Academic Honesty and Integrity

Student Resources

"I have not given, received, or used any unauthorized assistance"

Three Things

Every CSU Student Should Know About Academic Integrity

Learn About Academic Integrity

*Student results can be forwarded to Instructors for verification of completion. Note that you should alert students that this resource assumes seven words can be copied without using quotation marks while that is not the usual standard at CSU.

Academic integrity and collaboration, what to do and not to do


Download: The "Dos" and "Don'ts" of Collaboration

Do: Work in Groups - Study Effectively - Ask - Find Tutoring

Don't: Buy Work - Share Unfairly - Deceive - Use Your Friends

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some student-friendly, common language responses to questions surrounding academic misconduct. However, you should know that, while these are paraphrased and adapted to make understanding them easier (and less scary), they should not be taken as legal advice or a substitute for the official language. These are interpretations meant to help students understand these behaviors in a general sense.

Normally, people use this as an umbrella term to describe all academic misconduct, but that’s not correct. Cheating, at CSU at least, means that a student provided or received help they weren’t supposed to have when completing graded work for the course. Who decides what is acceptable and unacceptable assistance (help) on an assignment, essay, or exam? The simple answer is the instructor. Because the instructor of a course decides what is acceptable and unacceptable help, the expectation can change from course to course. For example, you may be allowed to work with a partner at every step of an assignment in one class, and not allowed to collaborate at all in another.

In essence, plagiarism occurs when material appears in a student’s work that appeared somewhere else first (usually something that was published or submitted officially) and was represented as the student’s work without properly acknowledging the original source. This can be intentional or unintentional. In addition, plagiarism also includes so-called “double submission”: where a student submits an essay (or parts of one) in one course that they already submitted to another. Why? Although the student is the original author (and has presumably given themselves permission to use their own work), submitting the same work in two separate courses is like trying to get twice the credit for half the work. In addition, it’s a bad idea because the essay that was written for one course’s prompt usually doesn’t meet the requirements of an assignment for another course.

Simply put: a student has something they’re not supposed to have. That used to mean an instructor’s edition of the textbook (with answers or solutions provided), but today it can mean a wide array of materials (shared in-person or online). In other words, it could mean having access to a previous version of an exam (that wasn’t authorized for release), a solutions manual a student purchased from an online source, or a folder of work completed by a student who took the course in a previous term. It all boils down to this: if a student uses something that the instructor didn’t specifically approve, it could be an unauthorized academic material. The simplest way to avoid this situation if a student finds a helpful resource is to ask the instructor.


Numerous commercial websites are available for university students to download lecture notes, study guides, and other course materials. Typically they provide incentives for strong students to upload course material, with cash for each purchase by another student or in exchange for free membership or a nominal monetary credit with the service.

When it IS NOT Academic Misconduct

At CSU it is NOT academic misconduct to upload or download your personal lecture notes or personal study guides created for the course.

When It IS Academic Misconduct as defined in the Student Conduct Code

Uploading Prohibited Course Materials: Any course materials for which distribution HAS NOT been specifically allowed by your instructor for distribution to third-party sites.

Cautionary Notes about Study Guide Sites

  • These sites market themselves as study guides, but that’s not the full story.
  • Using information found on these sites is often an obvious giveaway that a student is cheating.
  • These sites also engage in the sale and distribution of the intellectual property created by our faculty, and that is wrong
  • So-called tutoring offered on these sites is also academic misconduct since getting someone else to work a problem or exam question is cheating.

But there may be other problems

Facilitation of another person’s academic misconduct is also a violation of the Student Conduct Code. In other words, “knowingly assisting another to commit an act of dishonesty,” by posting prohibited information online, is against the rules. For the complete definition of the academic misconduct, please see: The CSU Student Conduct Code

Announcing the availability of uploaded materials by using the class Canvas email list or announcements is a violation of both the:

CSU Sales and Solicitation Policy


Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for Computing & Networking Resources at Colorado State University.

Instructors should address this issue in the syllabus and in the course policies and announcements on Canvas.

Copyright Infringement

Uploading an instructor’s work product is a copyright violation issue. Examples are a PowerPoint presentation or study guide prepared by the instructor, even if it has been distributed to the class. Material directly from a textbook, such as the the chapter’s “Study Questions”, in a Study Guide posted by a student would be a copyright violation. Students may not profit from another’s work.

In additition, the Colorado Revised Statutes (§ 23-4-103) makes it illegal to offer to “prepare, sell, or distribute any term paper, dissertation, or other written material for a fee or other compensation.” For the complete text, please see below:

Title 23, Article 4, Trafficking in Academic Materials

Students get feedback on their compositions

Handing in a paper or project to satisfy an assignment in one course, generally speaking, may not be used to satisfy an assignment in another. Prior permission and clearance from the course instructor must be obtained for those instances in which it would.

Without permission the practice may properly be labeled self-plagiarism and/or academic falsification and deemed dishonest.

When a faculty member gives an assignment, the assumption is that students will create a piece of scholarship specific to that assignment; the value of the assignment being in its capacity to enhance ones skills or knowledge, not in how much mileage one might get out of it by stretching it across multiple courses.

Generally speaking, falsification involves students lying about their academic work. That can take many forms. Most often, it involves students trying to get credit for a class meeting they didn’t attend (usually having a student click in for them), but it can also involve more serious breaches in honesty. For example, falsification can also appear in the form of a student who modifies their academic materials for an adviser in an attempt to receive credit for a course they have not passed. It can also involve dishonesty in accounting for internship hours. The most important take-away about falsification is this: students should be aware that anything they say or write to a university official (instructor, administrator, adviser, etc) about their academic work should be the truth.

Facilitation means that one student helped another student commit academic misconduct. This could be as old-fashioned as sharing answers over a shoulder during an exam or as contemporary as sharing materials or answers online, via a messaging app, or some other way we can’t imagine yet. Most often, facilitation occurs when a student shares an assignment, essay, or lab report they wrote in a previous term with a student taking the course this term. It can be difficult to parse how much the student knew about how their help would be used. Ultimately, it can be up to the instructor and the hearing officer to decide. For this reason, it’s important to think carefully about what you share with others. 

Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown

Director, Academic Integrity

Academic Affairs


Phone: 970-491-2898