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EDUCATING ABOUT ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT Fintan Culwin School of Computing London South Bank University London SE1 0AA

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Presentation on theme: "EDUCATING ABOUT ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT Fintan Culwin School of Computing London South Bank University London SE1 0AA"— Presentation transcript:

1 EDUCATING ABOUT ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT Fintan Culwin School of Computing London South Bank University London SE1 0AA

2 It cannot be assumed that students new to HE are aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and why some practices are unacceptable. Hence educating about academic misconduct needs to be included in the first year curriculum. Active involvement in the educative process is preferable to being passively instructed in the intricacies of academic regulations. This activity formed part of a professional skills unit taken by all first year computing & BIT students at SBU in autumn 2002.

3 Culwin & Naylor, Pragmatic Anti-Plagiarism 3rd Annual Conference on the Teaching of Computing, Dublin, August 1995, pp An anti-plagiarism policy must have a number of components. The first is a clear indication to students of what constitutes plagiarism. collaborationcollusion copying beyond here may be cheating beyond here is cheating

4 If my washing machine could talk to my fridge, what might it say? A guest lecture on the history of computing: Led to a Web research activity: You have to research a term from the history of computing and write an article about it... The article will be published on a Web page for other students to read. Although you are being encouraged to use the Web to search for information you *MUST* consult several sources of information and the article you submit *MUST* be entirely in your own words drawing only facts and ideas from your sources. Each student was given a unique term. Illustrating individualised assignment setting and so removing the possibility of intra-corporal plagiarism.

5 Each of approx. 150 submissions was subject to automated originality checking using OrCheck technology and an originality report produced:

6 An OrCheck visualisation is an extended VAST visualisation allowing the intersection of a number of documents to be shown.

7 The reports were discussed with the students in a non- punitive manner and a guest lecture on A.M. followed.

8 First Year Professional Skills Non-Originality (n=155)

9 Final Year Project 2003, non-Originality (n=318)

10 These are low-water mark measures: not all plagiarised material will be located by any (automated or non-automated) process. the quantitative measure is conservative. the first year measurement is non-cumulative. However the shape of the high-water mark curve can be expected to follow the shapes of these curves. Leading to the conclusion: Most students are mostly honest most of the time, but a small minority are very dishonest.

11 Students were required to submit two URLs where more information could be obtained. 53 students provided a URL which contributed more than 10% of their submission. 8 students provided a URL which contributed more than 50% of their submission. The difference between these figures and the detected figures, 93 and 19 respectively, is a measure of the extent to which deception was attempted.

12 First Year Professional Skills & First Year Software Development Spearman rank order correlation n=24, rs=0.937, df=22, t=12.62, p<

13 This is (one of?) the first UK qualitative study on the extent of academic misconduct in a student population. This is an example of actively educating students about academic misconduct, which seems applicable to other subject areas. Most students are mostly honest most of the time but a small minority are very dishonest. There is some suggestion that cheating is an individual trait. Some students are so secure in their behaviour that they provide the source of the material that they have used.


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