Academic Awareness Week!

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It’s the first week of February, and welcome to Academic Awareness Week!

While taking classes here at Medicine Hat College, there is an important step to each class you take that you may not even realize you’re doing. It’s in each paper you write, each lecture you attend, and also in each assignment you do. It’s called Academic Awareness, and can sometimes be known as Academic Integrity. It’s the art of knowing how we feel, how we act, and how we respect the knowledge that is being shared within the classes that your professors are teaching. It sounds fairly simple, right? However, there are often small ways that students can be breaking the code of Academic Integrity, which can lead to things such as failed assignments, suspensions, and even legal action. Through the rest of this blog post, I will be going through one of the most important examples of following Academic Awareness: not plagiarizing. I’ll include a few of the key words, phrases, and examples of Academic Awareness, as well as resources for you to go and check out if you’re more interested in the subject!

Academic Awareness is being keenly aware of your honesty and honor when working or engaging in a learning environment. This can range from citations/references of correct sources, crediting others for their work in a group project, and in general, being responsible for your own work and learning adventure. Being an academic learner within MHC is a way for you to create and express your own ideas and engage in discussions to further your learning, but it all needs to be done honestly. That means that you need to reference where referencing is required, follow copyright laws, and most certainly, never cheat on a test or exam, regardless of the scenario. Academic Awareness effects every student, not just the ones that do not follow it. Academic Dishonesty–the opposite of Academic Awareness–not only cheats the person who commits it from learning in an honest and healthy environment, but the other students in the classroom. Sometimes, a student may not even know that they are committing Academic Dishonesty, so it is important to have a good understanding of what you should do so you don’t accidentally do what you shouldn’t.

Plagiarism is one of the biggest problems that we have to face in regards to Academic Dishonesty. Plagiarism can be defined in many different ways, but some of them include the following examples:

  • taking someone else’s words, work, contributions or materials and using them as your own
  • using someone else’s words, work, contributions, or materials and not properly crediting/citing/referencing the author(s)
  • stealing or tweaking someone’s else’s words, work, contributions or materials and using them as your own
  • creating an idea or piece of work that is based off of someone else’s words or work that already exists

Plagiarism is the same as fraud: it is purposefully stealing someone else’s words or work, pretending that it is your own, and once you’ve handed in your assignment or paper, lying about the fact that you were the one that created it. Plagiarism is not just limited to words, books, or ideas; it also includes media, such as music, pictures, movies, etc., which can make assuring that you are not committing plagiarism very challenging at times.

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Luckily, we here in the Library have many amazing resources for Academic Awareness! We have APA, MLA, and Chicago citation guides, located at https://mhc.ab.libguides.com/citation for you to use whenever you may be writing a paper. These guides are to help you understand what sort of information you need to be citing–basically any ideas or phrases that you did not come up with yourself.

We also have our lovely Info Service Staff, who are always able to lend a helping hand for all your referencing needs. Right now, you can find them at the front desk of the Library or through the "Chat" function on our website, http://www.mhc.ab.ca/library, and can be reached Monday-Friday from 8am to 4pm. If you’re writing late at night, and need to send an email before you forget to, you can also reach them at mhclibrary@mhc.ab.ca. If you are specifically concerned with a piece of music, a picture, or any sort of media related item and whether or not it is copyrighted, we also have a Copyright Specialist who will be able to help with that, as well as a copyright guide, found at https://mhc.ab.libguides.com/c.php?g=715484.

We also have a few books available for you to place a hold on. You can find the titles, authors, and call numbers below:

My Word!: Plagiarism and College Culture by Susan D. Blume — PN 167 B48 2009

Doing Honest Work in College: How to Prepare Citations, Avoid Plagiarism, and Achieve Real Academic Success by Charles Lipson — PN 171 F56 L56 2008

Cite It Right: the SourceAid Guide to Citation, Research, and Avoiding Plagiarism by Tom Fox, Julia Johns, and Sarah Keller — PN 171 F56 F69 2007

Don’t Steal Copyrighted Stuff!: Avoiding Plagiarism and Illegal Internet Downloading by Ann Gaines — PN 167 G35 2008

Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide by James D. Lester — LB 2369 .L4 2015

Copyright Infringement by Roman Espejo — KF 3080 C66 2009

Intellectual Property Law: Copyright, Patents, Trade-marks by D. Vaver — KE 2779 .V38 2011

A Research Agenda for Academic Integrity by Tracey Bretag (eBook–search for the title using the search bar on our website!)

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You can find more fun Academic Awareness Week events at the Student’s Association page, found at https://samhc.ca/events/

If you ever have any questions, you can reach us at any of the above chat functions or email addresses, as well as at mhclibrary@mhc.ab.ca. We will do our best to assist!

Happy reading!

Additional Resources:

https://www.plagiarism.org/

https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_wr02281.html