Beginning this year, Georgetown University’s Honor Council is requiring all first year students to take an online tutorial, “Joining the Conversation: Scholarly Research and Academic Integrity.”

The program reviews both basic research skills and the meaning of ethical academic practices in order to ensure that students understand the university’s Honor Code. All freshmen and transfer students must complete the tutorial by Nov. 1 in order to pre-register for the spring semester. Students can find the tutorial on the Student Access+ menu.

The concept of an online tutorial or guide to research is not new here at Georgetown, as the Lauinger Library institutes a required Library Odyssey tutorial for all freshmen. The honor tutorial, however, is considered more in-depth.

Eamonn Moran (COL ’04), an honor council co-chair, said that an increase in honor code violations over the past few years has been a cause for great concern at Georgetown, leading to the implementation of the required tutorial. He hopes that the new tutorial will help students at the beginning of their college careers to become educated on issues like plagiarism, thereby reducing the number of cases brought to the council.

Moran said in regard to prosecuting students that it was “not the most pleasant of all situations, but it is our job.”

Despite this responsibility, the council is “working hard to change our image,” Moran said. He explained that they are often seen as a policing force when in actuality the council is just trying to adjudicate the honor system. To correct this common perception, the council held their first Honor Day last April and hosted an essay-writing contest on the absoluteness or relativity of integrity in an attempt to involve the student body.

Despite its two-hour length, feedback on the Scholarly Research and Academic Integrity tutorial seems to be fairly positive. Some students commented on the impressive construction of the site while others said they felt more informed as to where they might look to find resources and materials upon its completion. The tutorial aims to define plagiarism and other unethical research habits.

“Though the tutorial didn’t necessarily affect my attitude towards cheating as it was not a habit to begin with, it will have a great impact upon the quality of my research,” iriam Plachta (SFS ’07) said.

One of the methods the council plans to use in order to evaluate the success of the tutorial is to compare the number of cases brought to the honor council before and after its implementation.

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