Why NOT to copy Homework or Projects in MS / MBA in US ? Plagiarism, Academic Dishonesty

In What NOT to do in MS by Kumar8 Comments

It is not uncommon for some of us to copy homework or projects at times, when there was a need, during B.Tech or B.Com in India or any other country other than US. Things are very different in America. Consequences of copying homework or project can be very bad. You can get a ‘Fail’ grade or even be expelled from the University for Plagiarism.Plagiarism TheftI will focus on why you should NOT copy Homework and quote an example with the consequences.

Situation in India or other countries for Homework and Projects :

If you from a regular colleges or Universities  and probably not from IIT or any premier institutes, it often happens that whenever there is a homework or assignment due, everyone sits together and does the homework together. It is very much possible some of them do not do at all and just copy. Also, some of us do search the stuff on Google and copy  and paste the content and submit or just re-write the content on internet and submit homework. Lecturers, do not care much about these as they want you to do well in University exams or External exams. Copying homework in India, if not totally accepted, at least you are not punished to the extent in US.

Concept of Homework and Projects:

Homework and projects are of greater importance in MS/MBA. The code of ethics for academic honesty plagiarism are very strict for both students and instructors.  Here is what it says about academic honesty and Plagiarism exactly from UW Madison Academic Misconduct page,

“Academic honesty requires that the course work (drafts, reports, examinations, papers) a student presents to an instructor honestly and accurately indicates the student’s own academic efforts.”

“Plagiarism means presenting the words or ideas of others without giving credit. You should know the principles of plagiarism and the correct rules for citing sources. In general, if your paper implies that you are the originator of words or ideas, they must in fact be your own.”

The rules are very strict and you better abide by the rules and do hard work and write your own assignment and do the projects on your own. It is better to get a 70 than copying and getting a Fail grade.  Also, they are significant part of your grade too. Check this article on Education System in India vs USA for weightage and other information. It is very easy to verify if someone has copied the stuff.  Also, in programming, do not try to do cheap tricks like changing “for loops with while loops, etc” you can get caught!   Some students do get away by copying, but you may not all the time.

Why you should NOT copy, Actual incident involving 25 students caught for plagiarism:

In one of the Universities I went to school, it just happened that one of the homework assignment was very tough and all the juniors came to seniors for help. The seniors thought the semester was over and gave their projects to others. It was just one on one. I mean, one senior to one junior only to avoid the copying and plagiarism. Guess what, the juniors modified the files and did and polished them and submitted the assignments. Couple of days later, Professor found the cheating. He just looked at the files and created dates, etc and previous records and he found out there was mass copying.  Guess what ? Total of 25 students were caught for plagiarism.  “It is just like corruption, Copying is plagiarism, and someone who encourages that by giving content to copy is also academically dishonest and liable for plagiarism ” Everyone were called Juniors and Seniors individually to the instructors office ( next step deans office) and asked questions and everyone had to confess. If you lie, that is a bigger crime. The seniors were let go with a warning letter from dean and the record will stay on your academic records file. If they find another instance, they warned seniors will be suspended from University. The juniors pleaded the professor and got away with a 0 marks or grade.  This was a very bad remark on total Indian students community in the school.  In fact, I was part of academic honesty student council and the cases we had to deal were intense. It was very formal, the instructor is called along with student and there is a Jury of Profs and students. Everything is recorded in video as proof. Both sides of argument is taken into consideration and then a final judgment is made by Students and Jury. You can be expelled !  So, be careful!

Guidelines to avoid Plagiarism:

You must read your respective University’s academic honesty policies similar to  University of Wisconsin Academic misconduct. In fact, every instructor will print the policies in the last page of your syllabus. Few guidelines

  • Rule number one, NEVER COPY. Try to write on your own, if you cannot write what you can. You will get decent points instead of ‘Fail’ in the class
  • If you get any information off the internet or any journals, you have to give credit to the original source. Citation of references is very important. If you do not cite the sources, it is assumed you are stealing others content and taking credit for their work and is Plagiarism. Research community should be given credit for all the hard work.
  • Do not do any individual assignments in a group. The chance is everyone might write same content. You can just discuss ideas, but you will have to work on your own.
  • If you are stuck and have any questions about project or homework, go to the Teaching assistant or meet the professor in the office hours and ask questions. They will help you !
  • Do not listen to your friends who encourage you to copy, believe me it is not worth it ! Many students do mistakes of copying because they do NOT know the severe consequences. I do not want anyone of you who read this to be victim.

What do you think of Academic Honesty policy in US? Plagiarism?

Image Credit : http://library.austincc.edu/gen-info/plagiarism_theft.jpg

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Comments ( 8 )

  1. steve

    Plagiarism is not always caught. I know many cases where people got away with it. It seems that one has to have some common sense, general awareness and alertness while doing these things, besides being careful and NOT including any dumb/careless person in the copying work.

  2. Tarun

    Hello Kumar,

    Nice and eye-opening post. Well I agree with you. In India, students do this all the time. The fact is nobody cares here. But of course it’s not right. It’s kind of illegal. I mean you are claiming someone else’s work or ideas as your own.

    I still remember in 10th grade, students used to copy homework a lot. Almost everyday.

    Thank you so much. I will keep this in mind although I like to put my own ideas into action because usually in my highschool I had better ideas than my classmates about topics in English or any project or this sort of thing. I am not bragging, however I guess It may sound like that.

    I appreciate.
    Thank you

  3. Xilinx

    Hello Sir,

    I Was caught on plagiarism in my university. they keep this incident in my record for 10 years. is this causes any problem to my H1B processing and Green card processing

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Xilink,
      Does your transcript indicate that you had “academic misconduct” or something similar related to your plagiarism ?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Well, what does it exactly say on the transcript ? How does it look on the degree certificate or final transcript after graduation ?

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