FAQs about Academic Integrity | Webster University

FAQs about Academic Integrity

 Q. Why should I care about academic integrity? 

Webster University ensures high quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.  In order to achieve this mission, Webster prides itself on promoting academic integrity for all students, faculty and staff.  Academic integrity encompasses five characteristics: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.  Maintaining these values means that you are committed to completing and representing your own work with integrity.  This same integrity will help you build life skills that will serve you in your professional career and personal life. 

Q. How can I avoid academic dishonesty? 

Always cite your sources when using someone else’s words, thoughts, ideas, graphics or music.  Understand the citation style chosen for your field/course and use it for in-text citations and at the end of your document.  Make sure you submit your own work on papers, reports, projects, and tests.  Most importantly, plan ahead for writing papers and taking exams.  Students who are prepared are less likely to commit an act of academic dishonesty.  Remember that the Writing Center, Online Writing Center, and the Webster Libraries are here to help you avoid academic dishonesty issues in your work

Q. Does paraphrasing or copying words or ideas from the Internet count as cheating?

Copying or using someone else's ideas or words without attributing the original source is always considered plagiarism, even if you’ve attempted to paraphrase.   Any time you use the Internet for any assignment you must cite that source both within the text and at the end of your document.  Even if the instructor doesn’t grade for proper citation, you are still responsible for practicing academic integrity.

Q. Does copying a sentence or two count as plagiarism?

Yes.  You must cite any words or ideas that are not your own.  Even copying a few sentences is considered engaging in the act of plagiarism.

Q. Do I have to cite sources even when I am submitting a rough draft (or outline, PowerPoint, etc.) to my professor?

Yes. Citing during all stages of the writing process clearly informs your instructor about where your information is coming from and avoids inadvertently taking credit for a source’s information.

Q. Does academic integrity apply to online courses?

Absolutely.  Promoting academic integrity is an institution-wide effort; therefore, the online environment is considered the same as face-to-face learning, and the same academic honesty policies apply.

Q. Can I resubmit work I’ve submitted in another class?

No.  Resubmitting your work is considered self-plagiarism, which is another form of plagiarism.  Instructors generally expect you to submit work that is original to the current class you are enrolled in and that reflects the current material you are learning. However, in some programs, student work builds on previous work.  If you feel that you have a small portion of previous work you would like to build upon in a present course, you must ask the instructor’s permission to use it.

Q. What should I do if I see another student cheating?

In alignment with academic integrity values, you should speak with your instructor in private as soon as possible after the incident has occurred.  Your reporting will remain confidential.

Q. What are typical academic consequences of academic dishonesty?

Academic consequences for plagiarism and cheating are decided by the student’s individual instructor.  A student may receive a reduced or failing grade for the assignment in question or the student may receive a failing grade for the course.  For cases of plagiarism, a student may also be placed in the Plagiarism Prevention Program (PPP).  For more information on the PPP, go to http://www.webster.edu/academic-integrity/plagiarism_prevention_program.html

Q. What if I am accused of an academic integrity violation that I don’t feel that I have committed?

If your instructor initiates a conversation about plagiarism in your work and you would like greater clarification, please contact the Plagiarism Prevention Program Coordinator, Dr. Carolyn I. Brown, to discuss the situation and your instructor’s assessment. You also have the right to appeal your case with your department chair, dean, or extended site director.  You will be asked to write a letter explaining the nature of your violation, and you will be given the opportunity to discuss your circumstances.  The chair, dean, or director will make a decision based on all of the information presented.

Q.  How can I submit an assignment to Turnitin?

Turnitin is a tool available to Webster students only at your instructor’s discretion. If your instructor allows Turnitin submission, he/she will enable that feature in the assignment settings, so all you need to do is submit the assignment in the correct link in WorldClassRoom. Submit drafts with caution, though; be sure that your instructor allows submission of multiple drafts, or he/she may mistake your submission as a final copy ready for grading.