If caught undertaking activities such as cheating, acts of plagiarism, acts of fabrication, recycling, colluding and falsifying data a student’s grades, continued enrolment and future employability could be seriously affected.
The severity of penalties imposed depends on whether it is a minor or major breach of the policy.
Judging if a breach of academic integrity is minor or major
The following considerations can be used to assist in assessing whether the breach is minor or major:
How much of the assessment item is in question (eg a few sentences or several paragraphs) and how many marks is the assessment item worth overall (eg 10% or 50-60%)
|At what level is the student in their course and how long has the student been at QUT. That is, a student at the beginning of first year may not be penalized as harshly for the same misdemeanor than someone who has nearly completed their degree.||The student’s exposure to the accepted practices, and cultural norms (for both domestic and international students)||The accepted practices in the student’s discipline and the extent to which these practices have been made clear to the student||Whether the student has been found to have breached the principles of academic integrity in the past|
These rules can be found at MOPP C/5.3.6, QUT's manual of policies and procedures.
Breaches of academic integrity
Minor cases of failing to maintain academic integrity include, but are not limited to
- incidental plagiarism (inadequate, incorrect or inconsistent citation and/or referencing of sources, paraphrasing too close to the original) including minor copying of material, such as copying up to a few sentences (note that this may sometimes be inadvertent, for example, if a student mistakes a verbatim transcript in their notes as their own words)
- copying of a small number of answers to questions at the end of laboratory practicals
Where it is determined that a minor breach of academic integrity has occurred, the Unit Coordinator grades the student as appropriate to the criteria for the assessment item, and provides an explanation if low marks have been given. The unit coordinator may also interview the student and explain the standards which are required and what must be done to ensure that those standards are met in the future.
The consequences of major breaches of academic integrity are much more serious.
Allegations of misconduct are put to the student in writing. Then a meeting of the university’s Discipline Committee takes place a couple of weeks later. The student may attend this meeting alone, take a support person or appoint someone else to attend for them. The Discipline Committee then looks at the evidence of the misconduct and, if proven, will consider the penalties for the misconduct. Penalties that can be imposed include failing the unit, suspension, withholding of exam results, financial restitution or permanent expulsion from the University (see MOPP Section E 8.1.8).
How can I appeal?
If a student is penalised for academic dishonesty they have the right to appeal the decision.
To appeal, the student must send a letter to the Appeals Committee of the University Academic Board within 10 working days of the date of the letter advising of the findings and penalty imposed for academic dishonesty. With this letter the student needs to include as much information supporting their case as possible. Examples of material that could be sent includes:
- all drafts
- study logs or journals
- time management sheets prioritising tasks
- list of websites used and date accessed
- highlighted parts of websites that were used in order to show that proper citation has been applied
- character testimonials
- testimonals from peers who saw the student complete the assessment item
- any notes taken for the assessment item
- list of all references used and the dates the student accessed them
The Appeals Committee (see MOPP Section E/8.1.10) would consider all relevant evidence and documentation relating to the student’s case and the penalties imposed.
The Appeals Committee has the authority, in determining the appeal, to conclude that the finding of academic dishonesty was wrong, to impose a lesser penalty or to make a finding that the required procedures for considering the case were not follow and refer it back to the relevant discipline committee or officer to be dealt with in accordance with the procedures set out in the MOPP.
The Secretary to Appeals Committee will advise the student, and relevant officers of the University as appropriate, of the outcome of the appeal