An Overview into Plagiarism and its conseqenses

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Plagiarism on IIE sites, as at all tertiary providers, is a challenge that requires both a developmental and a remedial approach. Intellectual integrity is an important value but it is naïve to assume that students arrive at a tertiary institution equipped with an understanding of the value or a mastery of the skills required to protect that value.

The Student Code of Conduct, the Assessment Policy and Manual and the referencing guide given to each student address the matter but fall short of providing a developmental and easily implementable approach to dealing with plagiarism.

Plagiarism is academic theft. Lecturers who do not deal with plagiarism in this manner are colluding with academic theft and should expect their sites to view this as a breach of the ethical standards expected of lecturers.

Often, particularly with new students, the use of the ideas of others without acknowledging the source is an act of ignorance rather than a deliberate attempt to misappropriate intellectual property. It is from this premise that this policy starts. This policy has the aim of ensuring that plagiarism is dealt with in a consistent and fair manner.

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This policy should be read in conjunction with IIE015 - Student Code of Conduct and IIE009 Assessment Policy and Assessment Manual.

WHAT IS PLAGIARISM

Plagiarism is any use of the words, ideas or images of another person without acknowledging the source. While this definition is simple on one level the reality is that ideas build on each other - the concept of standing on the shoulders of giants. There are very rarely completely unique ideas and thus it is often really difficult to speak about plagiarized ideas. It is much easier to recognise when words or images have been copied or when significant concepts (such as ego states or stages in a marketing process) are presented without the authors making it clear that they did not originally develop the concept or idea.

Also, in many schools young people are taught that their words or images have less value than those of others - rote learning for instance is often rewarded. Rote learning is plagiarism. Tertiary education thus often expects students to know that that which was rewarded at school is now wrong.

In the same way it is very difficult to work out when students intended to mislead (or steal) and when they were simply acting in ignorance. This policy starts from the premise that we need to educate students first and then hold them accountable.

Students copying work from each other (cheating) is handled in terms of the student disciplinary code/ code of conduct - this is not strictly speaking plagiarism which is generally restricted to using the words, ideas or images of others that have been published (on the net or in books or journals) without acknowledgement. Copying will thus be handled in terms of the code of conduct but because it is related to the intellectual property of others it is also flagged as a first offence in terms of this policy. Poor referencing (an attempt to reference but this being done inadequately) is not plagiarism and should be managed only with the deduction of marks as permitted by the relevant marking rubric. Lecturers need to remind students of the expected requirements in this regard.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR STUDENT EDUCATION ON PLAGIARISM

Plagiarism will not be managed effectively on a site without a team effort - each person (staff or lecturer or student) who minimises the importance of plagiarism keeps feeding a culture of academic dishonesty.

It is the responsibly of the ADC on each site to ensure that students are adequately educated and informed in this regard. In this regard, support is required from the librarians and lecturers.

It is also the responsibility of all involved with the production or dissemination of student material to ensure that they are modelling respect for the intellectual property of others.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR STAFF TRAINING ON PLAGIARISM

It is the responsibility of the ADC on each site to provide training and support to lecturing staff and to ensure that staff are equipped with the knowledge and skills to educate students, can adequately detect acts of plagiarism and that they are aware of the process to manage infringements.

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If it is brought to the attention of the site in any way that any particular lecturer is not supporting the process of eradicating plagiarism the onus is on the ADC to meet with the lecturer to discuss the reasons for this and to record on the lecturer file that there has been a problem in this regard. Repeat violations of the intention of this policy may well impact on future contracting of lecturers.

It is the responsibility of the Registrar to ensure that Heads of Programme are aware of the rights and responsibilities in relation to plagiarism and it is in turn the responsibility of Heads of Programme to ensure this is passed on to developers.

DETECTING PLAGIARISM

The following often suggest plagiarism:

Sections of text out of books or manuals that the lecturer identifies

Dramatic change in language or style of writing

Large sections of unreferenced work that refer to theory that has been taught (at the very least the manual or textbook needs to be referenced)

Students are required to read (or access third party software or other sources) in order to prepare assignments - an assignment that has large sections of unreferenced work does not meet this standard and is thus plagiarised.

The onus is on the student to produce the source of the ideas they have written about in their assignments - lecturers who suspect plagiarism need to ask the students to produce the source from which ideas were taken and if the student is unable to produce the source then the work is plagiarised. A recourse to "it is all my own work" is not acceptable because of the requirement that students read in order to prepare assignments and that the sources they have read need to be referenced.

MANAGING PLAGIARISM

This policy is implemented in accordance with a tiered approach that is consistent with a developmental approach:

information

acknowledgement

education

experience and reinforcement

discipline

INFORMATION

All sites are required to ensure that

Information sessions are held during orientation periods at the start of the year and during the year around assessment times

Posters are displayed on campus and in the library informing students of good practice and where to get assistance in learning to reference properly

Referencing guides are available in student handbooks and in the libraries

Library web pages with information on copyright and good referencing are advertised to students

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

All sites are required to ensure that all students sign the declaration below - preferably during orientation week. This document needs to be part of the official documentation pack during registration periods and a copy needs to be kept on each student's file. If the information sessions would not yet have taken place then the onus is on the site to give students a copy of this policy.

This declaration should be on the TD letterhead. (Annexure A)

Declaration

I have been informed about the seriousness of acts of plagiarism.

I understand what plagiarism is.

I am aware that the Independent Institute of Education (IIE) has a policy regarding plagiarism and that it does not accept acts of plagiarism.

I am aware that the Plagiarism Policy and the Student Code of Conduct prescribe the consequences of plagiarism.

I am aware that referencing guides are available in my student handbook or equivalent and in the library and that following them is a requirement for successful completion of my programme

I am aware that should I require support or assistance in using referencing guides to avoid plagiarism I may speak to the lecturers, the librarian or the campus ADC

I am aware of the consequences of plagiarism

____________________ ______________________ ____________________

Name Signature Date

EDUCATION

The site is responsible for reminding all lecturers teaching first courses (irrespective of the year of study) that they are required to:

Discuss referencing examples in class prior to the preparation of the first assignment and refer students to the referencing guides and where they can be obtained.

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Provide students of details of when referencing workshops are to be held on the campus y

Explain the policy - particularly that there is only one assignment per programme at the first year level where there is a developmental opportunity given to any student who plagiarises.

LEARNING THROUGH EXPERIENCE

One first semester assignment per programme will be designated by the Heads of Programme as the "experiential learning" assignment on plagiarism for that programme.

The faculty will provide class activities for the first assignment in that programme that will reinforce the requirements and expectations. Lecturers are required to communicate the need to read and to reference to all students.

If plagiarism is detected when this assignment is marked the students will be permitted to resubmit without penalty. They will be given no more than five working days to resubmit. The assignment will be marked to its full value - if it is not resubmitted a mark of 0% is entered and if it still contains plagiarised content a mark of 0% is to be entered.

(Reference: Annexure B)

From the second assignment in the first year through all other assignments for the rest of the qualification a graded, discipline based, approach will be taken.

LEVEL 1: FIRST TIME OFFENCE

(Reference: Annexure C)

As the aim of the policy is to make the management of plagiarism fair and objective this process will apply to all first time offenders irrespective of the severity of the offence.

(Note that as the first submission of the first assignment in first year is excluded from the discipline process, plagiarism in that assignment only has a penalty on second submission and is disregarded for the purposes of the rest of this policy.)

Lecturers should be encouraged not to disregard even minor plagiarism in second and subsequent assignments. Students need to be given clear feedback - irrespective of the severity or assumed intention.

The communication to students on the unacceptability of this conduct (irrespective of how minor or gross) is of paramount importance if we seek to establish better habits in our student body.

The first time incident of plagiarism needs to be managed by the lecturer and site HoD as follows:

The work should be returned without a mark and the student informed that he or she has five working days to resubmit due to plagiarism being detected.

The ADC should be cited as the contact person for the student who requires support and the ADC should be provided with a list of names of students who have been given this instruction

Failure to resubmit within the five working days will incur a mark of 0% for that assignment.

Resubmitted work that still has plagiarised sections will be given a mark of 0%.

There will be no penalty if a student does resubmit and the work should be marked as if it is the first submission but the student will be flagged on the student information system as having committed the level 1 offence.

Thus a lecturer who detects plagiarism should first check with the site HoD whether or not this is a first offence for the student concerned - if it is s/he should deal with it as above and if not, it should be dealt with as below.

LEVEL 2: REPEAT OFFENCE

(Reference: Annexure D, E and F)

If a student who has been flagged once, re-offends, the following applies.

If a student acknowledges the plagiarism the work can be resubmitted within five working days of the work being returned to the student - the student should be offered some support or training in referencing.

The mark for the resubmitted work is capped at 50% providing there is no further evidence of plagiarism - if there is the work is awarded 0%

The transgression is flagged on ALIAS as a level 2 plagiarism offence

If the student disputes the plagiarism, a committee comprising the ADC or equivalent and the course lecturer will assess the work together and ask the student to explain his or her position. The student will be required to demonstrate that the work is not plagiarised by providing the original references and showing how they are referencing in the work submitted.

If there is agreement between the two academics that plagiarism was indeed committed a mark of 0% is entered and no opportunity to resubmit is provided.

If the committee concludes that the student has not in fact plagiarised (intentionally or otherwise) the work is marked without penalty.

Students may appeal to a campus appeals committee of two other lecturers and a vice-principal within three working days of the decision of the initial committee being communicated to them. The decision of this committee is final.

The transgression is flagged on ALIAS as a level 2 plagiarism offence.

LEVEL 3: THIRD AND SUBSEQUENT OFFENCES

(Reference: Annexure F)

A third offence must be handled in terms of the student code of conduct - the penalty could include exclusion from the course. Appeals would then go to the Disciplinary Appeals Committee.

SPECIFIC ISSUES

If the delays associated with resubmission mean that a student's result cannot be calculated in time to allow sitting at the first examination session the student will attempt the examination at the second sitting (see assessment policy).

As students on short learning programmes are expected to be more mature the provisions of this policy will apply excluding the "development assignment" opportunity.

In the case of assignments completed in groups the group shares responsibility for the assignment - and thus for the plagiarism detected in the assignment. Group members need to hold each other accountable for proper referencing.

ANNEXURES

ANNEXURE A:

DECLARATION TO BE SIGNED BY ALL STUDENTS AT REGISTRATION

Declaration

I have been informed about the seriousness of acts of plagiarism.

I understand what plagiarism is.

I am aware that the Independent Institute of Education (IIE) has a policy regarding plagiarism and that it does not accept acts of plagiarism.

I am aware that the Plagiarism Policy and the Student Code of Conduct prescribe the consequences of plagiarism.

I am aware that referencing guides are available in my student handbook or equivalent and in the library and that following them is a requirement for successful completion of my programme

I am aware that should I require support or assistance in using referencing guides to avoid plagiarism I may speak to the lecturers, the librarian or the campus ADC

I am aware of the consequences of plagiarism.

____________________ ______________________ ____________________

Name Signature Date

ANNEXURE B:

FIRST ASSIGNMENT IN FIRST YEAR

Dear Student

Plagiarism

The lecturer who has assessed your assignment for the following subject ___________has noted that some or all of the work has been plagiarised. As this is the first assignment of your first year of study a developmental approach is being taken to this.

You may resubmit the assignment within five working days (your due date is _______) and it will be remarked without a penalty and no record of this infringement will be kept. If you do not resubmit your work a mark of 0% will be entered on the student information system.

You have signed a declaration that you will respect the intellectual property rights of others and will reference your work appropriately. You do not appear to have done this.

If you require support or assistance or some guidance in this regard please speak to both your lecturer and the site ADC - the ADC can assist you in mastering the skills to avoid this happening again.

If you have already submitted other work that is plagiarised you are required to bring this to the attention of your HoD immediately - you will be given five days to remedy these additional assignments also without penalty.

Please note that future infringements will carry more serious penalties - plagiarism is academic theft and needs to be handled as such.

Good luck in mastering referencing skills - they will stand you in good stead throughout your life.

ANNEXURE C:

FIRST OFFENCE (DISREGARDING THE FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF THE FIRST YEAR OF STUDY)

Dear Student

Plagiarism

The lecturer who has assessed your assignment for the following subject ____________has noted that some or all of the work appears to have been plagiarised.

In line with the IIE Policy you are being afforded one opportunity to amend this situation with no academic penalty. You may resubmit the assignment within five working days and it will be remarked without a penalty. If you do not resubmit your work a mark of 0% will be entered on the student information system.

Please note that the fact that you have been given the opportunity to resubmit is being recorded on the student information system - this means that any further incidents of plagiarism will be handled with greater penalties and consequences for you.

You have signed a declaration that you will respect the intellectual property rights of others and will reference your work appropriately. You do not appear to have done this.

If you require support or assistance or some guidance in this regard please speak to both your lecturer and the site ADC - the ADC can assist you in mastering the skills to avoid this happening again.

If you have submitted other assignments already that are also plagiarised please contact your site HoD about this and you will be permitted to resubmit these assignments also without penalty. If you do not come forward immediately with this information any future work that is viewed as plagiarised will be treated as a second offence.

Please note that future infringements will carry more serious penalties - plagiarism is academic theft and needs to be handled as such.

Good luck in mastering referencing skills - they will stand you in good stead throughout your life.

ANNEXURE D:

REPEAT OFFENCE OF PLAGIARISM

Dear Student

Plagiarism

The lecturer who has assessed your assignment for the following subject ____________has noted that some or all of the work appears to have been plagiarised.

In line with the IIE Policy you have already been given one opportunity without penalty to master the skills of referencing and avoid plagiarism.

Your rights and responsibilities in terms of this repeated offence are as follows:

If you acknowledge the plagiarism you may resubmit the work within five working days. It will be marked but your result will be capped at 50%. .

If you dispute that you have plagiarised a committee of the lecturer and the ADC will be set up to talk to you about the work. If they confirm the plagiarism a mark of 0% will be entered for the work. If they do not confirm the plagiarism the work will be marked as if no plagiarism was alleged in the first instance.

You may appeal the decision of this committee to a campus appeals committee whose decision is final. They will overturn or uphold the penalty.

Please note that the fact of this incidence is being recorded on the student information system - this means that the next incident of plagiarism involving you will be handled in terms of the Student Disciplinary Code and it may involve exclusion from the subject or programme of study.

If you require support or assistance or some guidance in this regard please speak to both your lecturer and the site ADC - the ADC can assist you in mastering the skills to avoid this happening again.

Plagiarism is academic theft and needs to be handled as such.

Good luck in mastering referencing skills - they will stand you in good stead throughout your life.

ANNEXURE E:

REPEAT OFFENCE OF PLAGIARISM - COMMITTEE

Dear Student

Plagiarism

The lecturer who has assessed your assignment for the following subject ____________ noted that some or all of the work appeared to have been plagiarised. You have not acknowledged this and appealed to a committee in this regard.

In line with the IIE Policy you have already been given one opportunity without penalty to master the skills of referencing and avoid plagiarism.

The findings of the committee are that (delete one):

You did in fact plagiarise and that a mark of 0% is to be entered for the work and you are reminded that future acts of plagiarism will be handled in terms of the Student Code of Conduct. The fact of this incident is being recorded on the student information system.

There is insufficient clear evidence of plagiarism so the penalty is withdrawn. You are however once again reminded that plagiarism is a serious academic offence and you need to remain vigilant in future. No record of this incident is being kept on the student information system.

In terms of the above your rights and responsibilities are:

You may appeal to the campus appeals committee - you need to do this in writing within 5 working days and must give the appeal to the Head of Department concerned.

You have already appealed to the campus appeals committee, whose decision is final. You are thus reminded that further plagiarism will result in a more severe process.

If you require support or assistance or some guidance in this regard please speak to both your lecturer and the site ADC - the ADC can assist you in mastering the skills to avoid this happening again.

Good luck in mastering referencing skills - they will stand you in good stead throughout your life.

ANNEXURE F:

REFERRAL OF PLAGIARISM OFFENCE TO STUDENT DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE

Dear Student

Plagiarism

The lecturer who has assessed your assignment for the following subject ____________ noted that some or all of the work appears to have been plagiarised. As the terms of the IIE Policy on Plagiarism have already been applied to you this matter is now being referred to the campus student disciplinary committee for handling in terms of the Student Code of Conduct.