Academic honesty

Admin & academic honesty   Teaching academic honesty   Resources for your teaching
    Plagiarism in exams   Resources for student learning

Introducing students to academic honesty

Some students may have been introduced to issues related to plagiarism and how to avoid it in Orientation week through a series of lectures in the Learning to Learn program.

However, this is just the beginning of the process of teaching students about the protocols of academic honesty.

Teaching academic honesty

Academic honesty

Many students in first year do not have a clear understanding of what plagiarism is or why academic honesty is emphasised. One important aspect of academic honesty is that students use their own words to express and discuss the ideas and arguments of others. This is an essential learning skill for students to develop as it forces them to process the information they have read, thereby deepening understanding. It also allows them to demonstrate their understanding to you.

You can promote academic honesty by helping your students understand that citation of sources is a key element in the Western scholarly tradition. Draw their attention to a range of available resources on citation and referencing, and talk to them about the serious implications of not behaving ethically in the academic context.

  1. Introduce them to the University’s Plagiarism policy, and ensure that they read it. (See link in Feature Pane on the right).
    It is not enough to get them to read the policy on plagiarism and to sign a document saying that they have read it. You will also need to develop their understanding of what academic honesty and good practices entail within the context in which you are teaching them.
  2. Direct them to appropriate resources to help them learn about how to develop good practices and how to avoid bad ones. (See examples of resources for student learning below, as well as the links to other relevant parts of this site).
  3. Make sure they understand the referencing system that you expect them to use, (see resources for student learning below).
  4. Be aware that students from different educational backgrounds and cultures may have different understandings of appropriate academic practices. See these tips on teaching international students about academic honesty from the Business School’s Learning and Teaching website.

Plagiarism in multiple choice exams

When it comes to multiple choice exams and questionnaires (MCQ’s) issues can arise around academic dishonesty and cheating. Gareth Denyer & Dale Hancock, from the School of Molecular Bioscience, have devised a method for detecting dishonesty in MCQs.

If you are interested to know more about this approach the article "Multiple choice questions to combat plagiarism and encourage conceptual learning" is published on the UniServe Science website.

Gareth Denyer has also provided PowerPoint and Rich Media files of the presentation he gave on this paper at a UniServe Conference.

Resources to support your teaching

  • You will find suggestions on Encouraging academic honesty on the Teaching Insights resource provided by The Institute of Teaching and Learning (ITL).
  • Assessment design can impact academic honesty, as explained on this page from the Business School website.
  • You will find PDF and PowerPoint presentations on Minimising Plagiarism and 36 Strategies to minimise plagiarism in the Ready-to-use resources from Assessing Learning in Australian Universities on the Centre for the Study of Higher Education/Australian Universities Teaching Committee (CSHE/AUTC) website.

Resources to support student learning

  • The Library has a very student-friendly online tutorial on plagiarism and academic honesty.
  • The Library also has an online tutorial on how to reference properly.
  • While the Learning Centre does not offer a specific course on avoiding plagiarism, their workshops on building academic skills include discussions of plagiarism and how to avoid it. If you identify that plagiarism is an issue in a student’s work you can organise for them to meet with a lecturer at the Learning Centre who can assist them with developing skills in academic honesty. If you send a student to the Learning Centre, request the Learning Centre lecturer to contact you after they have met with the student.
  • The Learning Centre also has a resource for students from the Help Yourself section of their site on Using evidence, referencing and avoiding plagiarism.
  • Students can be somewhat confused about what academic honesty entails in group work situations. The Business School has some useful tips on academic honesty in group work.
  • The WriteSite has a module on referencing and citing from academic sources, including advice on quoting and paraphrasing.
  • The Student Representative Council (SRC) provides a pamphlet for students on plagiarism. Direct students to the SRC HELP pamphlets page.
  • Some faculties offer an ‘in-house’ academic honesty module that is tailored specifically to the requirements of the discipline. Check with your head of department to see if your area has one.

Administration of academic honesty issues

Policies on plagiarism and academic honesty
You will find links to University policies which address plagiarism and academic honesty in the University Links feature pane in the right-hand column of this page

In addition to these, your school or faculty may have its own policy on academic honesty and plagiarism so check with your admin officers or your Associate Dean of Learning & Teaching.

Keeping track of a student’s progress
When you advise a student that they need to develop their knowledge and skills around academic honesty, and have directed them to the relevant resources, it is a good idea to keep track of their progress to ensure they undertake the necessary courses. You may be able to use a database or similar program to ‘map’ the progress of students who have issues around plagiarism.

For information on procedures for handling allegations of academic dishonesty see University policy on Academic Dishonesty & Plagiarism in coursework procedures.

Your faculty’s admin staff will be able to advise you of any faculty administration procedures if plagiarism becomes a serious or ongoing issue with a particular student.