The end of Session 2 is on the horizon, and with more online exams and assessments than ever before, it’s a good opportunity to remind our community about Academic Integrity – what it is, what to do if you suspect a breach, and how to mitigate Academic Integrity violations in the first place.
Academic integrity reporting: a new simplified system to report a breach
ICYMI – Macquarie has a new online system to escalate any suspected breaches of Academic Integrity. Known as the Simplicity Advocate Incident System (SAIS), it has been in use for some time for complaints handling and reporting of general misconduct and has now been expanded to cover academic misconduct.
All forms of suspected academic misconduct should be reported including (but not limited to) plagiarism and copying, collusion, ghost-writing and contract cheating. Everything about this system, including what constitutes a breach, how to report it and what happens next, are outlined in this TECHE article.
Everyone should feel comfortable reporting potential breaches of academic integrity misconduct and feel confident that it will be investigated thoroughly and managed appropriately and carefully. The direct link to the form to start the reporting process can be found here.
Academic Integrity messaging to students
With breaches of academic integrity on the rise, particularly instances of contract cheating, the University has rolled out a comprehensive communications campaign to students to try to combat this.
One of the main things we’re trying to do to help students is to keep the messaging consistent. You might have already seen the short, animated explainer video we’ve produced and disseminated through student channels that forms the basis of the key messaging around cheating and academic integrity. This video has been posted on the Student homepage, and shared through The Feed weekly student newsletter as well as on the Macquarie Campus Facebook and Instagram accounts.
This campaign might seem simple, but we hope it serves as an effective reminder of what not to do, what the consequences may be, and what the alternatives are to cheating.
Alternatives to cheating – it’s not too late!
The messaging to students includes information on alternative paths to take rather than contract cheating on assignments. While final exams and assessments are nearly upon us, we are keen for students to know it’s not too late to access the resources and services available to help them, and that there are real and serious repercussions for breaches of academic integrity. Keeping this messaging consistent, don’t forget to remind students of these resources available to them to help them with their assessments, rather than see them turn to contract cheating or other academic integrity breaches. The main place to direct them to is the Learning Skills Unit assignment help page that contains links and resources to several services. All the services (except for live workshops) will be available to students until the end of Week 13. There are also past exams available for some units through the University Library.
One of the best ways to mitigate instances of inadvertent academic integrity breaches is to encourage students to read the exam requirements in their iLearn units and reminding them about the academic integrity rules that apply to their specific exams. For students sitting zoom invigilated exams, encourage them to sign up for practice zoom exams in weeks 12 and 13. They would have received an email on this, but it never hurts to reinforce the message!
All relevant student exam information can be found on the Exams webpage. This page has links to further study support resources, tips, FAQs, and includes a link to the academic integrity module section on online exams. Further information can also be found in the ‘exam period assessment’ section of each iLearn unit that has an online exam.
Exam Preparation resources for teachers – all in one place
Mathew Hillier, e-Assessment Academic from the Learning and Teaching Operations team, has recently published Top tips for teachers preparing final assessments that includes advice, guides and examples for staff preparing final assessments and exams. In terms of limiting opportunities for students to cheat, these can sometimes be mitigated in the design and presentation of the assessment or examination. While this was published and shared in September, and most assessments will have already been designed and issued, this article also includes plenty of other useful links and resources, including those around academic integrity. So, bookmark it now and have it on hand for 2022!
Thank you to the following staff who contributed to this article: Amanda Dodds (Group Marketing), Riley O’Keeffe & Jennifer Martin (Office of the DVC(A)), Dr Robyn Westcott (The Learning Skills Unit) and Mathew Hiller & Kylie Coaldrake (Learning and Teaching Staff Development).
Image Credit: Still taken from Academic Integrity video produced by the Learning Skills Unit.