Actions which weaken the educative process (such as shameless copying in the laboratory, drawing office or on computing tasks) or dishonest actions (such as quoting in essays or reports from books, handouts or the work of other students without explicitly stating that this is being done) are firmly discouraged in WMG.
Senate has formulated a Regulation 11 about suspected cheating. Its section (B) concerns work not done under examination conditions, i.e. course work. "Cheating" means an attempt to benefit oneself, or another, by deceit or fraud. This shall include deliberately reproducing the work of another person or persons without acknowledgement.
There is no penalty for poor academic practice: marks are not deducted - they are simply not earned under the marking criteria. Marks reflecting poor academic practice may have a significant impact, and since there is no appeal, Module Tutors should produce a mark reflecting the academic worth of the work.
The Department applies the full formal procedures of Regulation 11 to items of post module work.
Where cheating is suspected, Regulation 11 affects the candidate as follows:
- When a marker has concerns about a piece of assessment, and is clear that the case is one of poor academic practice, he or she should mark it accordingly. If the mark produced is likely to have a significant impact, or if the marker is unclear whether the case is one of poor academic practice, the assessment should be passed to the programme manager or their nominee. If the programme manager or their nominee is clear that the case is one of poor academic practice, or that there is no case to answer, the assessment is returned to the marker to provide an outcome determined by the Module Marker.
- If the Programme manager or their nominee is unclear whether the case is one of poor academic practice, or if the Programme manager or their nominee believes cheating has occurred, the matter should be referred to the Academic Conduct Panel. The student will be asked to attend a meeting with the Academic Conduct Panel to give their explanation of the case and this provides the student with a reasonable opportunity to make representations on his or her own behalf.
- As part of the academic conduct panel, the student may be subjected to a short viva examination by subject expert if there is a suspicion that contract cheating has taken place. The viva will be conducted in a collegiate manner and the student will be treated fairly. The viva examination is the student’s opportunity to defend their work and so can present evidence, such as date-stamped draft copies of work, to support their claim. The subject expert will ask questions about the work to ascertain whether the student understands what they have submitted and have met the relevant learning outcomes. The viva will not determine whether the allegation is substantiated, but rather gather evidence that will be considered by the panel.
- At the end of the meeting, the Academic conduct panel will make a recommendation to the Head of Department and the student will be informed of the recommendation and afterwards will be able to make additional written representation to the Head of Department.
- In all cases, the Academic Conduct Panel will refer the matter to the Head of Department. In the event that it is confirmed that an offence has occurred, the Head of Department shall decide the penalty. If there is evidence of a serious case of cheating, the Head of Department may refer the case to an Investigating Committee of the Senate. The student shall be informed of the outcome. The student is also informed that they have a right to appeal to an Investigating Committee of the Senate against the decision. If the student accepts the penalty, the matter ends and the outcome is reported to the Examination Board. If the student appeals, the procedure relating to an Investigating Committee of the Senate is invoked.
- Penalties available are a reduction in mark for the piece of work in which the plagiarism has occurred (with or without the opportunity to resubmit or undertake a further assessment). The mark may be reduced up to the zero limit.
Where a student has been penalised for cheating by WMG, subsequent instances will be reported to the Academic Registrar. In addition, where cheating or copying has been identified in a piece of work, WMG reserve the right to re-examine earlier submitted assignments for similar infringements and apply suitable penalties, retrospectively if necessary.
To avoid being accused of Cheating, students should note the following points of Departmental practice:
- Acknowledgement of quoted work should take the form of a properly stated reference (author, work, date, page number), and the quoted part should be clearly denoted by suitable paragraphing, quotation marks, etc. (see below)
- Work Previously Written by yourself: Submitting work that you have done previously (as part of this course or an earlier one) should be treated like any other reference source – just because you wrote it yourself doesn’t mean that it is acceptable to “re-use” it without acknowledgement. This would be termed auto-plagiarism..
- Working together: WMG expects all Post Module Assignments to be individual pieces of work, except where the module tutor explicitly calls for and accepts a joint group report on a particular task. Whilst it is appropriate to discuss your ideas with colleagues in preparing for your assignments, the structure, content, and particularly "Discussion" and "Conclusion" sections should always be under sole authorship. Common working used by more than one student engaged on writing up the same task in a report (PMA/Project) submitted for credit should be acknowledged by a short note explaining the joint authorship. Within reason, this practice, if acknowledged, will not be discouraged or penalised, but joint authorship should be agreed in advance with the module tutor or Academic Supervisor.
ALL MODULE ASSIGNMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO BE SUBMITTED IN ELECTRONIC FORM; TUTORS WILL THEN PASS THE WORK THROUGH AN AUTOMATIC SOURCE MATCHING SERVICE IN ORDER TO CHECK THE ORIGINALITY OF THE WORK AGAINST PUBLISHED MATERIAL, INCLUDING WWW SOURCES AND WORK SUBMITTED PREVIOUSLY BY WMG STUDENTS. STRICT PENALTIES WILL BE APPLIED WHERE SUCH COPYING IS IDENTIFIED.
You should note the advice provided by the University on how to avoid plagiarism and student information related to the use of a source matching system provided on the Plagiarism Avoidance section of the University Web site. Specifically you should note that the processing of your work is necessary for the legitimate interests noted above and is justified under Ground 6 of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
In addition, you are STRONGLY advised to visit the University provided self-learning tool, PlagiarWISE, which will take you through information to help you avoid being accused of plagiarism and collusion and to understand proper referencing techniques.