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. At UniSA our approach to academic integrity, based on the Oxford Brookes model, is governed by Section 9 of the Assessment Policy and Procedures Manual (link opens in new window). Section 9 is designed to help academic staff and Academic Integrity Officers manage academic integrity within teaching and learning, outlining the procedures that must be followed in cases of academic misconduct.

Academic Integrity Officers (AIOs)

Each unit 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 Executive Deans, Unit boards and teaching and learning committees

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 Ruth Fazakerley (link opens in new window), Academic Developer, Teaching Innovation Unit.

Nominated Academic Integrity Officers by Unit

              * AIO available to participate in Formal Inquiries

              * AIO available to participate in Formal Inquiries

              * AIO available to participate in Formal Inquiries

Education Suzanne Mitchell
UniSA College

Anthea Fudge *
Snjezana Bilic *
Tamra Ulpen
Wahid Murad

Central mailbox:

                                                                                                                                   * AIO available to participate in Formal Inquiries

             * AIO available to participate in Formal Inquiries

       * AIO available to participate in Formal Inquiries

Understanding Academic Integrity

The Academic Integrity Module (link opens in new window) has been designed to help students understand Section 9 'Academic Integrity' in the UniSA Assessment Policies and Procedures Manual.

Turnitin and ithenticate are two tools that help promote students understanding of academic integrity.

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
  • 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.

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 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 learnonline/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 before trying to log in so that you are not prompted to ‘buy credits’ which you do not need!

Please only request an account if you are studying for a PhD, other doctorate or a Masters by Research degree. By the terms of our license, we are unable to set up accounts for students on coursework programs. 

Turnitin is an online tool that helps students’ 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 understand 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.

Staff may request access from the IT Help Desk to the Turnitin for non course submissions site in order to submit student documents for comparison by Turnitin without entering the document into the Turnitin database. (Staff and postgraduate research students wishing to review drafts of their own research work for inadvertent plagiarism should use the iThenticate tool.)

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

Reading Between the Lines: Exploring the Essay Mill Industry

This is a short documentary produced by a group of Broadcast Journalism students at Nottingham Trent University.