Tales of plagiarism, ghost-writing and contract cheating make great news headlines, but can also be a serious issue where students are under pressure, over-stretched and can’t get the support they need to progress in their course.
In these slides, Niva goes back to basics with some principles and approaches to academic integrity, including some common challenges around plagiarism, particularly with international students. Niva will also share some strategies for preventing plagiarism, including changes to assessment design and some practical activities you can try with your own students.
Perth Institute of Business and Technology
Academic integrity: Sharing ideas and strategies
• Common types of coursework-related misconduct
• Cross-cultural perspectives on academic integrity
• Preventative measures for staff and students
• Show-case of PIBT’s Professional and Academic Communication unit
• Open forum discussion (20 min.)
Professional and Academic Communication (PAC):
• The first PIBT-designed Diploma unit to receive full credits
from ECU Faculty of Business and Law
• Cohort is approximately 97% international
• Allows PIBT to design and adapt to suit changing needs of
the cohort: enhanced communication and language skills
• Designed in consultation with ELP and learning design
• Taught in a computer lab, student-centred, ‘blended’
“The lengths university students will go to cheat”, (Smith, 2015).
“Deakin University students kicked out for 'contract cheating‘”
“Thousands of university students caught cheating - but future doctors
and teachers escaped penalty because of an 'educate rather than punish
“Alarming numbers of students caught cheating at SA universities”,
• Outsourcing by purchasing work from a ‘ghost-writing’ service
• Use of online translating and paraphrasing sites
• Copying (Ctrl+C) from the internet
• Copying other students’ work
• Extensive collaboration
• Extensive edits and rewrites by friends/family
Common types of academic misconduct
• Lack of awareness of plagiarism rules
• Textbook-focused learning habits
• Rote learning and memorising traditions
• Using another author’s words as a form of respect
• Traditions of reciting poetry and revered scholarly arguments
• Collectivist cultural norms that value sharing
• Lack of confidence stating/forming own opinion
• Lack of confidence criticising ideas of experts
• Low language proficiency and insufficient paraphrasing skills
• Time pressure, work, and other commitments.
Adapted from: Leeman Bartzis, 2009
‘Plagiarism’, ‘Cheating’ , or something else?
some cross-cultural perspectives:
• Ensure students are skilled in reading, quoting, paraphrasing, and referencing
• Know your students: set up an early ‘benchmarking’ in-class writing activity
• Change assessments regularly
• Use recent events or readings in assessment topics/material
• Encourage personalised response in assessment task
• Include critical application, analysis, interpretation in assessment questions
• Scaffold assessments, allowing lecturers to monitor progress and offer
Measures to prevent misconduct –
Tips for lecturers, coordinators, and institutions
• Include marks for correct referencing
• Utilise similarity-check software (eg Turnitin) and allow students to
resubmit prior to deadline
• Exam to discourage assignment outsourcing or collusion
• Set realistic assignment deadlines
• Explain what level of collaboration is acceptable
• Become familiar with assignment writing services (online or offline) and
their mode of operation.
Measures to prevent misconduct –
Tips for lecturers, coordinators, and institutions (cont.)
• Easy to locate and use
• Difficult to detect with similarity-check software
• Widespread use
Excerpt taken from an online ghost-writing service:
“What we can do for you:
Write from materials you supply
Supplement your research in those areas that are ‘light’.
Research and write the entire script.
On demand provide additional notes, glossary of terms etc. – a bonus unique to
What we deliver to you:
A high quality, unique script totally undetectable by anti-plagiarism software. It is
custom written for you and never re-used.
On time delivery, every time.
Free amendments if your brief has not been met.
Guaranteed high quality using our verification system.”
• Essay question requires students to reflect on their own experience and
compare with research
• All research material pre-selected for the students
• Two submission points – draft and final (both graded)
• Draft submission template provided
• Project-planning (time and task management) part of the draft submission
• Finished essays not admissible as draft submission
• ‘Conduct’ criterion makes up one fifth of the mark
• Substantial misconduct penalties
• Turnitin submission (resubmission allowed until due date)
• Final submissions compared with early, in-class written assessment.
How do we do it in PAC1100D?
The design of major assignment - Essay
• ‘Reading for a purpose’ activity tailored to specific readings
• Paraphrasing and quoting – when and how to? activities
• Paraphrasing tips, step-by-step, online tutorials, and worksheets
• Specific grammar activities for paraphrasing
• Reporting verbs and phrases lists and worksheets
• Referencing videos, quizzes, and online tutorials
• Consolidating library search, paraphrasing, and referencing activity
• Editing and peer review sessions.
Additional activities to enhance academic integrity:
• Take pride in citing your sources
• Develop effective note-takinghabits
• Develop correct paraphrasingskills
• Follow the referencing rules
Message to our students:
Advice to students: How to avoid
• Reference all your sources – both direct quotes and paraphrases - in-
text and at the end text reference list
• Place quotation marks or block indent direct-quotes
• Make sure your paraphrasing is sufficiently different to the original
• Do not write your assignment with other people
• Do not allow others to copy your work or share answers
• Do not allow or pay someone else to write or edit your work
• Do not write or edit work for other students
Never give others a copy of your work; especially not an electronic copy!
Jacks, T. Deakin University students kicked out for 'contract cheating. (2016, May 18). The Age. Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/deakin-university-students-
Jeans, D. Thousands of university students caught cheating - but future doctors and teachers escaped penalty because of an 'educate rather than punish policy’. (2016, April
6). Daily Mail Australia. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3525604/Students-Adelaide-universities-cheating-future-doctors-teachers-face-light-
Kemp, M. Alarming numbers of students caught cheating at SA universities. (2016, April 6). The Advertiser. Retrieved from http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-
Leeman Bartzis, O. (2009) ‘Cheating’ or ‘Sharing’? Academic Ethics Across Cultures. In Presentation made to AACRAO Conference, Chicago. Retrieved from
Smith, A. The lengths university students will go to cheat. (2015, August 11). The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/the-