Understanding Academic Honesty is the First Step

A letter of advice to incoming engineering students.


UPDATE: 10/10/13

To whom it may concern, Understanding Academic Honesty is the First Step to Success

Much of my college career has been filled with big ten football games , final exams, all-nighters, and coffee. Even though the quantity of work can be overwhelming, new Purdue students should begin forming good study habits early on in their college career. On the flipside to forming good habits, there are also bad habits that students tend to form as well. Although I like to believe that the most students work hard in each class, one common habit that forms is for students to “cheat” on homework assignments. As a first year student, the college transition can be very daunting. The combination of moving, stress, and other major life changes can intimidate a new student. During this transition, students often miss manage their time and begin to inadvertently commit unethical choices in academics. In his guide “Academic Integrity: A Guide for Students”1, Stephen Akers lists examples of academic dishonesty. One of the examples he provides is when students collaborate with other students on assignments when it is not allowed1. There seems to be a confusion for some students on what is considered collaboration and what is cheating. There is also a tendency for students to simply copy homework assignments. According to his paper “The Impact of Homework Time on Academic Achievement”, Steven McMullen states that students who spend more time completing homework see an academic performance increase2. The opposite can be said as well; if a student simply copies homework, they will be reducing the time spent on their assignments. The reduction in time spent on homework could potentially leave students at a disadvantage. New students that develop bad habits such as copying homeworks, place themselves in a position where they are losing valuable study time as well as committing academic dishonesty. Although college can be overwhelming, there are tips students can follow that will help them achieve success while here at Purdue. First, students should be begin by completing their homework assignments on their own. Unless specifically stated in the class syllabus, students should simply assume that all work must be completed alone. However, they should never hesitate to ask their professor when it is appropriate to collaborate with others. Secondly, if students feel that they are spending too much time on homework, they should seek assistance from appropriate sources by attending office hours. Students should always consider utilizing the office hours when they are stuck on a particular assignment. Finally, if you do ever find yourself in a position where you suspect academic dishonesty is occurring, the Office of Dean of Students offers guidance for students3. New Purdue students often get caught in a web of responsibilities that can at times be overwhelming for a young adult. However, I urge new students to manage their time and develop good study habits early on in their careers. By spending the appropriate amount of time on homework and maintaining academic integrity, time spent at purdue can be both enjoyable and successful.


[1] http://www.purdue.edu/odos/osrr/academicintegritybrochure.php [2] http://www.unc.edu/~mcmullen/McMullen%20-%20The%20Impact%20of%20Homework%20Time%20on%20Academic%20Achievement.pdf [3] http://www.purdue.edu/odos/



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