UNCG is clearing up widespread Wildfire rumors that websites like Chegg, which provides tutoring and homework solutions, are immediate Academic Integrity Policy violations.
Wildfire is a social media app designated for students at UNCG to communicate locally. Its primary purpose is to share information quickly in emergencies and to give warnings about shady situations that could get college students into trouble.
The app also has an important role in spreading any information among the student body that other students feel their peers should know. The fairly anonymous nature of the app makes it easy for students to pass around incorrect information unchecked, particularly involving the Academic Integrity Policy.
The most common misconception spread via Wildfire about the Academic Integrity Policy is that
having an account on websites such as Chegg is an immediate violation that can get a student into serious trouble.
According to the Assistant Dean and Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibility, Robert Barker, this misconception misses the critical details. In a statement he made in an email interview on March 5th, 2021, Barker said,
“Simply having an account on those sites, including Chegg, is not an Academic Integrity Violation. The violation occurs when a student posts an assignment, test, quiz, etc. question onto one of those sites when they are not allowed to seek outside help. A violation also occurs when a student views an answer on those sites to an assignment, test, quiz, etc. when not allowed to seek outside help.”
The sites in question are homework and study-helping sites where students can get information
about the subjects they are studying. So long as outside help is permitted, they can get help with questions in their coursework. It is meant merely as a support tool and not a way to cheat.
In fact, Barker pointed out that Chegg has a clause in its terms of service that prohibits the use of the platform as unauthorized help on assignments.
According to the Chegg terms of service, “[users] may not use any of the solutions, answers, materials or information available on or through the Services, to cheat.”
Chegg also gives examples of what the platform considers cheating and is therefore prohibited;
“1. Submitting any textbook solutions from the Services as your own to any class.
2. Using our questions and answers service to complete tests or homework when instructed not to use outside help.
3. Otherwise passing along any solutions, answers, materials or information from the Services as your own.
4. Any other violation of your instructor’s or school’s academic honor code.”
When not used for cheating, these sites are perfectly fine in the eyes of the Academic Integrity Policy. Some sites, such as Bartleby, are even promoted by UNCG’s bookstore as useful study tools in their weekly emails.
However, while using academic aid sites students should be careful to obey the Academic Integrity Policy and to carefully review the terms of service of the website. Barker listed several of the sites students should be wary of such as: EduBirdie, HomeworkMarket, Socratic, Studypool and Course Hero.
Students can and should keep up to date with the Academic Integrity Policy through the website established by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. They can find a thorough and up-to-date version here.
If you or a student you know is accused of having a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy,
they should contact the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities right away and recall their rights as listed below.
STUDENT RIGHTS AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
A. Right to postpone the Faculty/Student Conference for two (2) business days.
B. Right to postpone entering a plea for two (2) business days.
C. Student is under no pressure, either overt or implied, to admit responsibility.
D. Right to plead not responsible and have the matter go through the Academic Integrity Hearing Panel process.
E. Student cannot withdraw from a class in which an Academic Integrity Violation is alleged or has occurred.
F. Student cannot grade replace a course in which an Academic Integrity Violation has occurred.
G. Student may consult with the Student Government Attorney General (234 Elliott University Center) and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (firstname.lastname@example.org).
H. Student may bring a silent support person to the Faculty-Student Conference.
I. Dishonesty as part of the Academic Integrity allegation process (including information shared during a Faculty-Student Conference) is itself a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy and student will be charged with falsification under the Academic Integrity Policy.