Being a student and completing assessments can be a hard task. Especially when you don’t understand what the question is, you have to write an essay or a report which you may not know how to do, or you left your assignment to the last minute. How are you going to get that pass mark – just copy someone else’s answers…?
Plagiarism and Cheating
When you're researching for an assignment, sometimes the answer is staring right at you and it’s so easy to just copy it to get the question done but this is cheating. If you are using any information from documents, book, websites, and forums – you need to acknowledge where you got that idea or information from.
Plagiarism is to copy work without referencing from where the information was sourced from. Any information added into assignments that was not your idea to begin with, needs to be referenced. Referencing means adding the author/book, web address under your response in your assignment, so your assessor know that you have got the information from somewhere else and that it is not your original idea.
Plagiarism and Cheating occurs when:
- you use notes or other resources without permission during formal testing
- hand in someone else’s work as your own (with or without that person’s permission)
- hand in a completely duplicated assignment
- take work without the author’s knowledge
- allow someone else to hand up your work as their own
- have several people write one computer program or exercise and hand up multiple copies, all represented (implicitly or explicitly) as individual work
- use any part of someone else’s work without the proper acknowledgement
Paying For Completed Assignments
Some online services, allow you to “pay” for someone to complete your assignment for you. This is ethically wrong and very inappropriate as a student to use these types of services. First off, it is considered cheating and is plagiarism as well. Secondly, most of these businesses that offer these services, use the same information for the same or similar questions. So, you will be handing in duplicate work which is cheating. When paying someone to complete your assignment you don’t learn anything and you won’t be competent in that particular module. As an educator working in childcare you will need to be competent in all areas.
When using these online services and you get caught, you will face severe penalties including termination of your course. It is definitely not worth the risk because you couldn't understand the assignment or left it to the last minute. So, please refrain from using these services, or face the consequences!
Many course providers have now introduced plagiarism checks. When you hand in your assignment online, it will be put through a “scanner” and it will determine if you have copied your information from a particular document. This is a process of locating instances of plagiarism within your work. Detecting plagiarism can be manual or software based.
• Manual Detection - is when the assessor is able to identify that you have copied from the way you have written it and the way it sounds. An assessor is able to determine quite early if your responses are copied, just by the way it has been worded. Assessors are quite knowledgeable and have also read quite a lot of assignments and research over their time and know when a piece of information sounds very familiar.
NOTE: Our Aussie Childcare Network forum, is quite popular for students to gain support for assignments – which is great! Many course providers and assessors are aware of our forum and will also check the forum to see if answers have been copied from here as well. We also allow bots from plagiarism checker to scan our website as our support against plagiarism.
• Software Assisted Detection - this allows vast collections of documents to be compared to each other, making it easier to detect plagiarism. When you submit your assignment online, it is checked through the plagiarism software where it will verify and cite any sources you have copied.
Penalties of Plagiarism and Cheating
If you are suspected of cheating, it is a very serious offence. Depending on what happens, its entirely up to the assessor and the policy of the course provider. If it is your first instance, the assessor may ask you to resubmit your assignment, however this isn’t always the case. There are also chances that an investigation will take place to gain evidence of the plagiarism and cheating that has occurred. If evidence is produced, you will be asked to attend a formal meeting to discuss this allegation against you. Once you have provided your defense the following decisions could take place:
- If it is considered a minor or unintentional offence, you will need to undergo an alternative form of assessment, such as a short oral assessment, which may involve talking about the work or questioning. The penalty in this case is that you will receive the lowest level of competency or pass for all the learning outcomes being assessed.
- If it is a serious offence, you will fail the module. Repeated offences of cheating – minor or serious – will result in failure of the module plus a record on your student file, together with the reason.
When completing assignments, reports or when answering questions you need to come up with your own ideas or make reference to work that has already been done by others. If you write down an idea that it is not your original work then it needs to be acknowledged, such as:
- Quoted passages should be placed in quotation marks and their sources references within the text
- Acknowledging other people's independent thoughts and experiences
- Reference someone else’s ideas and facts that are not yours, even if you used your own words and format – just because you re-write a piece of information it doesn't make it your idea
- Facts or ideas from signed or copyrighted sources require acknowledgement
- When summarising or paraphrasing, stating in your own words and sentence structures, you must acknowledge the author of the idea
- Record bibliographic information or web addresses for each source you use straight away so you know where the information has come from
- Paraphrasing still requires acknowledgement because the ideas came from another source, even when putting these in your own words.
For a student, I can understand that it is hard to complete assignments, especially for students that have difficulty understanding the question in the first place. Using information from another document is fine, to an extent but just make sure that you reference where you got the information from. Plagiarising and cheating is definitely not the answer and when you get caught the penalties could be devastating.