Academic integrity means using ideas, knowledge and information to develop your own insights, not presenting someone else's work as your own or trying to gain unfair advantage. It also means acknowledging the work of others when you include it in your work.

Behaving with academic integrity

Academic integrity is important to you and to the university. When you act with integrity you are being fair and honest, taking responsibility for your own learning. You have the opportunity to maximise your learning so you are adequately prepared for your future. Acting with integrity enables you to become a confident, capable graduate with skills and capabilities that are valued by others as you emerge as a young professional.

Academic integrity adds value to your degree and preserves your reputation as well as that of the university, so the community can have confidence in the university and its graduates.

Throughout your learning journey it is essential that you are aware of what is expected of you and how to make sure your work has integrity.

At Swinburne you are expected to conduct yourself with honesty, responsibility and fairness. You can demonstrate academic integrity by producing work that presents your own insights and which acknowledges the sources of ideas presented and cites the original work which informed it. If you are unsure there is plenty of free help available online and through support services.

Academic integrity and appropriately referencing sources of information are important not only in written work but also when:

  • writing a computer program
  • using audio, visual, graphic or photographic work
  • using objects or materials such as artefacts, designs, costumes or models, and 
  • working in groups.
AI on AI (Artificial Intelligence on Academic Integrity)

AI on AI (Artificial Intelligence on Academic Integrity)

In this video, two robots (Chip and Rosie) talk about the importance of citing sources in assignments.

How do you maintain academic integrity?

There are many ways that you can achieve and maintain academic integrity:

  • take responsibility for your learning
  • submit work that is honestly your own
  • make sure you understand how to reference your sources
  • when photocopying or making notes from texts, record all bibliographic information
  • acknowledge the ideas, contribution and work of others
  • contribute fairly to group work tasks
  • always complete tests and exams without cheating
  • ask for help from legitimate support services.
     

Things to avoid

Here are some things you should do in order to preserve your academic integrity:

  • don't leave your assignments around for others to read
  • don’t leave a computer unattended and take USB sticks out of the computers in the library or the computer labs
  • do not buy notes or assignments (this is known as contract cheating)
  • do not submit work unless it is your own
  • do not share or upload your notes where others can access or download it, as this is not your intellectual property.
     

Reusing your own assessment tasks

Students should not submit work that that been previously submitted for assessment in other units or previous attempts of units. Exceptions are made for students in VE courses if your teacher agrees that the work demonstrates competence in or prior learning of a skill.

Exam conduct

Academic integrity extends to ensuring appropriate behaviour in exams as well as in other assessments. You need to be aware of appropriate exam conduct so you can reduce stress and perform at your very best.

Referencing

Plagiarism involves submitting or presenting the ideas, writing, coding, images or other work of someone else, in whole or in part, as though it is your own work, that is, without proper acknowledgement of the source(s). By understanding and practising academic integrity you are likely to avoid plagiarising.

Swinburne uses different referencing systems depending on your course or faculty. The library has information on these recommended referencing styles. Harvard referencing style is used in many units, however, if you are studying Psychology you are likely to use APA, and for those studying Law, you will be using AGLC4.

If you are unsure which style to use check the Unit Outline for your units of study, or ask your educator regarding the preferred style for their unit.

Group work

Working in groups or collaborating can be a rewarding and enriching experience. There is a fine line between collaboration, which involves working effectively and honestly together, and collusion, which is considered as cheating and dishonest. Academic misconduct can occur in group work in several ways:

  • Gaining an unfair advantage when a student claims an equal share of the marks but
    • has done less their equal share
    • does not turn up to group meetings and/or does not contribute in group meetings
    • does not undertake their share of the work with the appropriate level of care and attention
  • Copying all or part of the work of others, or allowing others to copy your work
  • Discussing work in a group which needs to be submitted as an individual task, without permission from the assessor or acknowledgement of collaboration.
     

Commonly used terms

Here are some commonly used terms that you should understand:

  • Cheating: Behaving in a dishonest way in order to get what you want.
  • Collusion: The agreement between people to act together secretly or illegally in order to deceive or cheat.
  • Contract cheating: Occurs when a person knowingly submits work that has been completed by another person or agency.
  • Plagiarism: The process or practice of using another person's ideas or work and pretending it is your own.
  • Self-plagiarism: Reusing or recycling your own work when it has previously been submitted for assessment.

Penalties for academic misconduct

Individual assignments

If it appears that there is an irregularity in work you have submitted for assessment you will be asked for an explanation. You may receive an email advising you of this, asking you to attend a meeting with your unit convenor, course coordinator or teacher in the presence of an observer or student advocate. Following this, an investigation may be conducted and a report written. You have the right to support through Swinburne Student Life advocacy and you may request a review of the decision.

The outcomes of the investigation can include one or more of the following:

  • a caution and/or recommendation to attend an academic skills program 
  • reduction of marks for the assessment 
  • suspension or exclusion from your course 
  • recording of academic misconduct on your student file.

Where plagiarism or a breach of academic integrity is found, you will be notified within five working days of the decision.

Possible sanctions for academic misconduct are detailed in the Student Academic Misconduct Regulations 2012. You do have the right to request a review of the decision.

Group Assignments

If it has been confirmed that a student has not contributed equally to a group assignment, the unit convenor/teacher may modify the marks for that student to reflect their individual contribution. If any marks are to be modified, this process will be clearly communicated in advance, together with information that explains how individual marks are calculated.

Cheating in exams

Make sure you are well prepared for your exams and that you arrive early at the right venue. Only bring permitted materials into an exam. Never help anyone in an exam, and do not ask others to sit exams for you. More information is available on exam conduct here.

Penalties for cheating in exams are detailed in the Student Academic Misconduct Regulations 2012.

Personal risk

As well as the university penalties for academic misconduct, there are potential personal consequences, especially when purchasing study notes or assignments (also known as contract cheating). By providing your personal details to online organizations that claim to provide study support or assignment writing services, you are putting yourself at risk of identity theft and even blackmail.

These services may contact you and threaten to notify the university or your employer unless you pay them an additional ransom.

There have been several cases where ghostwriters (those who provide students with ‘sample assignments’) have directly contacted the university to notify them that students have purchased assignments from them. Avoid putting yourself at risk by using the free support services provided by the university.

Where to seek assistance

We know that students may find it difficult at first to understand the university’s requirements and expectations in relation to academic integrity so we provide you with a range of services to assist and support you.

Services available to students

Academic skills

You can find the Learning and Academic Skills (LAS) on campus or contact them via email las@swinburne.edu.au. The learning advisors can help you improve your academic and study skills, understand assignments, and prepare for exams effectively. Hawthorn students also have access to Studiosity where you can access 24/7 online study help.

At the LAS drop-in hubs, which are located at Hawthorn, Wantirna and Croydon campuses, you can get help from a learning advisor or a student learning assistant, and there's no need to make a booking.

Referencing

Navigate to the Swinburne library website where you will find a whole section on referencing including style guides and videos with lots of examples, as well as details of workshops you can attend to improve your skills.

Academic advisors

For higher education students, each faculty has dedicated Academic Development Advisors (ADAs). They help you make the most of your university experience and assist with any issues you may face during your studies.

To find out who the Academic Development Advisor is for your faculty visit talk to an academic development advisor, where you can find more information or book an appointment.

Peer assistance:

For higher education students, each faculty offers a range of Study Groups. You can also talk to Student Learning Assistants (SLAs) who are trained students who can provide one-on-one support in your specific units of study.

Support for VE students:

Contact LAS, your Unit Teacher or Course Coordinator for extra support and advice.

Resources

There are three main ways to include the ideas of others in your written work. They are quoting, paraphrasing and summarising‌. These facts sheets will assist you to work out when and how to use these techniques.

Turnitin

When you submit your written assignments through Canvas then they are usually put through the text matching software Turnitin. Turnitin uses text matching software to detect similarities between your submission and previously presented work.

The software uses a content database collected from billions of previously submitted works; from students, academic authors, databases and so on. It checks for matches with previously submitted writing, stored within various internet, academic and student paper databases (repositories).

Turnitin generates a Similarity Report which you should be able to review prior to final submission of your assessment tasks. The Similarity Report will highlight sections of your work that has been identified as being unoriginal (it is not unique to your submission). Carefully review the highlighted sections in the Similarity Report and edit these where appropriate to correct any poorly referenced sections before submitting your final version for assessment.

Avoid plagiarism and academic misconduct

If you are accessing study support from people or services other than those offered by Swinburne, be aware that this may be considered as contract cheating or academic misconduct.

The supply of contract cheating services has been banned by the Australian Government. Use this guide to help you identify and avoid using such illegal services.

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