Boise State University also states its policy on academic honesty on its website:
Section 18A - Cheating: According to BSU policy, the term “cheating” includes any "action where an individual or group either carries out or attempts to carry out dishonest work and/or where an individual or group either assists or attempts to assist an individual or group to carry out dishonest work." Among the actions that are considered "cheating" is "using or providing any unauthorized assistance in class assignments and standardized tests...unauthorized copying of class assignment...having someone else complete a class assignment....and completing a class assignment for someone else..."
Section 18B —Plagiarism: The term “plagiarism”, according to BSU's policy, is, "at its most basic level, stealing someone else’s words, composition, research, and/or ideas." It is also viewed as "cheating and theft." Plagiarism includes but is not limited to: "the use by direct quotation of another person’s work, published or unpublished, without clearly setting off the quotation and/or without full and clear acknowledgment" and "the use by paraphrase of another person’s work, published or unpublished, without full and clear acknowledgement."
Two other concepts in the context of plagiarism were "piecemeal publication" and "self-plagiarism" (APA, 2010). Thus, data that can be presented in a scope of a single publication should be presented as such; rather than in a "fragmented" form (APA, 2010). As for Self-Plagiarism, according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, researchers should not present their previous work as a new one (APA, 2010).
While every student accepted to an American university is expected to become familiar and follow these rules, it is possible that these rules can be interpreted in different ways. One of the reasons for different interpretations can be a student's cultural background.
Coming from a different cultural background myself, as well as having taught many students from different cultures, I have encountered various interpretations and, therefore, behaviour as it comes to plagiarism.
For example, when I studied toward my bachelor's degree back in Russia (it was around 2000 and we just got our first Internet access, which also made an access to published materials very easy), I remember one of our professors saying: "You can download a good paper from the Internet and submit if it matches your topic, just make sure you read it before submitting so that you learn at least something..."
Years later, having studied Intercultural Communications and become familiar with American educational system, I look back trying to reflect on that experience. From my viewpoint, high school or undergraduate students in Russia have never been taken seriously by teachers, and the students' ideas are not viewed as worth viewing. Students are not expected to develop worthy ideas and, therefore, are only expected to listen to teachers and memorize every word of the lecture so that they can produce it all back on a test or exam, word for word.
As a teacher, I have had numerous discussions with my students. Many students from Asia have also shared that they are used to memorizing materials word for word, as they were expected back home.
To continue, some other students from collectivistic cultures, where relationships are very important, do not feel comfortable telling their friends "no" on an exam or test. Even knowing the rules, putting them into practice can be extremely difficult if that changes the entire dynamic in the relationships, especially when one comes from the cultures where relationships are greatly valued.
This is not to say that international students should be treated differently if instances such as cheating or plagiarism occur, yet, teachers of international students might provide the information on the issue and the consequences, as well as resources, at the beginning of the course in order to avoid misunderstandings during the course.
The video above was created in order to introduce the concept of plagiarism, its consequences, and resources, as well as to spark a discussion on how plagiarism is viewed in American culture.
Boise State University. Code of Conduct. Retrieved from http://www.boisestate.edu/osrr/Forms/07.%20BSU%20Code%20FINAL.pdf
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2010.
Images: Google Images