The Vice-Chancellor’s Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism Taskforce1 has resulted in a number of changes that will be in place for semester 1 this year. Academic integrity is an indispensable part of good assessment and any breach of academic integrity must be regarded as a failure of education. Among the changes is a requirement for faculties to ensure that the first year of every course across the University includes at least one lecture, tutorial or similar session focused on academic integrity. For students, this should cover what academic integrity looks like within their specific discipline and as they prepare for rigorous tertiary-level study, and how it can best be achieved by students. Teachers could, for example, focus on incidents of poor practice within the discipline that have attracted media or regulatory attention and assist students with undertaking a ‘scaffolded’ assignment that teaches good writing and referencing styles as used within the discipline. A University-wide online module is also being rolled-out for all commencing students, and teachers may wish to use this as a basis for a more in-depth classroom discussion. To trial the module for yourself, send your unikey to Roman Tantiongco in the Educational Innovation (EI) team. Feedback on the module can be sent to the Office of Educational Integrity.
In addition to improving the education offered to our students on educational integrity, Unit of Study coordinators should also review the assessment offered in their units to consider how educational integrity is assured. This may involve considering the mix of assessment undertaken in the unit, and, as the unit concludes, explicitly considering any breaches that did arise during the semester before offering that Unit again.
The newly established Office of Educational Integrity will collect examples of best-practice in teaching and assessment from across the University and provide coordination and support on these and other educational integrity-related matters. An intranet page for the Office also provides more information on these and other changes to come as a result of the Taskforce’s recommendations. A student page is also being developed. Faculty-based information sessions have been scheduled across the University to run from February – March, and further support is available through the EI team on matters such as setting up and using the Learning Management System, Turnitin, and assessment design. You can also seek information on these matters from your faculty’s Educational Integrity Coordinator.
1. The Vice-Chancellor’s Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism Taskforce ran from May – November last year and made a number of recommendations which were fully endorsed by SEG, the Academic Board and Senate. This year, implementation of the resulting Educational Integrity change program is being managed through the Education Portfolio.