The University of Alberta's Code of Student Behaviour defines plagiarism as the following:
No Student shall submit the words, ideas, images or data of another person as the Student's own in any academic writing, essay, thesis, project, assignment, presentation or poster in a course or program of study. (from section 30.3.2(1), Plagiarism)
In other words, plagiarism is presenting the work of someone else and claiming it as your own. This can include using sources from print, online, television or radio, songs, works of art or any other medium without including a proper citation or credit to the author or creator. Often, acts of plagiarism occurring in academic environments can result in damage to your academic career or reputation, and can even result in suspension or expulsion from your program.
The University of Alberta has developed many tools and guides to help students understand plagiarism and avoid committing this act. Below are some links and resources to help get you started:
The Office of Student Judicial Affairs (OSJA) offers extensive resources for the prevention of plagiarism and has numerous resources available to help you navigate this offence.
The issue of plagiarism reaches even further, however, into the broader scope of academic integrity which includes other forms of academic misconduct, ethical collaboration, and knowing the difference between common and specific knowledge.
About Academic Integrity
From the University of Alberta's Library Guide for Academic Integrity:
Imagine that you were about to get surgery and just as you were going under, you discovered that your surgeon had cheated throughout their university career. Would you feel betrayed? What if it was your lawyer? Your accountant? Your child's teacher?
Imagine you were taking an exam and you noticed other students cheating. What would you do? What if you knew that a fellow student had plagiarized their paper and the professor was unaware of it?
All the above scenerios relate to a concept called academic integrity. As the above examples illustrate, academic integrity not only affects the climate at the university, but can also affect every other area of your life.
The Center for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity as "a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideals to action."
For more information on plagiarism and academic integrity, please review the above links or contact the University of Alberta's Office of Student Judicial Affairs.