Policy on academic integrity for non-credit courses

This policy is only for non-credit courses offered through the Division of Continuing Studies. Students enrolled in a credit course, offered through the Division of Continuing Studies or another faculty needs to follow the Policy on Academic Integrity for undergraduate and graduate programs.

Principles of academic integrity

Academic integrity requires commitment to the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. It is expected that learners, instructors, teachers, and staff at the University of Victoria, as members of an intellectual community, will adhere to these ethical values in all activities related to learning, teaching, research and service. Any action that contravenes this standard, including misrepresentation, falsification or deception, undermines the intention and worth of scholarly work and violates the fundamental academic rights of members of our community. This policy is designed to ensure that the university’s standards are upheld in a fair and transparent fashion.

Learners are responsible for the entire content and form of their work. Nothing in this policy is intended to prohibit learners from developing their academic skills through the exchange of ideas and the utilization of resources available at the university to support learning). Learners who are in doubt as to what constitutes a violation of academic integrity in a particular instance should consult their course instructor.

Definitions

In this policy:

  • "work" is defined as including the following: written material, laboratory work, computer work, computer code, assignments, research materials, research results, musical or art works, oral reports, audiovisual or recorded presentations, lesson plans, and material in any medium submitted to an instructor for grading purposes.
  • "learner" refers to a student enrolled in non-credit courses offered through the Division of Continuing Studies.
  • "Dean" is defined as the Dean of the Division of Continuing Studies.
  • "Program Director" is defined as the director of an academic program unit within the Division of Continuing Studies, e.g. Program Director of Language, Arts + Culture.
  • "Program Coordinator" is defined as the coordinator of an academic program within the Division of Continuing Studies, e.g. Program Coordinator of Business and Management Programs.
  • "Student Services" is defined as Student Services in the Division of Continuing Studies and does not refer to the Office of the Registrar for UVic.
  • "instructor" is defined to include teachers within the English Language Centre and instructors who teach in non-credit professional and community programs.

Academic integrity violations

Academic integrity violations covered by this policy can take a number of forms, including the following:

Plagiarism

A learner commits plagiarism when they:

  • submit the work of another person in whole or inpart as original work
  • gives inadequate attribution to an author or creator whose work is incorporated into the learner's work, including failing to indicate clearly (through accepted practices within the discipline, such as footnotes, internal references and the crediting of all verbatim passages through indentations of longer passages or the use of quotation marks) the inclusion of another individual's work
  • paraphrases material from a source without sufficient acknowledgment as described above

The university reserves the right to use plagiarism detection software programs to detect plagiarism in essays, term papers and other work.

Unauthorized use of an editor

An editor is an individual or service, other than the instructor or supervisory committee, who manipulates, revises, corrects or alters a learner's written or non-written work.

The use of an editor, whether paid or unpaid, is prohibited unless the instructor grants explicit written authorization. The instructor should specify the extent of editing that is being authorized.

Review by fellow learners and tutoring that do not include editing are normally permitted. In addition to consulting with their instructors, learners are encouraged to seek review of and feedback on their work that prompts them to evaluate the work and make changes themselves.

Multiple submission

Multiple submission is the resubmission of work by a learner that has been used in identical or similar form to fulfill any academic requirement at UVic or another institution. Learners who do so without prior permission from their instructor are subject to penalty.

Falsifying materials subject to academic evaluation

Falsifying materials subject to academic evaluation includes, but is not limited to:

  • fraudulently manipulating laboratory processes, electronic data or research data in order to achieve desired results
  • using work prepared in whole or in part by someone else (e.g., commercially prepared essays) and submitting it as one's own
  • citing a source from which material was not obtained
  • using a quoted reference from a non-original source while implying reference to the original source
  • submitting false records, information or data, in writing or orally

Cheating on work, tests and examinations

Cheating includes, but is not limited to:

  • copying the answers or other work of another person
  • sharing information or answers when doing take-home assignments, tests or examinations except where the instructor has authorized collaborative work
  • having in an examinationor test any materials or equipment other than those authorized by the examiners
  • accessing unauthorized information when doing take-home assignments, tests or examinations
  • impersonating a learner on an examination or test, or being assigned the results of such impersonation
  • accessing or attempting to access examinations or tests before it is permitted to do so

Learners found communicating with one another in any way or having unauthorized books, papers, notes or electronic devices in their possession during a test or examination will be considered to be in violation of this policy.

Aiding others to cheat

It is a violation to help others or attempt to help others to engage in any of the conduct described above.

Procedures for dealing with violations of academic integrity

Procedures for determining the nature of alleged violations involve primarily the course instructor and the Program Coordinator. Procedures for determining an appropriate penalty may also involve Program Directors, and the Dean.


Allegations

Alleged violations must be documented by the instructor, who must inform the Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator shall then inform the learner in writing of the nature of the allegation and give the learner a reasonable opportunity to respond to the allegation. Normally, this shall involve a meeting between the instructor, the Program Coordinator, the learner and, if the learner requests in advance, another party chosen by the learner to act as the learner's adviser. If the learner refuses to provide a response to the allegation or to participate in the process, the Program Coordinator may proceed to make a determination.

Determining the nature of the violation

The Program Coordinator shall make a determination as to whether compelling information exists to support the allegation.

Determining appropriate penalties

If there is compelling information to support the allegation, the Program Coordinator shall contact Student Services to determine if the learner's record contains any other confirmed academic integrity violations from non-credit studies with the Division of Continuing Studies

If there is no record of prior violations, the Program Coordinator shall make a determination with respect to the appropriate penalty, in accordance with this policy.

Referral to the Program Director

Where there have been one or more prior violations and the Program Coordinator has determined that compelling information exists to support the allegation, the Program Coordinator shall forward the case to the Program Director. In situations where the learner is registered in more than one academic program, the case will be forwarded to the Program Director responsible for the course. The Program Coordinator may submit a recommendation to the Program Director with respect to a proposed penalty. The Program Director shall make a determination with respect to the appropriate penalty, in accordance with this policy.

Letters of reprimand

Any penalty will be accompanied by a letter of reprimand which will be written by the authority (Program Coordinator, Program Director, Dean) responsible for imposing the penalty. The letter of reprimand will be sent to the learner and a copy shall be included in the record maintained by Student Services.


Rights of appeal

Learners must be given the right to be heard at each stage, and have the right to appeal decisions in accordance with university policy, procedures and regulations.
A learner may:

  • appeal a decision made by the Program Coordinator to the Program Director of the academic program area in which the learner is registered within 21 business days of the date of the Program Coordinator's decision.
  • appeal a decision made by the Program Directorto the Dean within 21 business days of the date of the Program Director's decision.
  • Appeal a decision made by the Dean under the provisions of section 61 of the University Act to the Senate Committee on Appeals in accordance with the Senate Committee on Appeals' Terms of Reference and Procedural Guidelines.
  • Program Directors and the Dean who receive an appeal of the decision of a Program Coordinator should attempt to make a finding with respect to the appeal within 21 business days. In the case of a successful appeal, any penalty will be rescinded.

Penalties

Penalties for first academic integrity violation

In situations where a determination is made that a learner has committed a first academic integrity violation, the following penalties will normally be imposed.

Plagiarism

Single or multiple instances of inadequate attribution of sources should result in a failing grade for the work. A largely or fully plagiarized piece of work should result in a grade of F for the course.

Unauthorized use of an editor

Unauthorized use of an editor should result in a failing grade for the work.

In situations where unauthorized use of an editor to extensively edit work results in a learner submitting work that could be considered that of another person, penalties for plagiarism may apply.

Multiple submission without prior permission

If a substantial part of a piece of work submitted for one course is essentially the same as part or all of a piece of work submitted for another course, this should result in a failing grade for the assignment in one of the courses. If the same piece of work is submitted for two courses, this should result in a grade of F for one of the courses. The penalty normally will be imposed in the second (i.e., later) course in which the work was submitted.

Falsifying materials

If a substantial part of a piece of work is based on false materials, this should result in a failing grade for the work. If an entire piece of work is based on false materials (e.g., submitting a commercially prepared essay as one's own work), this should result in a grade of F for the course.

Cheating on exams

Any instance of impersonation of a learner during an exam should result in a grade of F for the course for the learner being impersonated, and disciplinary probation for the impersonator (if they are a learner). Isolated instances of copying the work of another learner during an exam should result in a grade of zero for the exam. Systematic copying of the work of another learner (or any other person with access to the exam questions) should result in a grade of F for the course. Any instance of bringing unauthorized equipment or material into an exam should result in a grade of zero for the exam. Sharing information or answers for take-home assignments and tests when this is clearly prohibited in written instructions should result in a grade of zero for the assignment when such sharing covers a minor part of the work, and a grade of F for the course when such sharing covers a substantial part of the work.

Collaborative work

In cases in which an instructor has provided clear written instructions prohibiting certain kinds of collaboration on group projects (e.g., learners may share research but must write up the results individually), instances of prohibited collaboration on a substantial part of the work should result in a failing grade for the work, while instances of prohibited collaboration on the bulk of the work should result in a grade of F for the course.

In situations where collaborative work is allowed, only the learner(s) who commit the violation are subject to penalty.

Particularly unusual or serious violations

In the case of a first-time violation that is particularly unusual or serious (e.g. falsification of research results), the Program Coordinator may refer the case to the Dean, with a recommendation for a penalty more severe than those normally imposed for a first violation.


Penalties for second or subsequent academic integrity violation

Repeat violations

Any instance of any of the violations described above committed by a learner who has already committed one violation, especially if either of the violations merited a grade of F for the course, should result in the learner being placed on disciplinary probation. Disciplinary probation will be recorded on the learner's transcript. The decision to place a learner on disciplinary probation with a notation on the learner’s transcript that is removed upon graduation can only be made by the Dean.

In situations where a learner commits two or more major academic integrity violations, the learner may be placed on disciplinary probation with a permanent notation on the learner's transcript. The decision to place a learner on disciplinary probation with a permanent notation can only be made by the Dean (or delegate), upon recommendation of the Program Director. In making this decision, the Dean will consider factors such as the nature of the major violations, and whether there has been an interval between violations such that learning could have taken place.

If a learner on disciplinary probation commits another violation, this should result in the learner's permanent suspension. This decision can only be taken by the Dean, on the recommendation of the Program Director.

Non course-based penalties

If a learner has withdrawn from a course or the university, or is not registered in a course associated with a violation, this policy must still be followed. If a determination is made that compelling information exists to support the allegation against a learner, a letter of reprimand and, if appropriate, a more serious penalty in this policy should be imposed, although no course-based penalty may be imposed.

Records management

Violations of academic integrity are most serious when repeated. Records of violations of this policy are kept to ensure that learners who have committed more than one violation can be identified and appropriately sanctioned. Access to these records is restricted to protect learners' right to privacy.

Records

Records relating to academic integrity violations will be stored in the Division of Continuing Studies learner registration system, OASIS, at a security level accessible only by designated staff from Student Services. Program Coordinators, Program Directors, and the Dean (whichever is responsible for imposing the penalty) will report academic integrity violations and will forward all documentation relating to a violation to Student Services once the decision regarding a violation has been made. Records will only be kept in cases where it is determined that compelling information exists to support an allegation. In the case of a successful appeal, the record maintained by Student Services will be removed.

Access to records

Only the Dean, and designated member(s) of Student Services will have access to learner records regarding academic integrity violations, and normally only to check for repeat violations. Access to records will not normally be granted to instructors, Program Coordinators, or other staff. Program Coordinators may contact Student Services to determine if the learner's record contains any confirmed academic integrity violations.

  1. In some special circumstances, there may be reasons why Dean or staff members need to have access to this information (e.g., character attestation for purposes of professional accreditation). If a staff member intends to request access to learners' records for any such purpose, that purpose must be disclosed by the staff member to learners.

  2. Deans, Program Directors and Program Coordinators may request aggregate information from Student Services on numbers of violations for purposes of analysis, but in this case the information is to be provided without revealing personal information.


Records retention

The following retention periods apply to records relating to academic integrity violations:

  1. First violations - 5 years after the final decision regarding the violation has been made.
  2. Second or subsequent violations where no permanent notation has been made on a learner's transcript - 5 years after the final decision regarding the violation has been made.
  3. Second or subsequent violations where a permanent notation has been made on a learner's transcript - permanent retention.

Notations on a learner's transcript will be removed upon graduation or maintained permanently, in accordance with the penalty imposed under this policy.

A learner who has had a permanent notation imposed on their transcript may make an application to the Dean to have the notation removed. This application may be made 10 years after the final decision regarding the violation has been made and must include compelling evidence to explain why the notation should be removed.