The Academic Integrity Policy makes it clear that ‘all members of the University community have a role in maintaining a positive culture that supports the values of academic integrity.

Schedule 1: Shared Responsibility for Academic Integrity outlines the differences between acceptable academic activities and those that are problematic.

What if I find or suspect a breach in my unit?

  • If plagiarism (or another type of breach) is suspected, a marker alerts the Unit Convenor, who then reviews the originality report and the various percentages taken from any ONE source. There is no set number for any percentage because of the different nature of tasks, some students retype the question, and various other factors can potentially influence a higher score.
  • The convenor will need to drill down into the actual task to make a determination based on her/ his professional judgement.
  • Seek advice from the relevant Program Director, your Deputy HoD Learning & Teaching or your Department representative on the Faculty Discipline Committee.

What action should I take?

  • If there is uncertainty about the student’s work, a clarifying interview may be held with the student/s.  Make sure notes are kept and it is best practice to have another staff member in attendance.
  • If there appears to be a clear breach, then the breach form is completed by the Unit Convenor (after all evidence has been gathered) recommending that it is escalated.
  • Please include all relevant supporting material (eg. copy of work, show the references or whatever is appropriate, Turnitin report, Unit Guide, marking criteria, notes from any meeting with student etc).
  • Please forward the form and all documents to fohs.qlt@mq.edu.au for consideration by the Chair of the Faculty Discipline Committee.
  • Unit Convenor needs to do nothing else at this stage and will be advised of the outcome of the case.

How do I know when to escalate a case to the Faculty or whether it should just be used as a learning opportunity?

If there is the potential for any academic penalty to be applied, then the case should be escalated.

Serious cases including attempts to deliberately deceive, large amounts of copied text (including copying from another student), suspected collusion, any cases of suspected ghost-writing or threatening behaviour should be escalated.

It is important to report cases so that there is a note placed on the student record and the only way that this can happen is if the case is escalated.

What happens when a case is escalated to the Faculty Discipline Committee?

There are various options available for resolution, depending on the nature of the case:   

  • Student may be given an informal warning in minor cases or a formal warning.
  • student may be given the option to accept responsibility and a sanction (eg. penalty for task);
  • student may be requested to attend a meeting of the Faculty Discipline Committee.
  • If the student is found to be responsible for a breach, this will result in a comment being placed on the student internal transcript and any further breach may result in a more serious outcome. An informal warning will not lead to a comment on the transcript.
  • Cases involving serious misconduct, fraud or a second or subsequent breach are referred automatically to the University Discipline Committee.

Who are the members of the Faculty Discipline Committee?

The committee includes an academic representative from each Department as well as the Associate Dean’s  Mitch Parsell (Chair of the Committee) & Agnes Bosanquet. Current members are Julie Fitness (Psychology), Maria Herke (Linguistics), Nathan Caruana (Cognitive Sciences) and Wayne Leahy (Educational Studies).

The Committee meets several times throughout the year as required to consider cases. Not all cases will result in the student having to attend a meeting of the Faculty Committee.

In 2018, there were 85 cases referred by Departments to the Faculty.

What penalties are applied if a student is found responsible for a breach of the academic integrity policy?

The Committee applies penalties according to the approved Schedule of Penalties and considers consistency with other precedent cases.

Indicative penalties (assuming no extenuating circumstances):

  • Low level breach with no deliberate intention to deceive – warning
  • 20% plagiarised material = 20% reduction in the allocated mark for the assessment task (or more if copying from another student)
  • 50% or more plagiarised material = Fail for task

What other help and resources are available?

Academic Integrity Policy

Student Code of Conduct

Academic Integrity Module for Students

Academic Skills Development for Students

Requesting and Managing Requests to View Turnitin Papers

Contract Cheating and Assessment Design: Exploring the Relationship

Turnitin: What is the Percentage cut-off for Plagiarism?

What else can be done to help enhance academic integrity?

In Session 1 2019 our Faculty is introducing a mandatory requirement for students to complete the Academic Integrity Module before they submit their first assignment (for all 1st year undergraduate units). The plan is for this to be rolled out University wide.

Design assessments so that current students are not able plagiarise from past students and opportunities for copying are minimised. For example, change the format (a poster instead of an essay), provide unique data sets, allow students to make it relevant to their own context, ask them to critique or plan instead of explain.

Attend the session on academic integrity presented by Loy Lising (Department of Linguistics) at the forthcoming Festival of Assessment – Wednesday 17th April Venue: 16 University Avenue 1.602 (Hearing Hub) from 10-3.30. Look out for further announcements about this event!

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Posted by Kylie Coaldrake

Learning and Teaching Development Coordinator Office of PVC (Learning and Teaching)

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