Undergraduate Resources for the Classroom

Penn State and the Smeal College of Business offer resources to support you in your academic career and in your plans after graduation.

From online writing resources and face-to-face meetings with a writing tutor to examples of ethical dilemmas you may experience in the classroom, there are a wide range of resources available to support you in your academic career.

Writing Resources

Penn State Libraries offers a number of citation and writing guides to assist you in your writing assignments. The plagiarism prevention guide includes a tutorial to show you how to avoid plagiarism. Penn State’s Teaching and Learning with Technology also offers a tutorial on plagiarism and other resources to avoid plagiarism. If you need assistance or if you have questions about citation tools, you may contact Library Learning Services at 814-865-9257 or via e-mail.

Penn State Learning also offers a number of resources to assist students with their writing concerns, including a link to the Purdue Online Writing Lab. The Purdue Online Writing Lab offers resources in writing, research, grammar and mechanics, style guides, English as a Second Language, and job search and professional writing. The research and citation resources, as well as resources for using research namely quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing; documenting electronic sources; and avoiding plagiarism, may be particularly helpful to new college students.

If you wish to meet with a writing tutor at Penn State Learning, you may participate in drop-in tutoring or set-up a face-to-face appointment.

Ethical Dilemmas in Practice

Practice, practice, practice. In an effort to prepare for some of the ethical dilemmas that you may experience in the classroom, consider these real ethical dilemmas as well as some suggestions for handling these difficult situations: 

THE CLICKER:  You have class with your roommate on Thursday afternoons. She decides to skip and go home early for the weekend. She asks you to take her clicker to class for her.
What should you do? Tell your roommate she is asking you to commit an academic integrity violation by taking her clicker to class. You would be putting your integrity on the line and risk getting caught. You might suggest that she could wait until after class to leave for home.

THE SCHEDULE:  You just registered for your classes for next semester and one of your friends asks if you wouldn't mind "holding" a class for her until she can schedule next week.
What should you do? Although it seems like you would just be helping out a friend, you would also be preventing eligible students from registering for the class. You should decline your friends request, explaining that it wouldn't be fair to others to hold a class.

THE TEST:  After finishing your exam in the testing center, you pass a group of students in the computer lab. Some were just in the center with you and they are discussing  the test. You overhear one student say, "Thanks for the questions. I'm taking it at 3 o'clock."
What should you do? Sharing test information is an academic integrity violation. If you hear others doing so, you have an obligation to report the situation to your instructor or teaching assistant. If you know the students involved, you should identify them. If not, you can just share what you've observed so that the instructor can consider possible interventions.

THE TEAMMATES:  You are working on a group project, but only two of you are contributing to the research and PowerPoint presentation. It does not seem fair that your other two teammates will earn the same grade doing nothing.
What should you do? Adopt a shared strategy with the other contributing student. For example, tell the slackers that you do not think they deserve credit and that you intend to contact the instructor if they do not change their behavior. If the situation does not improve quickly, move forward with your plan.

THE BUS:  The bus leaves before your last class on Friday prior to Spring Break. Attendance is required in this course, but you know a few friends in the class who could take your clicker for you - just this one time.
What should you do? If you ask a friend to take your clicker, you are putting your integrity - and your friend's integrity - on the line. You might wait until after class to leave for Spring Break - taking a later bus or carpooling with a friend. Or, you might speak with your instructor about your plans.

THE ANSWERS:  While waiting at the printer, you notice that someone from your class is printing out a sheet with answers to a difficult homework assignment due tomorrow. Your friend suggests you both take the answers and quickly walk away.
What should you do? You are both putting your integrity on the line, and this is an academic integrity violation. You should not review, use, or take the answers. Instead, if you are challenged by the homework assignment, contact your instructor or TA for assistance.

THE PAPER:  One of your team members sends you her portion of the group paper. After reading it, you recognize that several paragraphs were taken directly from an online resource you had suggested that she review and reference in the paper.
What should you do? You should contact your teammate as soon as possible and explain to her that she needs to rewrite her section of the paper and properly cite the sources she used.

THE BROTHER:  In your role as a TA, one of your students - the brother of your best friend - asks to turn in an assignment late, which is not permissible. Your friend also mentions that her brother needs an A to keep his scholarship.
What should you do? It would be unfair to the other students who submitted the assignment on time. You should not accept the assignment and you should encourage the student to talk with the instructor or you if he is concerned about his performance in the class.