University plagiarism policies aimed at assuring academic integrity provide for increased vigilance and disciplinary procedures to deal with transgressions. Many policies also include guidelines to teaching staff to ensure that students are adequately informed about the meaning of plagiarism and its consequences, and about methods of citing within the particular referencing system in use. However, the experience of academic advising has indicated that receiving such information is insufficient for students who, for a variety of reasons, inadvertently lapse into plagiarism. This is particularly the case for international students for whom English is a second or additional language. A simple and not excessively timeconsuming strategy is proposed for academics to ensure that students have the opportunity to learn not only the mechanics of what they are required to do, but also the reasons for the requirements and assistance in learning the language for fulfilling these requirements. The strategy involves, firstly, the induction of students into the concept of evidence-based learning as the essential characteristic of university learning, teaching and research, and secondly, the application of a tool such as genre analysis for mastering the language of their discipline. This is an awareness and development issue that is particularly important for international students whose time within the English-speaking Australian university environment may be limited to three or four years. The proposed strategy has the potential of becoming a powerful mechanism for reducing the incidence of inadvertent plagiarism, as well as raising the overall standard of written work for an increasing range of students.
Recommended CitationMcGowan, U., Academic Integrity: An Awareness and Development Issue for Students and Staff, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 2(3), 2005.