Academic integrity

Maintaining your integrity, or honesty, at university is as important as elsewhere in your life. Universities everywhere take academic integrity seriously and breaching it by cheating or plagiarising can end your study and impact on your work options in the future. Maintaining an honest approach to study and research is a process in which everyone is involved, from first-year students to senior lecturers, professors and researchers.

The Academic Integrity Module (AIM)

The Academic Integrity Module (AIM) is an online learning unit for all commencing Federation University students from 2022. Completing AIM is an integral part of your learning, and a task you will need to complete in the first few weeks of semester (but only once in your academic career). The three-part module will help you understand how to  act with integrity at university as it defines the skills you need to demonstrate integrity in your academic writing, such as referencing and paraphrasing. Acknowledging the work of others where it influences your ideas and writing is a matter of honesty, and it is an important characteristic of university life.

Completing it will give you the resources to succeed with integrity.

Where do you find AIM? Everywhere:

The sections below outline some of the elements in AIM.

How do I demonstrate integrity?

You can demonstrate integrity in your academic work easily, by:

  • Acknowledging the source of your ideas and material
  • Referencing and citing: show the sources you used to complete your assessment task using the referencing style required by your school
  • Learning to paraphrase and summarise effectively
  • Improving your ability to manage your timeand study needs
  • Establishing a routine to ensure you have enough time to produce good work
  • Avoiding last-minute stress that may cause you to take risks with your writing!

What is academic misconduct?

If you use someone else’s ideas, information or words without acknowledging them, then you may be charged with plagiarising as this is deemed to be academic misconduct. Other activities such as colluding with others to complete your assessment task or paying someone to write an essay for you (a friend or service) are dishonest, disrespectful and a breach of academic integrity.

Many students are unfamiliar with the writing conventions of university study when they commence, and most students do not intend to plagiarise in assessments. But even accidental plagiarism can trigger academic penalties for improper conduct.

Academic misconduct, or cheating, can take many forms:

  • Contract cheating (also known as ‘ghost writing’): using work written, in part or entirely, by another person and presenting it as your own, including text produced for free or at a cost.
  • Collusion: working with other students on an assessment and then claiming it as your own.
  • Verbatim copying: copying material word-for-word, or cutting and pasting it, and presenting it as your own without citing the source.
  • Sham paraphrasing: copying material word-for-word, or cutting and pasting it, and presenting it as a paraphrase rather than a direct quote.
  • Illicit paraphrasing: using material that is closely paraphrased or summarised, without using direct quotes or citing the source.
  • Self-plagiarism or recycling: submitting an old assignment, or parts of it, as new work without acknowledgement or permission from the Course Coordinator.
  • Bullying: taking and using work written by another and, even if edited, presenting it as your own; and where material was obtained inappropriately such as through emotional, social or physical pressure.
    (Walker, 1998)

Penalties for breaching academic integrity

If you are found to be in breach of academic integrity, there are a range of outcomes that could occur. Depending on what year of your course you are in, and other considerations, penalties may be failing the assignment, failing the entire subject and even (in extreme cases) being removed from the degree altogether.

For more information on this, read the Federation University Academic Integrity Policy.

Support services

Fortunately, Federation University has an army of support services to help you to produce your best work:

  • Student Academic Leaders (SALs) at the online ASK Desk (and on campus) can help you acquire the skills to produce your best work.
  • Chat with a Learning Skills Advisor online, any day on LSAChat.
  • Visit the online referencing tool, FedCite.

If you receive a letter notifying you of a possible breach of academic integrity, don’t panic.

And also, don’t waste time – get an appointment with Student Advocacy immediately.

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