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What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism, as defined by Georgian College's (n.d.) Academic Regulations, is

"the representation of another's words or ideas as one’s own, in any academic work" (section 8.2.3).

This includes

  • presenting someone else's work as something you one have written,
  • summarizing, paraphrasing or quoting another’s writing or ideas without proper acknowledgement,
  • using unauthorized tools (such as artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, Quillbot, etc) to create content instead of writing/creating it yourself, unless you have permission from your professor
  • representing someone else's work or creation as your own.

Please see below for resources & services that can assist you properly cite your sources and avoid plagiarism!

Video: Plagiarism and You


Plagiarism and You

You have probably heard the term plagiarism before, but you might have questions about what it is or how it is relevant for you. This video will answer these questions so that you can avoid plagiarization in your work.

So what is plagiarism exactly?

Plagiarism is when a person presents someone else’s work as their own without giving proper credit to the original source. Even if you only use parts of a work, or you do it by accident, any time you use someone else’s work as your own without permission or without giving credit it is plagiarism. This includes copying work from online sources. 


This doesn’t just include text, it is also ideas, images, code, graphics, music, videos, inventions, and even song lyrics! This work is someone else’s intellectual property, and, just like with physical property, taking it without giving credit is theft. 

Plagiarizing at Algonquin College is considered academic dishonesty, and it reflects poorly on you if you do it. 

What counts as plagiarism?

There are many different kinds of plagiarism, including these examples:

  • Handing in an assignment that was created by someone else. Whether you reuse a friend’s project from last semester, you pay for someone else to write your essay, or you submit a design project you found online, the project isn’t your work so it is plagiarized.
  • Using material from somewhere else without citing it is also plagiarism. Some people find information on the internet and just copy and paste paragraphs into their assignment to pretend that they wrote it. You can’t use someone else’s work without giving credit to that person by citing your source.
  • Adding images, music, videos, ideas, or statistics you find into your project without giving credit is also plagiarism. If you add an image in your project, you have to include the citation for the image. You also can’t add a statistic in your project without citing where that information comes from.
  • You can also get in trouble when you paraphrase. Paraphrasing is when you change the wording of the original source but keep the general idea. You must cite paraphrasing as well, or it is plagiarism. 
  • Sharing your work with another student is also considered plagiarism. This could mean letting them look at your project, sharing an old assignment, or letting them copy the equations for your math homework. If they use your work in their own assignment, they are claiming your ideas as their own. Actually, you will also have plagiarized because you gave them the material to cheat. 


Plagiarism also includes:

  • using too much cited material or ideas so that your work is not original (even if you cite properly)
  • submitting previous assignments or pieces of previous assignments again for a different assignment.
  • plagiarising “by accident” (It is a student's job to properly cite their work and to make sure that they adhere to all academic honesty guidelines).


What are my responsibilities as a student?

You are responsible for reviewing Algonquin College’s policy on plagiarism, which you can find on the College website. It is also your responsibility not to plagiarize. So, if you plagiarize and get caught, you can’t just say, “Oh, I didn’t know I couldn’t do that” because it’s up to you to know about it. 

In the case of group work, make sure you look at what your group is handing in. If another group member plagiarized, that could affect you. The College’s policy says that all of the group members may be held responsible for plagiarism unless the plagiarism can be directly credited to a specific group member. 

What are the consequences of plagiarism?

The College policy on plagiarism lists eight possible sanctions that can be applied for plagiarism. Which sanction is applied depends on how serious the plagiarism is and whether or not it is the first time that person plagiarized.

The sanctions are: 

  1. You may have to complete a course on academic integrity.  
  2. You may have to redo the assignment.
  3. You may have to submit additional work.
  4. The assignment might count for a smaller percentage of your final grade in the class. 
  5. You may be given a grade of zero for the assignment.
  6. You may be given a grade of F for the course.
  7. You may be suspended from the program.
  8. Or you could be suspended from the College.

The consequences for plagiarism go beyond academic sanctions. Plagiarizing can damage your reputation. Plagiarizing tells people that you are not trustworthy, and it makes you seem less capable. If you plagiarize if your career, you can cause serious damage to your professional life, and there may even be legal repercussions. 

So how can I avoid plagiarizing?

The primary way to avoid plagiarism is by being honest when you work on projects, and don’t try to present anything that you haven’t created yourself as your own. If you do use something that was created by someone else, make sure to give them credit by citing the source. 

You can find information about the citation styles through the Library. The Library’s online guide ‘Citing and Referencing Sources’ has guides and tools to help you cite in APA, MLA, IEEE, and other styles. []. 

To recap:

  • Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as your own, whether it is text, images, video, ideas, or an entire assignment.
  • It is your responsibility to avoid plagiarizing.
  • The academic consequences for plagiarism range from having to take an academic integrity course to being suspended. 
  • Plagiarism can damage your reputation.
  • Avoid plagiarising by indicating where material comes from by using citations. 
  • Check out the Library Citing and Referencing subject guide for information on citation styles.

Plagiarism is serious and can affect your academic career and professional reputation. We hope this video helped you better understand plagiarism and how you can avoid it.

For more details about how Algonquin College deals with plagiarism, you can find the plagiarism policy, policy AA20, on the list of College policies at 

Video source: The Learning Portal / Le Portail d’Apprentissage. (2019, September 9). Plagiarism and you [Video].YouTube.

What is Self-plagiarism?

Self-plagiarism is defined in Georgian College's (n.d) academic regulations as:

"the resubmission of previous work, or portions thereof without the permission of the current faculty" (section 8.2.3).

This means, unless you have specific permission from your professor, you must:

  • submit original work for each class and each assignment
  • not resubmit ideas, research or writing from another assignment when preparing a new assignment
  • identify all sources used in your work - including your own - using proper citation/references


Avoiding Plagiarism - Get Help at Georgian

You can avoid plagiarism by:

  • understanding how to cite properly, and ensuring you cite every time you use someone else's ideas or words
  • reading instructions carefully and checking with your professor if you're unsure whether you must complete work on your own, or with a group/partner
  • start fresh with almost every assignment -- do not reuse work
  • visit the Writing Centre and/or Language Help Centre to further develop your writing and citation skills

Many courses at Georgian College use APA citation style. Read your assignment carefully to ensure you meet your Professor's expectations around citation.

Web-Based Resources to help you learn APA style:

In person & Virtual Help for APA Citation, Writing & Language Help

Academic Misconduct - Consequences

Penalties for Academic Misconduct range in severity, depending on the situation and the number of prior academic misconduct issues.

The initial penalties for academic integrity offences at Georgian College may include:

  • verbal warning
  • resubmitting work
  • mark of zero in the work involved

Depending on the academic misconduct, your professor may also ask you to complete additional academic integrity training, attend a workshop or seek individual help to ensure that you can learn from the mistake and move on to be successful in your future assignments.

Academic Misconduct offences are recorded by the Registrar's office.

After one or more offences, penalties increase in severity and may also include:

  • mark of zero in the course (after multiple offences)
  • suspension from the college for one or more semesters
  • dismissal from program or college for varying periods of time

Review the Georgian College Academic Integrity Regulations for full details about academic integrity and misconduct, including definitions, policies and procedures, and consequences.

Except where otherwise noted, this page is adapted from "Academic Integrity for Students" by Centennial College Libraries, licensed under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0.


Georgian College. (n.d.). 8. Academic integrity. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from