Abstract

Perceptions of plagiarism and collusion in essays have occupied much research in academic integrity. This project explores such perceptions in relation to both text-based assessments such as essays and non-text-based assessment such as visual designs. The principal research instrument was an Australia-wide survey of academics and students who use nontext- based assessments. We find substantial differences between perceptions in the text and non-text environments. With design assessments, participants are less likely to think that basing work on that of another student, or using freely available material without referencing it, is plagiarism or collusion; but they are more likely to think that discussing tasks with others or asking others to improve their work is plagiarism/collusion. Some participants deemed particular practices acceptable despite identifying them as plagiarism/collusion, and some regarded practices as unacceptable despite not considering them to be plagiarism/collusion. As well as substantial differences in perceptions of plagiarism/collusion between text and non-text assessments, we find greater uncertainty regarding plagiarism and collusion in design assessments. This suggests a need for clear definitions of plagiarism and collusion for design assessments, and for universities to incorporate these definitions into their academic integrity policies and to implement appropriate educational strategies for academics and students.

Keywords:

Plagiarism; collusion; academic integrity; visual design; visual plagiarism; non-text-based assessment

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Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Academic integrity: differences between design assessments and essays

Perceptions of plagiarism and collusion in essays have occupied much research in academic integrity. This project explores such perceptions in relation to both text-based assessments such as essays and non-text-based assessment such as visual designs. The principal research instrument was an Australia-wide survey of academics and students who use nontext- based assessments. We find substantial differences between perceptions in the text and non-text environments. With design assessments, participants are less likely to think that basing work on that of another student, or using freely available material without referencing it, is plagiarism or collusion; but they are more likely to think that discussing tasks with others or asking others to improve their work is plagiarism/collusion. Some participants deemed particular practices acceptable despite identifying them as plagiarism/collusion, and some regarded practices as unacceptable despite not considering them to be plagiarism/collusion. As well as substantial differences in perceptions of plagiarism/collusion between text and non-text assessments, we find greater uncertainty regarding plagiarism and collusion in design assessments. This suggests a need for clear definitions of plagiarism and collusion for design assessments, and for universities to incorporate these definitions into their academic integrity policies and to implement appropriate educational strategies for academics and students.

 

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