The Open University Scholarship Exchange
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How can we work with students to promote and develop good academic conduct?

Version 2 2024-07-04, 10:55
Version 1 2024-06-28, 12:50
posted on 2024-07-04, 10:55 authored by Jackie Musgrave, Diana Hardie, Sadaf Rizvi, Helen Perkins

Projects relating to academic conduct in the OU are lacking in the repository, therefore it is important to fill the gap in our understanding of this important aspect of assessment and the awarding of credit. This proposed project is important because ensuring academic rigour and upholding standards is a critical aspect of higher education institutions’ academic reputation. To uphold academic rigour and standards and to ensure that students do not gain credit for work that is not their own, it is a requirement that HEIs have policies that support this aim. However, plagiarism remains a significant threat to all HEIs, both nationally and internationally and as Curtis and Tremayne (2019) assert, it is important to continue to prevent and detect plagiarism, as well as continuing the education of students and academics in this endeavour. In ECYS, each programme has a colleague who is a named Academic Conduct Officer (ACO), this group of colleagues meets regularly to discuss and develop ACO work in the school. We are supported in this work by colleagues in other departments of the OU. Despite our efforts to promote ‘good’ academic conduct in our students, as well as responding to cases of plagiarism, there continues to be a significant number of students who are referred for investigation following their work having been detected as potentially not their own by plagiarism detection software, or referral from their tutor. The number of cases has increased during the period of lockdown, in particular, the number of cases that have been identified as originating from essay mills has increased. The increase is so significant that the QAA urges HEIs to review the options that are available to tackle the threat (QAA 2016), conducting scholarship such as the project proposed here is one option to tackle the problem. In addition, there is an increase in the number of students who are falling foul of the software detection because of sharing their work with other students, usually via social media, such as via WhatsApp groups. Therefore, there is a pressing need to investigate students’ knowledge and awareness of what can be seen a blurring between collaborative working versus collusion. The OU invest a significant resource into the prevention and identification of plagiarism and the development of ‘good’ academic conduct, however, there is a paucity of research available to enlighten our knowledge about students’ understandings of and motivation to plagiarise. Therefore, this proposed piece of scholarship will explore students’ perceptions and experiences of academic conduct processes at the OU.





  • Public document

Authorship group

  • Academic - Central
  • Associate Lecturers

Institutional priority category

  • Achieving Study Goals


  • Accessibility
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Progression
  • Student Academic Experience
  • Student Experience
  • Student Satisfaction

Subject discipline

  • Education, Childhood, Youth, and Sport

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