Academic misconduct in Australia

What is academic misconduct?

Academic misconduct also called academic dishonesty. Academic misconduct mainly refers to the three acts of fabricating, falsifying, and plagiarising in suggesting research plans, engaging in scientific research, reviewing scientific research, and reporting research results. At the same time, it also includes acts such as falsifying academic qualifications or work experience, submitting more than one manuscript, and embezzling academic achievements.

Main acts of academic misconduct:

  • Cheating
  • Cheating in examination
  • Contract cheating
  • Plagiarism
  • Collusion
  • Fraud
  • Fabrication/misrepresentation
  • Impersonating someone or being impersonated
  • Failure to meet legal, ethical, and professional obligations.
  • Theft or Damage of Intellectual Property
  • Interference with the course of instruction to the detriment of other students.
  • Forgery of an instructor’s signature on a letter of recommendation or any other document.

Cheating and Plagiarism

Cheating and plagiarism are typical behaviours of academic misconduct and the most common behaviours on schools. Cheating is a deliberate and dishonest behaviour. As far as the university is concerned, this may mean plagiarising other people’s work, asking others to write essays for students, or taking notes during exams. In addition, plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional use of another person’s work as the student’s own work without the student’s permission.

The impact of cheating and plagiarism

Some schools impose severe disciplinary sanctions on students who cheat, especially if the cheating is very bad or the student has been caught cheating before. Students may be detained for inspection, and their work will be closely monitored. The severe ones may also be suspended or even expelled from school. Students who receive such severe penalties usually have a university-level hearing, and the school is likely to write the reasons for the penalties on the student’s transcript for future prospective employers.

At the legal level, when students steal copyrighted works of others, cheating may become illegal. For example, a student infringed the copyright of the author in the process of plagiarising others.

From a personal perspective, plagiarism and cheating can seriously affect academic reputation. Cheating can continue academic careers, but cheating will bring irreparable losses to students’ future studies and work. Cheating often appears on a student’s transcript, which affects her ability to transfer to a new school or enter graduate school.

What causes the students’ academic misconduct?

  • Study habits

Ineffective study habits are the most common behavior of academic misconduct. Such as superficial reading practices and last-minute cramming.

  • Ineffective Time Management Skills or Overload

Assignments and test preparation are sometimes left to the last minute because a student has not yet worked out how to organize and prioritize the work.

  • Psychological Factors

Students will sometimes procrastinate or avoid studying, such as procrastination, or excessive stress (form parents, friends, environmental)

How does academic misconduct affect students?

  • Social consequences

In Cizek (2003), the moral consequences of cheating are discussed, including the “habit-forming” nature of cheating and the derogation of hard work, integrity, and fairness. Academic misconduct will bring a lifetime burden to the student, and he will be questioned and misunderstood throughout his life.

  • Legal Consequences

Academic misconduct, such as cheating, plagiarism, forged or forged data by students, can cause loss of intellectual property rights of others.

  • Practical problems

When students with academic dishonesty are awarded a certificate certifying that they have successfully completed a course or study plan, this can have serious consequences in the workplace. If an employer hires someone who has obtained a certificate dishonestly, the potential incompetence of the graduate will adversely affect the graduate’s alma mater-a situation that may harm the employment prospects of future graduates.

Minor or major academic misconduct

Most of the minor academic misconduct are accidental plagiarism, basically inadvertently copying text materials, or being very close to the original text will cause minor academic misconduct.

Minor violations will be handled by your coordinator, who will score your evaluation items according to the standards and explain the results. The coordinator may also interview you and explain the required standards and the measures that must be taken to ensure compliance with these standards in the future.

Major academic integrity issues are more serious. You will receive a letter detailing your allegation of misconduct and will be invited to a meeting with the Faculty and Staff Misconduct Committee. You can attend this meeting alone, or you can bring a support person or designate someone else to attend for you. Then, the Misconduct Committee will look at the evidence of misconduct and, if confirmed, will consider penalties for misconduct. Can impose a series of sanctions, including failing, suspension, withholding test scores, financial compensation or expulsion from the university

How to prevention academic misconduct

  • Plan your time correctly
  • The right way to learn
  • Pay attention to mental health
  • Keep a distance from others, electronic devices and other items suspected of cheating during the exam
  • Use for a long time before the exam and review in segments, don’t delay until the last day
  • Actively communicate with teachers, counselors and parents

What to do if a student is discovered for academic misconduct?

Don’t hide it first, admit your behaviour. If you are caught on the spot during academic misconduct, it is best to admit your mistakes directly so as not to cause you more trouble.

Secondly, open up and report to your parents. Your parents will help you, and likewise, they will be able to talk to your mentor as a mature and experienced person, thereby increasing the likelihood of being forgiven.

Thirdly, written apology. An apology is a good way to control damage and mitigate the consequences of being caught. Of course, attitude is the most important.

Then solve it with your lecturer to avoid being reported. This is a good way to mitigate the consequences of being caught when academic misconduct occurs in the school. In most cases, your tutor or lecturer will report to your superiors after discovering that you are cheating. When you are reported, you may face severe disciplinary action. Therefore, it is best to work with your lecturer to solve the problem before things get out of control.

Finally consider abandoning the course. This should be the final decision. Suspension or expulsion will change your entire learning process, not just a course. Therefore, it is best to abandon the course, because you will no longer be responsible for errors in the course. However, not all schools allow students to abandon courses after being caught cheating.

What if the student was wronged for academic misconduct or dissatisfied with the results?

If you are punished for academic misconduct, you have the right to appeal the decision, but you must appeal within 10 working days from the date of the letter informing you of the result.

During this period, you should actively communicate with parents, teachers, and counselors. If you can ask them to help you, that’s the best situation.

Then, you need to submit all the information about this incident to the Appeal Committee of the University Academic Committee. Examples of supporting materials include:

Drafts of all your homework, study logs or journals, time management table priority tasks, list of websites used and visit dates, highlighted parts of the website to indicate that appropriate citations have been applied, etc. All of these can prove that you have no evidence of academic misconduct.

But the premise is that you need to make sure that you are not deliberately causing academic misconduct, or you are not involved in academic misconduct at all.


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