Plagiarism, where students present Work for assessment or publication that is not their own, without attribution or reference to the original source.
Plagiarism can be avoided. Visit the Writing Centre to receive guidance in this area.
Case study (from Semester 1 2020)
Ami (not her real name) is sitting her first year Masters level core course exam. The exam is online and open-resource. The exam asks for a definition of a key term. Ami knows that the correct definition is in her course notes so she opens the notes and cuts and pastes the definition into her exam. She doesn’t acknowledge the course notes. She thinks: “If the question is asking for a definition, it is best to use the proper definition given in the course materials – I don’t want to risk losing marks by paraphrasing or changing the definition in any way”.
Sam (not his real name) is also sitting the same exam. When tackling the same question Sam does a quick internet search and copies the answer directly from a website into his exam. He thinks: “This is an online exam so I don’t need to reference. Referencing is just for assignments”
When the teachers are marking the exam they find nearly 40 students who had identical definitions of the key term. This is picked up using Turnitin. All of the students are referred for an academic integrity investigation.
Because this is the first time an uninvigilated online exam has been used in the course the investigators decided that the students probably didn’t understand what was acceptable in an online exam and that they needed clearer guidelines so that they didn’t breach the policy.
In this case they decided that students who had copied the lecture notes had not breached the policy this time. So Ami was found not to have committed a breach of the policy. No entry was made in the Academic Integrity Register.
Students who copied from the internet were found to have committed a breach (plagiarism) but this was considered to be as a result of a genuine misunderstanding of the policy. So Sam was found to have committed a breach as a result of a genuine misunderstanding of the policy. Sam lost a few marks from his exam as a penalty. This outcome was recorded on the University’s Academic Integrity Register and will be considered if Sam is ever suspected of breaching the policy again in the future.