copy and paste the citation into your document.
  • What is Plagiarism and how can you avoid it? The ECU Student Handbook defines plagiarism as "copying the language, structure, ideas, and/or thoughts of another and passing same as one’s original work." The “How Do I Avoid Plagiarism” web page on the Joyner Library web site offers tips on how to avoid plagiarism. These include placing quotation marks around direct quotes, paraphrasing your source information, and always citing your sources. Work through one of the plagiarism tutorials listed on the “How Do I Avoid Plagiarism” page to make sure you understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

What Resources does ECU Provide to promote Academic Integrity?

As an ECU student there are many resources available to assist you with your studies and help you exercise Academic Integrity.

What is considered a violation of Academic Integrity at ECU?

The ECU Student Handbook contains important information on Academic Integrity and what you need to know about possible violations. Here are the Academic Integrity Violations at ECU according to the Principles of Academic Integrity in your Student Handbook.

Academically violating the Honor Code consists of the following:

  • Cheating. The actual giving or receiving of any unauthorized aid or assistance or the giving or receiving of any unfair advantage on any form of any academic work Unauthorized aid or assistance or the giving or receiving of unfair advantage on any form of academic work.
  • Plagiarism. Copying the language, structure, ideas, and/or thoughts of another and passing (adopting) same as one’s own original work.
  • Falsification. Statement of any untruth, either verbally or in writing (either spoken or written), regarding any circumstances relative to academic work.
  • Attempts. Action toward the commission of any act that would constitute an academic violation as defined herein(that is, cheating, plagiarism, and/or falsification) shall be deemed to be a violation of the Honor Code and maybe punishable to the same extent as if the attempted act had been completed or consummated (Attempting any act that if completed would constitute an academic integrity violation as defined herein)

Distance Education Student Pledge

The following pledge will help you exercise academic integrity as a distance education student and avoid possible violations.

  1. I will not divulge my username or password in order that a student/person could be represented as me during an online exam or course assignment.
  2. I will not refer to my textbook while taking an online exam, unless permitted by my instructor.
  3. I will not divulge the content of an online exam or access another student’s coursework in order to complete assignments or exams.
  4. I will not copy and/or provide another student with test questions accessed during an exam.
  5. I will not copy any material without properly footnoting or citing according to my instructor’s citation preference (for example, APA or MLA).
  6. I will not provide answers to another student during an exam, such as using an online communication tool to send/receive answers.
  7. I will not take an exam for another student.
  8. I will not purchase any academic paper and submit it as my work.
As a member of the ECU student community, please remember to trust your instincts and exercise academic integrity during your coursework at ECU. The faculty and staff want to ensure that your experience at ECU is rewarding and beneficial to your future endeavors.