FAQ - Students

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Academic Integrity

General Questions on Academic Integrity

Q: What is academic integrity?

A: Academic integrity is about conducting your academic work with honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage1. It refers to the ethical and moral principles that we should all follow in our academic journeys.

An example of having academic integrity is acknowledging where the information you use comes from by clearly citing and referencing the sources.

To learn more about academic integrity, take a look at the Introduction to Academic Integrity Tutorial.

1International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI). (2021). The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity. (3rd ed.)

Q: Why is academic integrity important?

A: Academic integrity is vital for maintaining the credibility and quality of education and your credentials. Learning with integrity ensures that you are actually acquiring the knowledge and skills that you will need in the future.

Having integrity means doing the right thing, even if it takes you through a longer path. If you take the easy, short-term way out of your problems in school, you may build up this habit and do so in other areas of life as well, such as during your career.

Q: How can I ensure that I uphold academic integrity?

A: First, make sure you understand the expectations of our instructor (e.g. reviewing the course syllabus and assignment rubrics). Second, always aim to produce and develop original work, give credit to others' ideas and contributions, and uphold ethical standards in all your academic  endeavors. Finally, familiarize yourself with KPU's Policies on academic integrity and seek guidance if you have any questions.

Q: What are the consequences of not upholding academic integrity?

A: Consequences for academic misconduct can vary depending on different factors, such as the severity of the action, as per KPU's Student Academic Integrity Policy. Possible consequences may include redoing an assignment, a failing grade, or even recommendation for suspension.

Additionally, engaging in academic misconduct can have long-term repercussions, such as the loss of learning, which can hinder your future career opportunities. Not upholding integrity in a future job could also impact your reputation.

Understanding Academic Misconduct and What to Avoid

Q: What are some examples of academic misconduct (also known as academic integrity breaches)?

A: Some examples of academic misconduct include plagiarism (using others' work without proper citation), cheating on exams or assignments, fabrication or falsification of data, unauthorized collaboration, and submitting work that is not one's own. By avoiding these behaviours, you will be helping yourself to engage in deeper learning to be successful in your future careers. 

Explore more examples of academic misconduct, including ways to prevent them.

Q: Is the use of tools to get help with assignments considered academic misconduct?

A: It depends! If the tool has not been explicitly permitted by your instructor, it may be considered academic misconduct. In case of doubts as to whether something is allowed or not, check with your instructor first as it can vary from course to course. Your instructor is happy to answer and clarify their expectations for you.

For example, if your instructor does not allow you to use generative artificial intelligence tools (e.g. ChatGPT, Dall-E), Grammarly, etc. , you should not be using these when doing your assignment. Your instructor is interested in seeing your own original work and ideas. 

Q: How can I avoid plagiarism?

A: To avoid plagiarism, always properly cite sources used in your work, including direct quotes, paraphrases, and ideas. Familiarize yourself with the citation style guides (e.g. APA, MLA) from the KPU Library and consider using Draft Coach to help you identify areas on which to focus.

Q: If you have doubts if something needs to be cited or not, whom should you ask - your instructor, the KPU Library, or a classmate?

A: The best way to approach a doubt about citation and prevent an unintentional academic integrity breach is to ask your instructor or a KPU Librarian. Your classmates may not always have the full context so it is better to ask your instructor when you aren't sure about something.

Q: Do I need to cite if the source is the instructor or if the source was provided by the instructor?

A: Read the assignment instructions to see if anything is specified around citation expectations. If you aren't sure, always cite or ask your instructor. Explore this example of how to cite course material using APA style.

Q: Can I collaborate with others on assignments?

A: It depends! Always clarify with your instructor whether collaboration is permitted and to what extent. This may also vary from assignment to assignment.

Getting Support

Q: I'm hesitant to reach out to my instructor about academic integrity concerns or questions that I have because I don't want them to know that I don't understand. What should I do?

A: It's understandable to feel hesitant, but it's important to remember that instructors are there to support your learning journey and they value honesty and integrity. If you're still uncomfortable with approaching your instructor directly, consider reaching out to a KPU peer tutor, or another support service offered by KPU.

Q: What are good places to look for guidance on academic integrity?

Q: What is the role of the Academic Integrity Unit at KPU?

A: The Academic Integrity Unit supports all members of the university community, including students, in upholding academic integrity by providing strategies and resources. If you are unclear about academic integrity at KPU and are not sure where to start, reach out to us at academic.integrity@kpu.ca

Academic Integrity Breaches - Investigation Questions

Q: If my instructor is choosing to take the informal path for a breach, is this the only option for me? What if I don't agree that a breach has occurred or if I don't agree with the resolution my instructor has proposed?

A: You can tell your instructor that you would like to proceed through the formal academic integrity breach process

The informal option requires that both you and the instructor want to take this approach. If you do not agree with what is being proposed, you can move this case to the formal process, where the Dean's Office will investigate and decide on whether a breach has occurred and what resolutions are appropriate. In this process, you will have the opportunity to participate in a meeting to share your perspective. For more details on the formal process, review the Student Academic Integrity Procedure.

Q: I received an email informing me that an academic integrity breach report has been submitted. If I do not meet with the Dean/Associate Dean, will the academic integrity report go away?

A: No, the meeting with the Dean/Associate Dean is a space for students to share their side of the story so that a decision can be made with all the pieces of information. The Dean/Associate Dean is here to support your learning and they may also share resources that you can explore. If you do not attend the meeting, the decision on whether a breach has occurred will be made based on the information provided by the instructor. 

Q: What happens during the meeting with the Dean/Associate Dean?

A: If you receive an email notifying you that an academic integrity breach report has been submitted, you will have the opportunity to meet with the Dean/Associate Dean to discuss the alleged breach.

The goal of the meeting is for you and the Dean/Associate Dean to address what happened and whether a breach occurred. If it is determined that breach did occur, there may be discussion around the possible causes of the breach and how to prevent it in the future. Engaging in academic misconduct can negatively impact your learning and KPU is here to help you succeed in your academic journey. You will be treated with respect and compassion throughout this process. Think of it as a conversation!

Investigations and related meetings are confidential and typically closed-door. However, you may bring a support person to the meeting, but they cannot speak for you and your support person must maintain professionalism and be respectful during the meeting. 

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is an option for academic integrity breaches in Policy ST2. If you have been invited to participate in Restorative Justice or a Restorative Conversation about Academic Integrity with your instructor or your Associate Dean, you probably have some questions about this. Review the video or text version of the Q+A below for more information.

Q: What is restorative justice?

A: Restorative justice is a way of dealing with harm to people and relationships that occurs from breaches of academic integrity. The focus is on repairing the harm and preventing future breaches of academic integrity. 

Restorative justice involves bringing together students, instructors and sometimes Associate Deans to talk about what happened, the impact it had, and how to make things right. Instead of only a traditional punishment like getting a zero on an assignment or an “F” in the course, restorative justice is a place where everyone involved can share their perspectives, feelings, needs and about the impact of academic integrity breaches. They’ll work together to find solutions. The goal of these encounters is to address the underlying causes of academic integrity breaches and promote understanding for everyone involved.

Q: I’m scared, I’ve never been in this situation before – what is the process of restorative justice?

A: It’s normal to feel nervous and scared when you are in a new situation.  It’s important to know you will be offered respect and compassion throughout the restorative justice meeting.  KPU is here to help you find a way to learn from this experience and to move forward in your journey here.

A restorative justice conversation is a chance for you to meet your instructor to discuss the academic integrity issues, the impact of it, and work together to find a resolution that promotes learning, personal growth and prevents future breaches of academic integrity. This conversation is also an opportunity for you to express your perspective and feelings about the situation.  The conversation could be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. 

Q: Do I have to participate in a restorative justice conversation? What are the benefits of doing so?

A: Restorative justice is voluntary so you do have options.  One of the first things your instructor will be exploring is whether you are taking responsibility for the academic integrity breach. If you are taking responsibility or are unsure of whether you did breach academic integrity, a conversation with your instructor is a really good place to start. You can understand more about their concerns and you’ll have an opportunity to talk about the assignment or the test that is in question. Once the assignment or test is discussed, the conversation can move to a discussion about the impacts of academic integrity breaches and how the harm arising can be repaired and future breaches prevented. You and your instructor or Associate Dean will work together to create an agreement on how to address the academic integrity breach if it did happen. If you complete the agreement in the time you agreed upon with them, the matter will be closed. 

Some of the benefits for you as a student is that you can learn more about how to prevent academic integrity breaches in the future and how to get supports to be successful at KPU. Other benefits are that you have engaged in important problem solving with your instructor or the Associate Dean which builds a more positive relationship with you and them, as well as your relationship with KPU. 

If you choose not to have the restorative conversation, the instructor or Associate Dean will determine the appropriate resolution which could include a grade penalty or completing the academic integrity tutorial. 

Q: I didn't commit a breach of academic integrity and I have been asked to a meeting with my instructor. What do I do?

A: One of the first questions you’ll be asked in the meeting will be about the process you went through in completing the assignment that has raised questions about academic integrity for your instructor. We invite you to share openly and honestly about the process you engaged in when putting together the assignment or completing the test so there can be clarity around whether or not there was a breach. 

Sometimes breaches can be intentional, but they can also be unintentional. The conversation you’ll have with your instructor will explore your intentions and the assignment itself. 

Q: Will I get suspended as a result of a restorative justice approach?

A: No, restorative justice is an alternative to punitive sanctions like suspensions.

Q: How can I prepare for the meeting?

A: You can prepare for the meeting by thinking about and even making some notes in relation to the following questions:

  1. How did you approach completing this assignment/test? What were you thinking about at the time? What were some of the issues that might have been going on for you (stress, lack of time, uncertainty about the requirements, non-course related stresses like illness, food/housing/employment, etc.)?
  2. How have you been impacted/harmed by learning your instructor found you had breached academic integrity? Who else do you think has been impacted by this?
  3. What do you think needs to happen to address the /impact of this breach for yourself, your instructor, other students, and the KPU community?
  4. Thinking back on this breach of academic integrity, what would you do differently next time if you have a similar assignment. This could include additional steps, resources, or strategies that you would use. 

Q: What should I expect from the meeting?

A: Your instructor or Associate Dean will ask questions similar to those above and then you will work together to create an agreement to deal with the breach. You can expect to be treated with care and respect.

Q: Can I bring a support person with me?

A: Yes, you are welcome to bring a support person with you to the meeting. The role of this person is to provide you with the emotional support so you can share openly and feel supported before and after.  The support person will not be talking about the academic breach or providing input into the agreement.