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)