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Find Your Own Voice Academic Integrity, Personal Reflection and Institutional Policy Jules Cassidy Chair of Academic Integrity Group Leader in Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "Find Your Own Voice Academic Integrity, Personal Reflection and Institutional Policy Jules Cassidy Chair of Academic Integrity Group Leader in Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Find Your Own Voice Academic Integrity, Personal Reflection and Institutional Policy Jules Cassidy Chair of Academic Integrity Group Leader in Learning and Teaching UEL Teaching Fellow

2 Introduction Present an institutional AI Policy Connect our institutional journey back to its origins within a single module

3 Overview Personal reflections - why did plagiarism rates rise in my module? Responses taken in module School procedures to deal with plagiarism Our institutional Academic Integrity Policy, nine principles + regulatory framework Opportunity to share best practice + innovation in assessment design to enhance AI

4 In the beginning... 2001-2 academic year Growing concern- rapid increase in plagiarism in 1 st year modules (subject area 120 cases in 01-02 cf 50 in 00-01) I reviewed my own module: - ‘Innovation Technology & Culture’ & found plagiarism rates had risen from 0% in 1999, to 18% in 2001-2 Why?

5 Recent change in assessment task for module from exam + coursework, to written coursework essays x2 Nature of subject- innovation technology attracted students who were: - Technologically aware - Used internet search engines e.g. Alta Vista (the Google of its time) Growth of internet info sources - ‘Cut & Paste’ phenomena was born

6 Other factors... Panic near deadlines/ poor time management Low confidence in own writing skills Unfamiliar with referencing formats Different cultural attitudes to ‘experts words’ ‘Rules are there to be broken’... Getting ‘one over’ on the authorities...

7 My response As Module Leader- my responsibility is to act, not blame students for cheating Researched literature Key paper: Stefani & Carroll (2001) proposed a coherent conceptual framework to deal with plagiarism Tripartite approach: 1.Effective regulation 2.Supportive information for students 3.Assessment design

8 My actions Information for students on plagiarism, referencing + bibliography in module handbook Referencing activities in seminars Emphasised critical approach to info sources - especially the internet Redesigned both module assessment tasks to be plagiarism proof

9 Assessment 1: internet research TASK: research a topic using internet + books, discuss learning from the sources, search methods used, compare quality of sources – books + journals v internet First assignment Tackles issue of internet use head on Reinforces criticality re internet sources Requires discussion of methodology Hard to plagiarise (unique topic - not in essay mills)

10 Outcome Significant drop in plagiarism rates in the module 2001-02 18% 2004-05 5% 2007-08 2% Conclusion Use of Carroll & Stefani approach effective in micro-management of a module

11 Within the School (faculty) STAFF School Plagiarism Guidelines devised standard procedures for all staff to deal with breaches of assessment inc ‘school meeting’ STUDENTS Advice, warnings, info in handbooks + lectures –What plagiarism is –How to avoid it –Serious consequences Seminar activities on identifying plagiarism Plagiarism Awareness Week - posters defining plagiarism + associated penalties

12 Students exhorted, encouraged, inspired to avoid plagiarism by valuing their own ideas & their own words FIND YOUR OWN VOICE VALUE YOUR OWN IDEAS USE YOUR OWN WORDS PLAGIARISM AWARENESS WEEK Cultural and Innovation Studies

13 Across the university Initially, similar experiences of plagiarism across modules, courses and schools... but variable responses Needed Policy to establish fairness & consistency in dealing with breaches of assessment regulations across the university - essential to ensure equality of experience for all students

14 Why Academic Integrity Policy? 1)Entails staff and students’ personal commitment to work and learning according to shared values 2)Good reputation of the university 3)Value of our degrees in the outside world 4)Development of essential skills in research and writing i.e. more than merely a response to plagiarism

15 UEL’s Academic Integrity Policy (2007) Rationale As a learning community, we recognise that the principles of truth, honesty and mutual respect are central to the pursuit of knowledge. Behaviour that undermines those principles diminishes us, both individually and collectively, and devalues our work. We are therefore committed to ensuring that every member of our University is made aware of the responsibilities s/he bears in maintaining the highest standards of academic integrity and of the steps we take to protect those standards. Our objection to plagiarism, is not simply that it amounts to theft... Of equal importance, is the understanding that plagiarism devalues creativity and undermines effective learning...

16 AI: Nine principles 1.We each take responsibility for our own work 2.We treat the work of others with respect and in accordance with good academic practice 3.We recognise that not all students will be familiar with such practice and are committed to providing support so they may learn the skills necessary for academic success 4.Teaching & support staff reinforce these, and exhibit & promote AI in all areas of their professional practice

17 5. Teaching staff are encouraged to design assessments that minimise opportunity to breach AI 6. Students’ understanding of good practice in referencing + acknowledgment of the work of others will be tested and certificated within the first semester of their studies 7. A student who has passed the test will have NO justifiable excuse for any subsequent offence of plagiarism AI: Nine principles (cont’d)

18 8. No credit will be awarded to any work that breaches our regulations. 9. All proven offences will be penalised, and in addition, anyone found guilty of an offence will be required to attend an extra training session.

19 In addition... Organise a twice yearly Academic Integrity Awareness Campaign Student AI poster competition Learning resources on VLE for staff & students e.g. AI Quiz + access to Turnitin

20 AI policy frames our revised Assessment Regulations Defines what a Breach of AI is Outlines the different types of Breaches (e.g. plagiarism, collusion, importation) Prescribes a tariff of penalties rising in severity (ranging from a warning to expulsion) Provides a procedure to be followed, includes a ‘School Meeting‘ - central to all but the most serious First Offences

21 The School Meeting Originated in my School Conducted by the leader of module in which the Breach occurs Located in pedagogic + disciplinary context Identifies for the student - relevant regulations - how they are in breach of these - agree penalty - provide counselling/ info on avoidance

22 The future... Evaluate student responses now that Policy, Procedures + Student Information/ Education resources have been implemented (university audit) Research student perspectives- ‘serial breaches’ Focus on assessment tasks to ‘design-out’ assessment offences especially plagiarism (C&S 3 rd strand/most effective / challenging!)

23 References Cassidy, J. & Grainger, T. (2007) ‘Academic Integrity Policy’, London: UEL Stefani, L. & Carroll, J. (2001) A Briefing on Plagiarism, York: LTSN

24 THANK YOU Questions /Comments ? (activity to follow...)

25 Activity TASK Chose 1 assessment task from your own subject area Is it at risk of plagiarism? How can you ‘plagiarism-proof’ it? Share with your neighbour any innovative/effective approaches.

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