Be wise, don’t plagiarise! A team effort
Type of snapshot
Central services provision e.g. library, learning development, e-learning, ICT
What was the context for this snapshot?
The Be Wise, Don’t Plagiarise! website is an institutional teaching and learning resource which was launched in 2006 by what was then known as the Department of Educational Development. As one outcome of an institutional review of plagiarism handling procedures across the faculties it was designed to provide a central hub for academic conduct policy papers, good referencing practice guidelines and related web literacy resources and tools including training materials for the text-matching service TurnitinUK.
The site appeals to academics and students alike where non-threatening language and tone reflect the collegiate approach taken to support staff in their efforts to assist students handle information confidently and responsibly. A series of interactive information literacy skills tutorials for students offers an opportunity for self-study and self monitoring of practice.
What kind of learners were involved in accessing this provision or support?
The website is available to all members of staff and students. The holistic and transparent manner in which increasing plagiarism problems and inconsistent handling procedures across the institution’s faculties was approached is mirrored in the website itself which contains materials relevant to all participants of teaching and learning.
The interactive tutorials appeal to students who lack confidence and knowledge to handle third-party material responsibly raising awareness for copyright, web search strategies and poor referencing practice. The downloadable TurnitinUK training materials give schools the means to offer in-house training independently upon demand. The challenge remains to keep the site up to date with support and provision for handling increasingly non-traditional forms of information.
What skills or literacies were particularly being addressed?
Particular literacies addressed would include information and digital literacies. Specific reference is made throughout to the emergent challenges faced on the web including sheer volume of information, non-expert authorship, IPR and ease of access. These are married with guidance specific to the traditional challenges around responsible use of all written information including paraphrasing, summarising, citing and standard referencing norms.
Who provided the support? How was support provided?
Before the website was launched it was reviewed by the University’s Academic Conduct Officers and Napier Student Association (NSA) who offered constructive feedback and comments to content, navigation, ease of use, accuracy and coverage. Thereafter the resource entered a 6 month pilot phase during which feedback was sought from site visitors. Based on comments by staff and students selected sections were restructured and accessibility improved. Feedback continues to be actively sought on the site itself.
Benefits, outcomes, and lessons learned
Positive user feedback and ubiquity of use across the institution are evidence of its usefulness to staff and students alike. Paramount to the successful launch of the website was the central awareness-raising role it was assigned by key stakeholders after an institutional academic misconduct review highlighted handling procedure inconsistencies, poor dissemination of good practice and outdated support materials. In order to ensure an informed approach sensitive to current teaching and learning needs recommendations for such an initiative would include an institutional review of support procedures in place, level of institutional policy awareness and student literacy competency followed by a pilot launch prior to institutional rollout.