How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry
Lifestyle
55 views
55 views

How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry

Joshua Harris - October 9, 2017
Sussex Sour Apples Poll
Arts
78 views
78 views

Sussex Sour Apples Poll

Bianca Serafini - September 26, 2016
10 Views

Cheating the system

Illustration by Sophie Wolfson

Plagiarism and cheating: two words that students come across again and again throughout their academic experience at Sussex.  Although it would be surprising to come across a student unfamiliar with these terms, there are serious question marks hanging over how much is really known by students about the academic misconduct process. Asking a selection of students around campus, all were aware of what plagiarism is and that it carried extremely serious penalties, yet very few were aware of the process that would happen if they were to be actually accused of deliberately copying from another student, from textbooks or from the internet. In theory, each and every fresher who joins the University should have a clear understanding of both what is considered as cheating in either exams or coursework and the process that would occur if they were to be accused. Why, then do some students seem so unclear?

Students accused of academic misconduct as Sussex must face an academic panel made up of two academics working at the University and a student representative, who for this year will be part of Kit Bradshaw’s responsibilities as Communications Officer. Whilst this is undoubtedly a very upsetting experience for students, it is important to stress that the process is as tough but fair as possible. The panel asks students whether they accept that plagiarism has occurred and ensures that students understand any allegations they face. The Chair then asks whoever is presenting the case to explain what they found when marking that led to the suspicion of academic misconduct, taking in to account any relevant mitigating circumstances, before the panel discuss and agree on an appropriate penalty. Students may bring with them representatives from the advice centre, and the communications officer’s presence on the panel aims to bring a student’s perspective to the panel itself. However, current Communications Officer Kit admits that despite being a student at Sussex, he had never heard of these panels before taking a role as Student representative. Can the fact that students seem so unaware mean that the process could be considered secretive or almost underground? There is also evidence to suggest that not all students are aware of what does and doesn’t count as misconduct when it comes to producing written work. Plagiarism is the most talked about and most common but is by no means the only offence. Collusion, or in other words, two students working together, is another example. It is important to realise that even as simple and perhaps seemingly innocent as a friend reading through an essay and suggesting further points or ideas could lead to serious trouble. Tempting as it is to join forces with others on difficult pieces of work, student must ensure everything they submit is completely their own.

There is another difficult issue facing the academic misconduct process. A considerably higher number of international students are accused of academic misconduct. Although international students make up only around a third of the entire student population, around half of all academic misconduct hearings concern those from overseas. Both academics appearing on the panels and student support services have acknowledged that this is a serious issue that needs to be looked at in considerably closer details. Interestingly, this issue has also been acknowledged by Universities across the UK and even internationally. The University of Windsor in Canada, for example, surveyed how many international students were being cited for academic misconduct when compared with their Canadian counterparts, and found that one in 53 international students had been accused compared with one in 1,122 Canadian. Clearly, a lingual and perhaps cultural barrier may lie at the heart of such a wide rooted problem. It is perhaps unsurprising that students for whom English is not their first language may find it more difficult to quote properly from academic sources or find the difference between paraphrasing and plagiarising harder to understand. Similarly, learning how to correctly use complex methods of referencing can often faze students whose mother tongue is English, a problem made a hundred times worse for students still learning a language and even an alphabet very different to their own.

Language difficulties are not the only barrier facing international students who may accidentally commit academic misconduct.  International students have always been an integral part of the University of Sussex, with students coming across the globe from over 120 different countries. However, it may be that the University has struggled to adapt quickly enough to the number of students arriving from countries from vastly different cultural outlooks, from food, to fashion – to different concepts on what is and isn’t cheating. A study carried out by the London Metropolitan University found that a significant number of Asian students had never even come across the term plagiarism before attending University. The study also uncovered an interesting cultural difference in how copying is perceived. Many international students remarked that they had been actively encouraged to copy from textbooks (although not from each other) whilst at school, believing that doing so was not cheating, but ‘complimenting’ the original author. For some, learning off by heart and reusing the information is simply what they have been told to do throughout their previous education. Whilst not an excuse for plagiarism, it is also well worth remembering that Chinese and Indian students are often subject to intense levels of pressure to achieve the highest possible grades by close relatives, a serious temptation for bending the rules regarding academic conduct.

There is no doubt that plagiarism and indeed any other kind of academic cheating is a serious offence that should be punished. In order to keep the University of Sussex a fair environment in which all students have a level playing field, it is important that any suspected cases of academic misconduct are closely looked at and analysed. The University had already taken a number of key steps to ensure that academic panels are as fair and as infrequent as possible. In June 2010, for example, both the Students Union and the University felt far too many cases of plagiarism were taken before the panels. By introducing Turnitin, a text matching tool, and offering students workshops for first cases of plagiarism, the number of cases halved from 162 in summer 2010 to 72 in summer 2011. The University also commented that ‘we know making the transition to studying at university level can be challenging especially so for students who arrive at Sussex from countries with different learning cultures, eg those who are used to rote learning. That is why we also offer international students workshops during their induction to help them prepare for studying in the UK.’ Despite these positive steps, it could be argued that further steps still need to be taken. It is vital all students across all departments clearly understand not only what counts as academic misconduct, but how the University chooses to tackle those accused. Perhaps what is needed is a more through explanation of the academic misconduct process to all but especially international students arriving at the University, to ensure everyone is aware of the consequences of cheating.

 

Words by Emily Sutherland

Most Read

Error: cannot Ajaxify WordPress Popular Posts on this theme. It's missing the id attribute on before_widget (see register_sidebar for more).

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry
Lifestyle
55 views
55 views

How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry

Joshua Harris - October 9, 2017
Sussex Sour Apples Poll
Arts
78 views
78 views

Sussex Sour Apples Poll

Bianca Serafini - September 26, 2016
16 views

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Michael Farthing paid ‘golden goodbye’ of £230,000
Campus News
46 views
Campus News
46 views

Michael Farthing paid ‘golden goodbye’ of £230,000

Deniz Karaman - December 8, 2017

Previous Vice-Chancellor of Sussex University, Michael Farthing, was paid a £230,000 sum 'in lieu of notice' upon stepping down from his role, University Financial Statements for 2016-17…

How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry
Lifestyle
55 views
Lifestyle
55 views

How My Dad Taught Me to Cook Curry

Joshua Harris - October 9, 2017

When considering the Indian cuisine, I recall my old blind friend, Jal Jamson, whom one day upon entering my house exclaimed “this sure is a veritable feast…

Sussex Sour Apples Poll
Arts
78 views
Arts
78 views

Sussex Sour Apples Poll

Bianca Serafini - September 26, 2016

Vote for your favourite film here!   [socialpoll id="2389011"]

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?
Features
Features

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?

Roisin McCormack - February 20, 2018

As it reaches a century since the defining moments of women’s suffrage, Roisin McCormack looks into how much things have really changed. Is a celebration of the…

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)
Arts
3 views
Arts
3 views

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)

Gabriel Ross - February 20, 2018

During a 2002 interview with Charlie Rose, when asked whether he is going to take some time off, Adam Sandler promptly replies, “I don’t really wanna have…

News
16 views

Live: Students’ Union decides on UCU strike backing

William Singh - February 19, 2018

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000
Campus News
30 views
Campus News
30 views

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000

Jordan Wright - February 19, 2018

On Monday 19th February, the Students’ Union Council will vote on whether or not to support the national Univerity  and College Union (UCU) strike action that is…

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review
Arts
16 views
Arts
16 views

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review

Matthew Nicholls - February 19, 2018

Three years after their last release, The Wombats are back with their long awaited fourth album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’. Since 'Glitterbug' reached number 5…

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse
Artist Focus
14 views
Artist Focus
14 views

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse

Louisa Hunt - February 19, 2018

Ella Barkhouse is a second-year Brighton student, studying Fine Art: Critical Practice course. Her work ranges across all sorts of media, from some more traditional writing, drawing…

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February
Books
52 views
Books
52 views

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February

Shiri Reuben - February 19, 2018

  Throughout the month of February, LGBT History Month aims to promote tolerance and spread awareness of the historical and present-day prejudices faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual…

Planned new Life Sciences building ‘axed’
Campus News
54 views
Campus News
54 views

Planned new Life Sciences building ‘axed’

Anonymous - February 16, 2018

The University of Sussex’s longstanding plans to construct a new Life Sciences building in the east end of the Science Car Park have been axed, The Badger…

The Badger chats to Sussex Show Choir
Arts
33 views
Arts
33 views

The Badger chats to Sussex Show Choir

Georgia Grace - February 16, 2018

Theatre Editor Georgia Grace spoke with one of the University’s major performing arts societies Show Choir about what they’ve been up to over the previous months, and…

Russian State Ballet of Siberia comes to the Theatre Royal Brighton
Arts
33 views
Arts
33 views

Russian State Ballet of Siberia comes to the Theatre Royal Brighton

Georgia Grace - February 16, 2018

Next week, Theatre Royal Brighton hosts the Russian State Ballet of Siberia for three phenomenal performances across three consecutive nights: Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and Swan Lake.…

I, Tonya Review
Arts
40 views
Arts
40 views

I, Tonya Review

Michael Humphreys - February 16, 2018

Having made her name in The Wolf of Wall Street as well as starring in disasters such as Suicide Squad, Margot Robbie’s career has been less than…

The Badger Reviews: Star Trek Discovery
Arts
37 views
Arts
37 views

The Badger Reviews: Star Trek Discovery

Sophie Coppenhall - February 16, 2018

  [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8KGLdIMtHQ[/embed] This week, Sophie our film editor, reviews season one of Star Trek Discovery. Have you seen it? What did you think? Leave us a comment…

Campus News
50 views

News like Badger: Union U-turn over referendum to support strike action, new east slope and more

William Singh - February 16, 2018

In this news round up of the week, Will and Jordan catch you up on everything going on around campus. Thanks for listening, and tune in next…

Comment
34 views

Comment Cast: The US is leaving the Paris Climate Agreement- but does it really matter?

Will Cronk - February 16, 2018

In this episode Will and Julian debate whether or not the US leaving the Paris Climate Agreement really matters. Thanks for listening and tune in for more…

Arts
43 views

Arts Podcast: A chat about the upcoming Oscars

Alex Leissle - February 15, 2018

This week our Arts editor sits down with the Sophie, our in house film expert, to chat about the upcoming Academy awards! Thanks for listening! Tune in…

Sussex Cup to replace varsity
Campus News
75 views
Campus News
75 views

Sussex Cup to replace varsity

Deniz Karaman - February 14, 2018

This April the University of Sussex Students' Union will be hosting the first Sussex Cup. The Cup has been organised to replace the annual varsity games that were…

Students petition university for strike hardship fund
Campus News
66 views
Campus News
66 views

Students petition university for strike hardship fund

Jessica Hubbard - February 13, 2018

Sussex students have started a petition to the University of Sussex requesting that wages that would have been paid to striking staff be placed instead into a…

Oscars 2018: how progressive are Hollywood’s most prestigious awards?
Features
50 views
Features
50 views

Oscars 2018: how progressive are Hollywood’s most prestigious awards?

Devin Thomas - February 13, 2018

In light of the recently revealed list of the 2018 Oscar Nominations, Features Editor Devin Thomas explores the extent to which we can say that we are…

Students’ Union election week pushed back
Campus News
95 views
Campus News
95 views

Students’ Union election week pushed back

William Singh - February 12, 2018

Voting to elect new Full-Time and Part-Time Officers to the Students' Union has been delayed by one week. Elections were due to take place between 12th-16th March,…

Sussex Library charges £12,442.75 for late fees
Campus News
52 views
Campus News
52 views

Sussex Library charges £12,442.75 for late fees

Jessica Hubbard - February 8, 2018

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that library fees for overdue books reached £12, 442.75 during the 2016/17 academic year. The request was made on 31…