Investigating plagiarism and academic integrity

Example-of-Article-Plagiarism-Diagram

Kevin Wilson, one of the Goldsmiths’ Librarians, outlines the Teaching Fellowship project being undertaken this academic year (2015-16):

Through my experiences of supporting academic staff teaching referencing to students over the last few years, I’ve worked with dozens of students, at all levels, who find referencing and plagiarism both challenging and something to be feared. In support workshops run by the Library, I teach both the principles behind referencing and the related  consequence resulting from inattention,  plagiarism and demonstrate how to use online referencing software across the academic year (both in an optional, drop-in basis and also embedded into the postgraduate curricula of Media and Communications students). I’ve seen first-hand the confidence students develop in attending these sessions, but it’s only ever a very small sample of students to whom I speak.

For my PgCert, I investigated this area more, both undertaking research into student perceptions of referencing and plagiarism and also reflecting on my own teaching practice. For the individual project, I worked with a small group of STaCS students undertaking the MA in Domestic Violence and supported the module provision in developing confidence and ability in referencing correctly and avoiding plagiarism.

The experience highlighted the importance of having a concept of ‘academic integrity’ in mind and the TaLIC Fellowship has given me the opportunity to take this area of interest even further, looking at the Goldsmiths provision within this domain and the exploration of the notion of academic integrity across the entire College.
The lurid reporting of the popular press, which has in the last few years claimed that “cheating found to be rife in British schools and universities” or that “45000 caught cheating at Britain’s universities” have served as ample motivation for the study.  Even last week, the Independent suggested “half of UK university students are losing marks for not referencing correctly”.

So far, I’ve spoken to Elisabeth Hill, Pro-Warden for Learning, Teaching & Enhancement, to learn more about the work of LTEC and discover her thoughts about these issues. Soon I’ll be meeting with Sean Cubitt and Marianne Franklin, who are joint Head of Department and Head of the Learning and Teaching Committee in Media and Communications respectively, then surveying teaching staff in the department about their thoughts and experiences. I’ll then roll this out to all academic departments across the Summer and Autumn terms.

The aim is to draw a clear picture of the experience at Goldsmiths; I also intend to make contact with staff at other institutions and learn more about what is happening elsewhere.  At the end of the project, I will make recommendations for how to take this project forward and which steps can be taken to ensure that all students are not only aware of academic integrity and plagiarism, but also feel confident around what can be a nerve-racking subject.

I’ll be speaking more about my work at the TaLIC lunchtime seminars (Summer 2016) on Wednesday 27th April.

Plagiarism (2013) Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism (Accessed: 20/04/2016)

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A performance can fail as a piece of theatre, yet excel as a piece of research!

Dr. Göze Saner, Department of Theatre and Performance, outlines the Teaching Fellowship project being undertaken this academic year (2015-16):

A performance can fail as a piece of theatre, yet excel as a piece of research!

I am mapping the place of Practice as Research (PaR) in undergraduate programmes in Drama, Theatre and Performance across the UK. At the moment, I have almost completed the overall survey, after which I will be looking more closely at a few case studies.

What PaR means, in the arts in general and in theatre and performance in particular, is still under scrutiny.  I am a practitioner researcher myself and I am very much invested in debates on how aspects of scholarly research such as knowledge, methodology, and evaluation need to be rethought and perhaps even reconfigured given the specificities of embodied practice.

How do these discussions reflect on the teaching and learning of practice in undergraduate curricula? Are we revising our modes of delivery, assessment, evaluation and feedback based on discoveries or developments in the discipline?

In my survey thus far, I have come across some innovative practices such as performed essays and student-led festivals/symposia.  Yet there seems to be space for much more!  I think we can use a PaR way of thinking:

  • to enhance our inclusivity
  • to make room for different or continuous ways of assessment
  • to encourage students to frame the aims and trajectories of their own practice
  • to fully embrace risk, experimentation, even failure
  • to focus more on process

In an environment where students are increasingly struggling under the pressure of ‘final’ assessments, I believe that an emphasis on PaR would empower students to take charge of their own learning and follow their autonomous journeys, however non-linear or erratic they may be.

 

I’ll be speaking more about this work at the TaLIC lunchtime seminars (Summer 2016) on Thursday 28th April.

Report from the Moodle UX Project

Natalie Holder, Computing MA Student, outlines the Teaching Fellowship project being undertaken with Dr Michael Grierson & Dr Marco Gilles this academic year (2015-16):

 

I am a Masters Creative Computing student at Goldsmiths and throughout my years of study I have developed an interest in user experience (UX) and user interface design and carried out work in the area. Following on from a previous project during my third year  (evaluating a potential new learning environment for Goldsmiths), I have moved on to the work of evaluating learn.gold, researching potential new features and evaluating the platform’s user experience.

The UX evaluation of learn.gold involves a summative assessment of the platform, where tests are performed to measure the usability of the product. A series of data collection methods are employed, firstly to understand usability and secondly, a user-ranked prioritisation of the various features employed throughout the interface. Two approaches have been taken:

 

Usability Studies

Usability studies evaluate the user experience of the product. A number of usability studies were carried out with Goldsmiths’ staff. The tests involve gaining qualitative data through pre-task questions, a set of tasks for participants to perform and self-reported metrics on their completion of the tasks. Each task was evaluated through usability metrics, analysing participant use, noting metrics such as task success, errors, issues etc. The studies allow analysts to draw conclusions about the extent to which a  user might successfully and consistently perform tasks on the site.

User Survey

User surveys are employed to gain quantitative data.  In this case, close attention is paid to the look and feel of the exisitng interface.  The first step requires an analysis of learn.gold which seeks to quantify the existing features and their categories. This information is used to generate questions, prompting participants to state what areas of management (e.g. academic, social, events etc) and features of each area are of most use to them.  In this instance, the survey was aimed at students and sought to rank these features in order of preference.

The use of these data-gathering methods provides information on learn.gold and the studies determine what usability issues there are, giving a clear indication of the aspects of the platform that need to be improved. The survey provides user-rankings of what are deemed to be the important considerations in different areas of the site as well as particular features which are employed most frequently.  From this analysis, a judgement about the quality of learn.gold’s design can be made and a clear rationale, if needed, for the implementation of subsequent tweaks and changes.