Academic misconduct

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There has been an increase in academic misconduct in the recent years according to the various research studies conducted in the area of education. Consequently, this issue has become a great matter of concern for the faculty, educationists, as well as, the society. The various policies and procedures that are used for decreasing the chances of academic misconduct are not consistently followed.

It is highly essential that the negative consequences of this issue must be understood and effective measures must be taken for uprooting the problem. Academic misconduct can also be termed as academic dishonesty and refers to any type of unethical behaviors that the students engage in for the purpose of completing their academic work. Such works provide the students with an unearned advantage over others.

The prevalence of academic dishonesty can be attributed to the different student characteristics, attitudes and behaviors of the faculty and the institutional environments and cultures. There is a high level of relationship between the academic dishonesty and the student characteristics, like age, level of academic achievement, gender and involvement in extracurricular activities.

As a result, it has been identified that the younger students are more prone to cheating as compared to the older students; female students cheat less than the male students and the students taking part in the extracurricular activities more than others cheat more. The attitudes and behaviors of the faculty play a vital role in the field of academic dishonesty.

When the importance of academic integrity is not communicated to the students by the faculty, and when any kind of dishonesty is overlooked by them, a climate of moral cynicism fosters in the campus. The institutional ambience can also affect the prevalence of academic dishonesty significantly. In larger institutions, the students feel much liberated and thereby, get a chance of involving in such dishonest means related to their academic field. Academic dishonesty has been identified in different forms like collusion, plagiarism and cheating (Hughes, 2002).

Whenever there is an unauthorized collaboration with any other person for the preparation of academic assignments that are offered for credit, it is termed as collusion. Examples of collusion can be when one student allows the other student to write his papers or he allows the other student to edit and modify his paper in any way. Collusion can also be referred to a piece of work done by the combination of two or more people, but passed off as the sole work of any one person.

Plagiarism can be defined as a form of academic theft as it involves the undue use of someone else's ideas and words. It is an act that involves taking other's work and passing it as one's own work through the use of paraphrasing and direct quotations that was used in the other's work. Plagiarism is considered to be an offence, whether it has been committed intentionally or unintentionally.  Therefore, efforts must be made to avoid it, so that there may be no academic misconduct. 

Cheating is also a form of misconduct, which refers to the unfair advantage gained by a candidate through dishonest means in an assessment. It is considered to be a serious misconduct and attracts the most severe punishments. Examples of cheating include bringing of answer chits in the examination hall and copying down from it, looking into the other student's copy during the examination time, etc. (Read Write Pass).

Appropriate writing skills and effective study skills have a great connectivity with the academic misconduct. They are helpful in limiting the potential for such grave offences in the field of education. Good writing and study skills can be fostered only in a climate of academic integrity. It must be the endeavor of the faculty and the institutions as a whole, to develop and maintain an atmosphere where the students receive proper guidance for their works.

They should frame clear policies and procedures regarding academic integrity and a regular assessment should be done to check their effectiveness. Students must be provided education about the various forms of misconduct and the penalties for them. The faculty must strive to create a supportive and caring classroom environment, which will be useful in minimizing the chances of academic misconduct.

The importance of academic integrity must be taught to them, as well as, attempts must be made to cultivate love for learning. They must be encouraged to develop and initiate their own ideas, so that the cases of plagiarism and collusion can be avoided to a great extent. Measures need to be taken to develop the writing capabilities of the students for dealing with the different types of misconduct. In the absence of good skills for writing, students try to copy the works of others.

A discussion with the students must be made before assigning any kind of work to them and the expected writing styles must be taught to them. The entire paper writing process should be discussed with the students with an explanation of how they can effectively express their ideas. The students can be asked to present a rough draft before they proceed with their final paper, so that their drawbacks can be identified and the final paper can be composed successfully (Academic Misconduct, 2009).

Therefore, when one knows the way of writing properly, the possible chances of misconduct in the field of academics is very less. When long assignments are to be completed, it is not possible to finish them without taking guidance and ideas from the works of others. This is the place where good skills in writing and the knowledge regarding plagiarism and other forms of misconduct are required.

Students must have the knowledge to take the efficient and useful notes from other's work into their own work, in their own words. Considerable knowledge is required regarding active and passive note taking and the importance of the usage of quotation marks, as well as, bibliographic information. Before writing an essay, a write-up plan for the same must be prepared.

While taking the notes, there must be proper headings for each of the topics that are explained in it. Also they should be classified in paragraphs to convey a clear meaning and the use of punctuations and grammar must be given the topmost priority. If all these areas are given due attention, there is no doubt that the chances of potential academic misconduct can be reduced and academic integrity can be incorporated in the institutions (Tackling Academic Misconduct).

References

Academic Misconduct. (2009). Retrieved October 25, 2009, from http://gsi-demo.berkeley.edu/teachingguide2009/academic-misconduct/introduction.html.

Hughes, J.C. et al (2002). Understanding and Reducing Academic Misconduct at the University of Guelph. Retrieved October 25, 2009, from http://www.tss.uoguelph.ca/tli/tli02/AI_report_Final.pdf.

Read Write Pass. Retrieved October 25, 2009, from http://www2.wlv.ac.uk/webteam/curr_sdts/sharpen/ss-HowtoAvoidAM.pdf.

Tackling Academic Misconduct. Retrieved October 25, 2009, from http://asp.wlv.ac.uk/Level3.asp?UserType=11&Level3=2173.

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