Academic integrity underpins all aspects of the academic enterprise, including teaching, learning and scholarship.
The International Centre for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity as "a commitment to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility", and the courage to uphold them "even in the face of adversity" (ICAI, 2014). Together, these values support the development of ethical judgements and behaviours necessary for learning, research, and professional practice.
UniSA is committed to fostering and preserving a culture of academic integrity in its teaching and scholarship, and developing students' academic integrity as part of their learning. A comprehensive policy framework guides academic assessment practices. Section 9 of the Assessment Policy and Procedures Manual (link opens in new window) deals specifically with academic integrity, and the procedures that must be followed in cases of academic misconduct.
Each school has at least one Academic Integrity Officer that oversees each case of suspected academic misconduct. Lecturers and tutors report all suspected cases to the AIO, who ensures that they are handled quickly and consistently. The Process for Academic Integrity Officers flowchart provides an overview of the process (PDF 71kb – opens in a new window).
AIOs facilitate the:
Resources for Academic Integrity Officers (link opens in new window and login required)
For research degree students, academic integrity matters are dealt with by the Deans of Research (link opens in new window). The coordination of Academic Integrity Officers across the University is managed by Dr Rowena Harper (link opens in new window), Associate Director: Curriculum Development and Support in the Teaching Innovation Unit.
Turnitin is an online tool that helps to promote in students an understanding of academic integrity.
Turnitin can be accessed easily from within learnonline course sites. All UniSA students' text-based assignments are automatically submitted to Turnitin when uploaded from a learnonline course site and are compared with millions of other documents in the Turnitin database and on the Internet. A colour-coded similarity report is generated which illustrates any matched text. This is called an 'originality report'. Every document submitted is then stored in the Turnitin database for comparison with future assignment submissions.
Short instructive videos are available for both students and staff to assist in understanding Turnitin's originality reports. The student link to the video is displayed next to their similarity score in their assignment upload screen, in Student Help on Assignments, and also in the Turnitin Help site. The staff link to the video can be found on the Gradebook and Extensions Help site. There is also a useful video (link opens in new window), produced by Oxford-Brookes University in the United Kingdom, about how to interpret Turnitin originality reports. At nearly nine minutes it is longer than the videos made by Turnitin but it is contextualised well to the academic setting. The presenter is a Senior Lecturer in Business.
Post graduate students, completing their degree by research, wanting to upload their work to Turnitin need to contact the IT Help Desk requesting access to the Turnitin on the Post Graduate Students site. Note: Post graduate students completing their degree through coursework will have access to Turnitin through their course sites.
iThenticate is an online tool from the same company that provides Turnitin and which is especially designed for academic researchers and research students. It can be used to check your own writing to prevent inadvertent plagiarism and can also be used to help develop the quality of HDR student’s writing and also the development of their own writing ‘voice’.
To use iThenticate you need to be registered, and an account can be established by emailing a request to iThenticate@unisa.edu.au from your UniSA email account.
Documents or segments of writing are easily submitted to the system and are then compared with millions of other documents in both the various iThenticate databases and also the Internet. (These are more comprehensive than those used by Turnitin.) Like Turnitin, iThenticate generates a colour-coded similarity report showing any matched text and where the original can be found. This report is usually generated within a few minutes of submission. Unlike Turnitin, submitted documents are NOT stored in the iThenticate database for comparison with future submissions. This means that documents are not compared with earlier versions of themselves and, therefore, that iThenticate can be used more easily in a developmental way.
Many supervisors report that iThenticate offers a good way of working with their research students on their writing.
If you want to know more about iThenticate a Moodle resource site has been developed. This includes sections on accessing and using iThenticate, interpreting reports, FAQs and, for those wanting more complete understanding, the full iThenticate user manual. The iThenticate website also contains useful information, but remember to register through iThenticate@unisa.edu.au before trying to log in so that you are not prompted to ‘buy credits’ which you do not need!
Good course and assessment design play a very important role in upholding academic integrity. A well designed course minimises opportunities for students to take shortcuts and bypass learning. Some common design strategies are listed below, but staff in the TIU can also help you with this process to tailor an approach that works for your course and program.
Strategies for designing a course:
Strategies for designing assignments:
Strategies for managing group assignments:
Ensure new students are familiar with UniSA's academic conventions. Point them towards the Academic Integrity for Students (link opens in new window) web site. Consider setting an early assessment activity that allows students to become aware of referencing conventions in your discipline and reinforce how to avoid plagiarism.
The University of South Australia led an Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching funded strategic commissioned project on academic integrity. The project developed support systems for identified student groups including English as an Additional Language (EAL) students, Educationally Less Prepared (ELP) students and Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students. In addition, an Academic Integrity Policy Toolkit (link opens in new window) was developed for all higher education providers to develop or review academic integrity policy.