Jon Scott from the U of Leicester reviewed the research that has been conducted by the AMBeR project about the different approaches to plagiarism penalties across the sector. He went over the tariff strategy and then introduced Jo Badge’s research into the implementation of the tariff in different universities across the sector. The discussion was focussed on some remaining issues that fall outside the benchmark tariffs as they stand. These are specifically how we deal with the following in terms of penalty:
- collusion within and between years and students
- extenuating circumstances
- a guilty plea
- large projects
- resubmission as a viable option
- career impact related to professional bodies
This generated fascinating discussion which unearthed a lot of variance in practice which itself was interesting.
In the discussion mention was made of research by Robert Clarke from Birmingham U on contract cheating which is worth looking into.
Gill Rowell from iParadigms took us back in time to 2002 to the start of the roll out of Turnitin through U of Northumbria. She reminded us of the things we were concerned about 10 years ago in comparison to now. She asked us to consider the question of what has changed in terms of institutional perspectives and the big change is that it is now much more embedded into our VLEs rather than through the website itself and a greater engagement with it online rather than printed to paper. She then turned to consider the student perspective in terms of raising student awareness and improving the ease of use. The way that Turnitin is becoming the mechanism through which their assessment is managed is also a big change for them and we know, from this project, what a big impact this is having. Finally she turned to consider staff perspectives which was quite disappointing in terms of the impact on innovative assessment design. The issue of correctly interpreting originality reports and providing training for that is also something that needs more work. In discussion we were asked to consider whether it has made a difference. It’s certain that we are identifying more instances of plagiarism than we did before its use.
Panel discussion themes
Attaching the message of academic integrity to something else that matters in the institution
Linking this clearly to discussions of ethics and unfair practice is important but complicated
Focussing on the authenticity of assessment is important
Trying to draw the lines between acceptable and unacceptable practice in terms of proof reading and translation is difficult but needs to be considered