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Academic Integrity

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.

University of South Australia Policy

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.

Academic Integrity Officers (AIOs)

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:

  • consistent interpretation and implementation of policy
  • initial management of all reported cases of academic misconduct
  • interpretation and use of Turnitin
  • making of judgements in all reported cases of academic misconduct
  • determination of outcomes in cases where academic misconduct is established
  • regular reporting of academic integrity matters to relevant Heads of Schools, School boards and Division teaching and learning committees

Nominated Academic Integrity Officers by School

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.

Our AIOs:


Business School

Commerce Sue McGowan 
Stan Astachnowicz
Law Jane Knowler
Mia Rahim
Management 

Jane Burdett
Sandra Barker

Marketing Monica Orlovic

Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences

Art, Architecture and Design Damian Madigan
Linda Pearce 
Communication, International Studies and Languages Jenny Webber
Education Nick Manglaras 
Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy Cathy Balfour
Harry Savelsberg
Shepard Masocha

Division of Health Sciences

Health Sciences Richard McGrath
Tim Sawyer
Nursing and Midwifery Andrew  Gardner
Julie Reis
Lemuel  Pelentsov
Sandra Ullrich
Pharmacy and Medical Sciences Giordana Cross
Heather Rickard
Kirsten Staff

Division of Information Technology, Engineering and the Environment

Engineering

Alex Hariz
Kazem Abhary

Information Technology & Mathematical Sciences Anatoli Torokhti
Nick Fewster-Young
Natural and Built Environments Anthony Wood
Joan Gibbs
Rajibul Karim
Rob Freda

Academic Portfolio

UniSA College Anthea Fudge
Snjezana Bilic

Other

SAIBT Amanda Staples
Ian Atkinson

 

Turnitin logo

Turnitin 

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 wanting to upload their work to Turnitin need to contact the IT Help Desk (link opens in new window) requesting access to the Turnitin on the Post Graduate Students site (link opens in new window).

Teaching Strategies

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:

  • change all assignment tasks every study period to ensure students can't share work inappropriately
  • integrate or 'nest' assignment tasks, so students must complete one to do the next
  • build in overt opportunities to track student development, such as reporting on weekly work
  • ask for drafts – you do not need to read or comment on them, just check they exist
  • ask students to conduct in-class peer review or self-assessment of these drafts against the marking criteria
  • consider authentic assessment that reflects real-world problems and solutions; students can find these more engaging than traditional forms of assessment

Strategies for designing assignments:

  • make sure instructions and expectations are clear
  • Provide assignment discussion opportunities to identify where students are misinterpreting your intentions; include discussion about the AI implications of tasks
  • Ask the TIU's Language and Literacy team (link opens in new window) to look over tasks before publishing them; they have a lot of experience with the ways students misinterpret tasks and can help you circumvent problems
  • prescribe source texts or insist that students use the literature from the course
  • specify narrow task requirements
  • provide unique constraints, such as dates, locations, or other details
  • give each student a unique data set
  • rather than a long written paper (such as an essay or report), ask for an annotated bibliography of prescribed sources, plus an essay outline or short literature review
  • use case studies or scenarios as a basis for longer papers
  • set reflective journals or incident accounts that require specific reference to the course
  • accompany major assignments with a follow-up, in-class viva or a supervised 'meta-essay'
  • ask questions such as "which sources were most useful and why", or "why was your paper structured in this way"

Strategies for managing group assignments:

  • ensure group work is not a heavily weighted form of assessment
  • allocate individual marks, at least for a proportion of the total marks
  • in addition to the product of the group work (e.g. report, poster etc.) request records of each group's process:
  • regular logs from each group member about progress
  • a final reflection from each group member about contributions and group processes
  • online discussion forum logs that record all group discussions and decisions

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.

Exemplary Academic Integrity Project

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.

Further Resources

  • Academic Integrity Standards Project (link opens in new window); A shared understanding across the Australian higher education sector of academic integrity standards with the aim of improving the alignment of academic integrity policies and their implementation.
  • Plagiarism – A good practice guide (PDF 266kb – link opens in new window); by Jude Carroll and John Appleton. This guide offers teaching and learning-based suggestions, as well as policies and procedures for dealing with plagiarism. (JISC – Joint Information Systems Committee)

References

Carroll, J 2007, A handbook for deterring plagiarism in higher education, (link opens in new window), 2nd edn, Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, Oxford.

International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) 2010, The fundamental values of academic integrity, (link opens in new window) 2nd edn, T. Fishman (Ed.), viewed 6 April 2016