(Part 1 in a series of posts about Academic Integrity)

Gone are the paper forms and word docs previously used for reporting academic issues for review. There is a new online system to make it easier for Unit Convenors to escalate any suspected breaches. The new process streamlines the handling of breach cases through the Faculty and University Discipline committees.

It’s known as the Simplicity Advocate Incident System (SAIS) and has been in use for some time for complaints handling and reporting of general misconduct. It has now been expanded to cover academic misconduct. From now on academic staff across all Faculties are encouraged to use this system to report suspected breaches.

Increased usability, security, privacy and reporting 

  • No more paper documents floating around
  • Enhanced level of security protects student privacy
  • Upload an individual case or cases in bulk
  • Breach reports are only visible to Discipline Secretariat colleagues
  • Cases are automatically routed to the relevant Faculty bucket based on unit ownership
  • Chairs of Faculty Discipline Committee will have access to run reports
  • Reports can be generated at unit, Faculty or university level

If you a suspect an academic integrity breach… 

Refer to the Definitions of Academic Activities document for information on acceptable and unacceptable academic activities. 

All forms of suspected academic misconduct should be reported including: 

  • Plagiarism and copying
  • Cheating, collusion, ghost-writing, contract cheating
  • Unauthorised collaboration in producing an academic exercise
  • Providing misleading or false information and/or results
  • Impersonation, fabrication, falsification, misinterpretation and other attempts to deliberately deceive
  • Obstruction and/or sabotage
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Failure to manage risk to the safety of others
  • Conducting research without ethics approval
  • Not disclosing conflicts of interest
  • Intimidation or threatening behaviour.

To report or not to report?

Unsure whether to report it or whether it should be a learning opportunity? Here’s why we encourage you to ‘Just report it! We’ll sort it!:

  • It helps the university build a picture of academic integrity across the institution.
  • It helps to capture patterns of behaviour by individuals across units and time.
  • You don’t need to see or engage with the student yourself in order to make a report.
  • The standard is “the balance of probability” you don’t need “irrefutable proof” in order to report a suspected breach.
  • If there is the potential for an academic sanction or a formal warning to be applied, then the case should be reported and escalated.
  • If a case is substantiated, then it is important that a note is placed on the student record. This helps to capture patterns of behaviour. The only way that this can happen is if the case is reported and escalated.
  • Be assured that just because you report a breach, it doesn’t mean the student is automatically on a trajectory for the University Discipline committee – a minor breach will be handled in an educative manner. But again, please report it so the university knows about it.

Where to access the reporting system:

Via this direct link to the reporting system

From the Academic Integrity Website

There is a link at the base of all Staff pages on the MQ website which says ‘Student care and reporting’ (see image to the right).

What will the report form ask you for?

  • Your details: name & email
  • Student details: name/s and Student ID (if known)
  • Unit Code / Unit name / Faculty
  • Whether it is an Individual or bulk case
  • Assessment task and % value of the overall assessment in the unit
  • Brief explanation of nature of the academic advantage gained (ie. what sort of breach)
  • Supporting evidence (files)

Then press SUBMIT! 

What sort of supporting evidence is required?

Collect and provide as much evidence as you can. The academic integrity team will follow up further if required. Depending on the type of breach, this might include:

  • Turnitin report
  • Unit Guide and assessment information/instructions (details of the relevant assessment task)
  • Marking rubric
  • Email communications from students or other staff
  • The assessment response document/s as submitted by the student
  • Other comparative samples of the student’s work
  • Screen shots
  • iLearn logins and logs.
  • Links to websites, articles linked to the case
  • Your rationale/argument/observations

You can also report contract cheating websites or services that you come across – just provide the website link and a brief reason. 

Interviews with students – are they necessary?

In general interviews with students will be held by the academic integrity team if required. However, if you do decide that a clarifying interview is necessary, it is best practice to have another staff member in attendance (even if it’s a Zoom meeting) and to make sure notes are kept. Further advice on conducting academic integrity interviews is available from TEQSA (see page 6 onwards). 

What happens after you submit a breach report?

  1. You will receive an acknowledgement email
  2. The breach allegation is triaged by the administrative team
  3. You will be contacted if further information is required
  4. The case is discussed with the Chair of Faculty Discipline Committee
  5. A decision is made regarding how to address the breach
  6. The outcome is communicated to the student and Unit Convenor

(More on this in Part 2 of this series).

Academic Integrity is everyone’s responsibility!

The Academic Integrity Policy make it clear that we all have a responsibility to adhere to the principles and values of academic integrity. 

Further resources for staff:

Two modules have been created specifically for MQ staff and together they provide valuable resources that you can access anytime. Available now in Workday.

The Staff Academic Integrity Module (Foundation) provides an overview of academic integrity and why it matters. It looks at ways of fostering academic integrity in the classroom, detecting different types of breaches, and reporting and managing breaches.  

The Staff Academic Integrity (AI) Module (Advanced): Fostering a culture of AI across the faculty is designed to provide support for an institutional approach to academic integrity. Common barriers in the classroom are identified and possible solutions are provided. 

Academic Integrity Website 

Academic Misconduct Toolkit Wiki 

Tackling e-cheating & assessment security (a four part vidcast series by Prof. Phillip Dawson, Deakin University)

Look out for Part 2: What happens after you submit a breach report?

In Part 2 we’ll look at what happens after you submit a breach report: the end-to-end process/workflow, delegations for decision making on cases, the range of possible outcomes for students, and procedural fairness. … coming soon.

Contact your Faculty Discipline Committee

If you need further assistance, please contact your Faculty Discipline Committee secretariat. They’ll be able to guide you through the faculty-based processes including preliminary investigations.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Nerida Lithgow and team for their assistance in the creation of this article.
Header image: Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

Posted by Kylie Coaldrake

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

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