Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

University of New England acts to stamp out cheating by overseas students

One thing that overseas students planning to study at Australian universities need to understand are the Australian rules on plagiarism. In essence, you must not use other people's work without attribution.

I mention this point for two reasons.

First, it is a breach of good academic practice that is banned in most universities. Secondly, and this is an important point for many overseas students studying in Australia looking to use their studies as a visa entry point, if you get caught you can lose your visa or chance at a visa.

The importance of both points has been highlighted by the firm action taken by the University of New England upon discovery of potential cheating. In the words of the University:

After suspicions regarding plagiarism by an individual student were raised and reported to UNE senior management in November 2006, a range of actions were swiftly undertaken by the University. Following confirmation that the initial allegation was indeed a case of plagiarism, a working party was formed. This working party commissioned a sample audit to determine if there were further cases of plagiarism within the unit. The results of this audit caused sufficient concern to warrant a full audit covering all students who completed the unit in question from 2004 – 2006.

These processes have revealed that, of the 210 theses involved in the unit under review, a significant proportion are alleged to be plagiarised. Having set out the allegations, these cases must now be the subject of fair process before the consideration of any penalties can be put to the University Council.

This is not the first such Australian case. The internet can make it very hard for a staff member to detect cheating on an individual basis. However, modern textual techniques do make it much easier to detect patterns of cheating once a University has been alerted.

Those who cheat not only damage themselves and their university, but also create problems for other students. The new techniques cannot always distinguish between deliberate cheating and inadvertent errors by other students in the way they present material.

1 comment:

Selva said...

All I want to do is go for three weeks to visit my brother in American visa. I know you really hate illegal immigrants and all - although I can't think why since you incarcerate them all in detention camps and keep them safely out of sight. This much paperwork could take me a lifetime to put together. Maybe I should take my tourist dollars somewhere else where it’s far more exciting and probably easier to get in - like Australia or Iraq.