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July 19, 2015 | by  | in News |
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Truth Telling 101

Auckland University has introduced a mandatory academic integrity test for all its students, making it the first tertiary institution in New Zealand to require a “how to not plagiarise” quiz.

The online test, which had previously been optional, aims to clarify issues surrounding what is and is not academic plagiarism. The exercise includes five topics with associated readings, quizzing students on various aspects of academic honesty.

The move came in response to uni students around the world, including in New Zealand, stepping up their forgery game.

Some students have gone so far as buying and selling answers to essays and tests and sharing photos of upcoming exams, and some British students resorted to the use of Morse code for communication during an exam.

Auckland’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor John Morrow was quick to dispel the idea that the ethics test was aimed solely at cheating. Rather, the test looks to educate students as to  “how they can use printed and published resources in an effective way in their own work”.

Auckland University students Salient spoke to agreed with the test. “It’s really helpful to ensure that people know what is and isn’t plagiarising”, adding that “most people probably need it,” said one.

However, some saw it as a slight on their capacity as students. One student called the test a “pointless waste of time”, and another said “you can usually use your common sense to work out if it’s cheating or not.”

A Victoria University spokesperson told Salient they had noted the test’s introduction at Auckland, but said Victoria “was not planning anything similar”.

However, the University’s current review of Academic Integrity will be be considering the matter of academic honesty, and the spokesperson assured Salient that “staff and students throughout the University will be consulted”.

Like Auckland, students at Vic also saw the benefits of such a test, with one student calling for a similar system to be introduced at an undergraduate level.

But the suggestion of an immediate compulsory course at Vic was quickly shot down. If introduced gradually, students said, “it wouldn’t be a bad thing”, but anything faster, “they can fuck right off with it”.

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