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Tag: academic integrity

Winning the right way

In the lecture of Academic integrity 101: Winning the right way. The lecturer showed examples that help us understand the importance and wide extension of breaking academic integrity. The lecture first started with the presentation of the vice president of the honor council, Nitya Venkat, a student from medical school wanting to become a doctor after she graduates. She told us that the way of getting a right job is not about getting the highest GPA, but earning the job the right way. When she graduated and became a doctor eventually, she would want her patients to form complete trust toward her. But how are the patients supposed to trust her if she cheats in the homework or assignments and is not even worthy to become a doctor?

     Then the lecture showed a wide variety of actions that will be considered as plagiarism. In the past, my understanding of breaking the honor code or academic integrity is probably like plagiarism or cheating on the exams. However, the knowledge I learned from the lecture improved my understanding of plagiarism.

     By definition, plagiarism is using thoughts, materials or ideas from another without properly indicating the source; together with copying, changing wording, using a catchy word or phrase, or paraphrasing from another without indicating that source. That’s the first thing I learned in the lecture. That’s quite new to me since, in the past, I sometimes paraphrase something I learned from a source before into my work without indicating it. Reconstructing someone else’s words and put it your way is also plagiarism. It’s hard sometimes to find the source of a sentence you once read or a catchy word that came into your mind, but it’s the right thing to do to respect the producer of the knowledge by citing the ideas.

      As Dean Madison Sarratt once said: “There is nothing complex about our Honor Code. It is as simple as giving your word and keeping it.” A good person is the kind that will do good things when there's no one watching.

Academic Integrity Beyond the Scope of College

During the Honour Council’s “Academic Integrity 101: Winning the Right Way”, Nitya Venkat’s perspective on academic integrity stood out to me. Nitya Venkat is a MHS and Neuroscience major who is also the Vice President of the Undergraduate Honour Council. She highlighted that academic integrity was important to her beyond the scope of college. Nitya is planning to apply for medical school this year. She said when patients trust her with their lives, they can do so knowing she earned her credentials the right way. Patients can trust that she has the necessary knowledge to help them because she did not cheat her way to medical school. The connection of academic integrity to the real world was one that never seem very prominent to me until I attended the Honour Council’s presentation. I had not deeply considered that a student’s choice to cheat might affect more people than just him or herself. For example, that student might be missing knowledge necessary to help a patient.

Another piece of information that I did not know prior to attending the Honour Council’s presentation was that catchy phrases can be plagiarized. For example, the presenter showed us a catchy phrase that had been slightly modified by changing the order of the words and the tenses. I learned that copying a slightly modified catchy phrase without citation is still plagiarism.

The Honour Council’s presentation also offered so information about the history of the Honour Council. It was created in 1900 by students and it is still student-run up to this day. It was inspiring to see Vanderbilt students’ who were not only interested in “Winning the Right Way”, but also so self-motivated to help others “Win the Right Way”.

Academic Integrity 101: Winning the Right Way

In this seminar, members of the undergraduate honor council gave a presentation on different aspects of the honor council and academic integrity. This consisted of personal stories about what integrity means to the students, and also a few hypothetical examples to show the different situations where one may have to make a choice about what the right thing to do is.

The presentation started with the vice president of the honor council discussing how academic integrity affects her. She said that the reason that she joined the honor council and why she holds integrity so highly comes from her goals for medical school and eventually becoming a doctor. She says that when she becomes a doctor, she wants her patients to have full, complete trust in her. She believes that she can only provide that if she makes it through undergrad and medical school on her own merit, and not by cheating off of someone else.

The next segment was about how plagiarism isn't always just direct copying and pasting. They showed this my providing many different examples of plagiarism where the work wasn't cited. This included paraphrasing, changing a couple of words, and using a catchy phrase used by someone else. The next part of the presentation was similar to what we did in class on tophat. There were different scenarios presented, and people in the audience had to determine if the scenario was or was not an honor code violation, and also what they would do instead. These were a bit more obvious that the ones we did in class, and honestly, they weren't very helpful. It was clear what the right answer was, and they weren't the kinds of questions that would help me in the future if I was trying to determine what choice to make.

The last section was a presentation by the president about what integrity means to him. He told a story from his childhood about a time when he lied to his mother about his school work and she caught him. After that incident, his mom put a quote in his room that said "a good person is one who does the right thing when nobody is looking". I also believed that this was a great quote, because integrity is something that defines a good person, and a truly good person will always be honest and will always do what's right.

Academic Integrity Defines You

The Honor Council’s perspective on academic integrity revolved around violations being more than just cheating on a test or collaborating on an assignment. They positioned that how you conduct yourself at a critical time demonstrates the sort of student you are. This idea even extends beyond one’s academic career; it also represents the kind of person one will be after graduation.

The Vice President of the Honor Council, Nitya Venkat, presented a personal example that explains this approach to the honor code. Venkat is an aspiring medical student who wants to practice as a doctor in the near future. She explained that if she has graduated from medical school and is taking her own patientens, they instill a form of trust in her. This is not just the trust that she provides the right medical care, but it is the trust that she has become a doctor through trustworthy means and has the adequate knowledge to provide professional care. A patient’s trust exists because they assume positive intent, but this faith relies on the integrity of each prospective doctor being kept. Venkat stated that this concept extends beyond just the medical field: it can apply to all professions.

Several members of the Honor Council also provided their unique insight into what the honor code was to them and a breakdown of specific characteristics. One aspect that stood out was the fact that the honor code is nothing new. In fact, it has existed since 1875 and used to just be, “On my word and honor as a gentleman, I have neither given nor received help on this examination.” The Honor Council highlighted the fact that it’s changing and adapting to the times; it has always been used to uphold student accountability. After all, everything a Vanderbilt student does is not just a reflection of themselves but the community that they belong to. That is why it is so important to hold students to this standard.

Overall, the Honor Council advised to never be afraid to ask when uncertain if an action could be a breach of the honor code. Following the honor code ensures that one does not rob themselves or the professors and faculty of the investment made in students.

Resources on Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Some resources relevant to our discussion of plagiarism and academic integrity...

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