Associate Professor, School of Learning Development & Professional Practice, Faculty of Education & Social Work, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand, Higher Education
In 2013, after experiencing a surprising rise in academic dishonesty cases in his courses, Jason Stephens, an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, decided then and there to start educating his students about plagiarism and integrity in a proactive manner. He allowed his classes to view the results of their Originality Reports, then thoughtfully provided his students the time and instruction needed to help them to correct their writing mistakes before turning in a final paper. By 2017, the number of academic dishonesty cases had dropped to one or two per year, in a class of approximately 300 students, which Jason attributes to prioritizing communication and transparency.
“I do my best to help students avoid plagiarism in the first instance [by] allowing them to see their reports and give them ample time to make revisions, but I also do my best to help students learn from their mistakes when they make them… I shouldn't be extraordinary in this respect, and hope someday soon I am not.”
Serving a diverse student population in Auckland, with over 40,000 students in graduate and undergraduate courses, means that Jason sees a wide range of abilities and motivation. Many first-year students, he says, are anxious about their writing abilities, but eager to do well. In just a few short years since altering his curriculum, he has seen the value of communicating the importance of academic integrity to his students and ensuring the integrity of the work they submit.
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