Academic Integrity in the Digital Age

In this first module we are looking to develop an awareness of some of the issues surrounding plagiarism and unacceptable academic practice. As we know, plagiarism is a very complex subject, so it is important to think about how we define our terms and initiate constructive conversations with students on this subject. In developing this understanding as educators we also need to consider student motivations, and what may cause them to plagiarise. We will also explore ideas of academic integrity as a universal concept of scholarship as we draw parallels with educators from around the world.

These key elements will hopefully lay the foundations for our understanding of plagiarism and begin to frame the wider discourse of academic integrity.

Test your knowledge and see if you can identify plagiarism?

Which of the following is not an example of plagiarism?

  • Changing a few words of a paragraph someone else wrote
  • Borrowing an existing idea and presenting it as a new idea
  • Providing the full source for a quotation
  • Translating others' written work into another language without citation
  • None of the above

Which of the following requires proper citation?

  • When I include my own ideas that are unique to the paper I am writing.
  • When I refer to my own papers that I have previously written.
  • None of the Above

Copy and paste

  • It is acceptable to copy-and-paste a sentence written by someone else into your paper and simply add quotation marks around it.
  • It is not acceptable to copy-and-paste a sentence written by someone else into your paper and simply add quotation marks around it.

Which of the following requires proper citation?

  • When using information from crowd-sourced sources, like Wikipedia, because they are in the public domain.
  • When using information that is considered common knowledge or widely accessible (for example: most of the Earth's surface is water)
  • None of the Above

Which of the following are realistic consequences of plagiarism?

  • Ruined reputation
  • Being suspended or expelled from school
  • Losing money or job
  • Being sued or having to face jail time
  • All of the Above
  • Only A and B

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism explained

Understanding Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

About Plagiarism

pla·gia·rism  /ˈplājəˌrizəm/
  noun
1. The practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own. (dictionary.com)

The Elements of Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when someone:

1. uses words, ideas, or work products

2. attributable to another identifiable person or source

3. without attributing the work to the source from which it was obtained

4. in a situation in which there is a legitimate expectation of original authorship,

5. in order to obtain some benefit, credit, or gain which need not be monetary. 

Academic Integrity

in·teg·ri·ty  \in-ˈte-grə-tē\
  noun
1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. (dictionary.com)

The core principles of integrity create a foundation for success in all of life's endeavors. Integrity in academic settings is a fundamental component of success and growth in the classroom. It prepares students for personal and professional challenges as well as providing a blueprint for future fulfillment and success.

The International Center for Academic Integrity is committed to fostering an environment of integrity in educational institutions. Its programs seek to maintain academic integrity as the core element of education.

Why do you think students plagiarise?

Plagiarism Jigsaw - Part One

  • Ignorance
    Plagiarism is a complex idea for many students to grasp. Institutions can offer guidance on the various forms it may take with practical examples, which students can easily understand along with positively reinforcing the benefits of original writing.
  • Beating the system
    Using Turnitin to systematically promote a culture where academic integrity is the norm may help to discourage those students who just want to see if they can ‘beat the system’.
  • Irrelevant courses
    Students who feel that a particular module is not directly relevant to their final qualification can be tempted to plagiarise in order to get the required mark with the least work possible.

Plagiarism Jigsaw - Part Two

  • Improving marks
    Students with little confidence or those who feel pressurised to get high marks, often see plagiarism as a means to an end.
  • Poor time management
    Staggering assignment deadlines and providing pastoral support to help students manage their responsibilities can help to prevent a last-minute panic when they may feel pressurised into taking unacceptable shortcuts and copying work from elsewhere.
  • Poor learning environment
    If a lecturer seems disengaged with their subject and offers out of date course materials, then a student may plagiarise in order to do the work with the same minimal effort.
  • Cultural differences
    Students who come from cultures where copying verbatim is considered a mark of respect and critical thinking is not encouraged may require additional support with academic writing.

What have we learnt so far?

So far, we have looked at defining Plagiarism and Academic Integrity and also looked at why students plagiarise. Consider if there are any other reasons as to why students might feel the need to plagiarise. We would love to hear from you via our Twitter page @turnitin

Let's take a look at the different opinions of Plagiarism from around the world

Plagiarism around the world

Test your ability to identify original content in written work

Identifying original content

  • 1, 2 and 4 are examples of plagiarism
  • 2, 3 and 4 are examples of plagiarism
  • 1, 2 and 3 are examples of plagiarism
  • 1 and 2 are examples of plagiarism
  • 2 and 3 are examples of plagiarism

This is an excerpt from a review of the film Kung Fu Panda 3 which appeared in the Guardian newspaper. Below are examples of how four students have chosen to include this passage in their Film Studies assignment on Children’s Animation films.

Can you decide which of the students may be accused of plagiarism?

“Starting in the exploding mountains of the spirit realm and concluding with a spectacular musical set piece – what else but Kung Fu Fighting? – this third instalment of the animated children’s franchise knows how to impress. There’s a formidable array of stars, including JK Simmons voicing the blade-wielding bull spirit Kai, Jack Black as Po, the rotund dumpling-muncher of the title, and Dustin Hoffman returning as his diminutive guru Master Shifu. But it’s in the more intimate moments that Kung Fu Panda shines – for instance when Po discovers his biological father, and goes on a mission to embrace his panda identity, but still finds space in his life for his adoptive dad, Mr Ping, a noodle-hawking goose. With Kate Hudson putting in a cameo as a ribbon-dancing panda temptress, this is a visually sumptuous kids’ film that will also charm adults.”Example 1

The third installment of this DreamWorks saga is no less impressive than its predecessors. With a formidable array of stars, including JK Simmons voicing the blade-wielding bull spirit Kai, Jack Black as Po, the rotund dumpling-muncher of the title, and Dustin Hoffman returning as his diminutive guru Master Shifu. But it’s in the more intimate moments that Kung Fu Panda shines – for instance when Po discovers his biological father, and goes on a mission to embrace his panda identity, but still finds space in his life for his adoptive dad, Mr Ping, a noodle-hawking goose. With Kate Hudson putting in a cameo as a ribbon-dancing panda temptress, this is a visually sumptuous kids’ film that will also charm adults.

No reference is included in the bibliography.

 

Example 2

The movie Kung Fu Panda 3 features an impressive array of stars, including JK Simmons voicing the blade-wielding bull spirit Kai, Jack Black as Po, the rotund dumpling-muncher of the title, and Dustin Hoffman returning as his diminutive guru Master Shifu. But it’s in the more touching moments that Kung Fu Panda stands out – for instance when Po discovers his biological father, and goes on a mission to find his panda identity, but still finds space in his life for his adoptive dad, Mr Ping, a noodle-eating goose. With Kate Hudson putting in a performance as a ribbon-dancing panda goddess, this is a eye-catching children’s film that will also delight adults (Needham, Guardian, 2016).

No reference is included in the bibliography.

 

Example 3

Alex Needham offers this review of the new animated Kung Fu Panda 3 movie:

“Starting in the exploding mountains of the spirit realm and concluding with a spectacular musical set piece – what else but Kung Fu Fighting? – this third instalment of the animated children’s franchise knows how to impress. There’s a formidable array of stars, including JK Simmons voicing the blade-wielding bull spirit Kai, Jack Black as Po, the rotund dumpling-muncher of the title, and Dustin Hoffman returning as his diminutive guru Master Shifu. But it’s in the more intimate moments that Kung Fu Panda shines – for instance when Po discovers his biological father, and goes on a mission to embrace his panda identity, but still finds space in his life for his adoptive dad, Mr Ping, a noodle-hawking goose. With Kate Hudson putting in a cameo as a ribbon-dancing panda temptress, this is a visually sumptuous kids’ film that will also charm adults.” (Needham, 2016)

The following reference is included in the bibliography:

Needham, A. (2016) ‘Kung Fu Panda 3 review – high-kicking sequel knows how to impress’ The Guardian, 10 March [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2016).

 

Example 4

As animation films the Kung Fu Panda movies are impressive additions to the genre, and the third does not disappoint with its cast of A-list celebrities and dramatic visuals effects. Indeed one critic describes the movie as “visually sumptuous” (Needham, 2016). Beyond this it also handles with appropriate sensitivity both the main character, Po’s quest for his paternal father and also his relationship with his adopted father which has been explored in the previous two movies.

The following reference is included in the bibliography:

Needham, A. (2016) ‘Kung Fu Panda 3 review – high-kicking sequel knows how to impress’ The Guardian, 10 March [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 17 March 2016).

 

Summary

Summary

What have we learned in module 1?

 
  • We have explored definitions of both plagiarism and academic integrity and what these mean in practical terms and how these concepts fit into a wider cycle of scholarship.

 
  • We have looked at some of the factors which can lead students to intentional and unintentional plagiarism.

 
  • We have explored the importance of academic integrity with educators from around the globe.

 
  • We have considered how students can incorporate sources into their work with examples of acceptable and unacceptable practice.

 

Check out our Plagiarism Spectrum.