FAQ for Students


What is the difference between plagiarism, paraphrasing, and direct citation?

You commit plagiarism when you present someone else’s words or ideas as your own. Paraphrasing is expressing someone else’s ideas in your own words without altering the original speaker/author’s ideas and without merging your ideas or interpretations with those expressed by the other person. Direct citation is when you use the exact same words the original author used. Paraphrasing and direct citation are acceptable as long as they are properly cited.

Improper paraphrasing occurs when you paraphrase but don’t include a citation or include a citation in the wrong place. The citation should be included at the end of the paraphrase, since any material which follows the citation a reader will assume is your own work.

The Writing Room can help you with specific paraphrases and direct citations that you wish to include in your writing. You should check the style guide recommended by your professor(s) for specific citation conventions.

Can I “resubmit” a paper from a previous course for an assignment in a separate course?

Check with the specific instructor. In general, this is not allowable.

Is it OK to program formulas into a graphing calculator?

Check with the specific instructor. In general, this is not allowable.

If I have (or can get) an old test, is it OK to study from that test for a new (similar) test?

If the test is one that was returned by the instructor to students in a previous class, then you can use it to help you prepare for your test.

Where is the line drawn between collaborating and cheating?

This depends greatly on specific professors. Check individual instructors to know for sure. Generally, if the work is not yours and you did not directly participate or give significant input, credit should be given to the person who did do the work.

If I allow someone else to look at my work and use it as his or her own, am I guilty of academic dishonesty?

Yes. If you allow other students to use your work as their own, you are helping them to be academically dishonest, denying them the opportunity to learn from their work, as well as denying yourself credit for your hard work.

If I witness or suspect academic dishonesty, what avenue should I take to ensure the equality and caliber of everyone’s education at UMM?

If the dishonesty you witness is related to a particular course, inform the instructor of your concerns. In most cases, the instructor will deal with the matter appropriately. If, however, you feel the action taken to deal with the matter is not sufficient, you may bring the matter to the Committee on Academic Integrity for review. You should discuss the situation with the instructor, and let them know that you are considering filing a report with the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.

If your instructor does not provide proctoring for in-class exams, you may request a proctor.

If I am accused of academic dishonesty, what are my rights as a UMM student? What is the process?

The UMM Student Academic Integrity Policy was written to protect your rights to due process. It is hoped that in the majority of cases satisfactory resolution can be reached by the instructor and student(s) involved.

If you contest the accusation or the penalty which the instructor wishes to impose, you may bring the matter to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, who will then begin the process to mediate the dispute through the Committee on Academic Integrity.

Both you and the instructor can submit to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs a separate report on the disagreement (see the Academic Integrity Policy subsection 2.2 for the details of what should go into the report), and the Committee on Academic Integrity will ensure that copies of all reports submitted are available to all parties involved.

The Committee on Academic Integrity will review the evidence and make a recommendation. If you disagree with the recommendation, you can appeal to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, who will review the matter. There are no appeals beyond the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

What is the best way for me to prevent academic dishonesty?

Make sure your professors are clear on their policies. If they are unclear or vague, make sure to have them clarify. Have professors or the Writing Room read over rough drafts to spot unintentional plagiarism early. Make sure that your fellow students are holding up their end of the bargain. Academic dishonesty affects the entire UMM campus community.