Swansea University

3. Non-Examination Conditions

Academic misconduct in non-examination conditions.

Plagiarism is defined as using, without acknowledgment, another person's work and submitting it for assessment as though it were one's own work; for instance, through copying or unacknowledged paraphrasing. This constitutes plagiarism whether it is intentional or unintentional.

Examples include:

  • The use of any quotation(s) from the published or unpublished work of other persons which have not been clearly identified as such by being placed in quotation marks and acknowledged;
  • Summarising another person's ideas, judgments, figures, software or diagrams without appropriately attributing that person in the text and the source in the reference list;
  • The use of the services (paid or un-paid) of 'ghost writing' agencies in the preparation of assessed work;
  • The use of unacknowledged material downloaded from the Internet;
  • The submission of another student's work as though it was one’s own.

This list of examples is not exhaustive.

Self-Plagiarism is not recognised in Swansea University regulations. Colleges are expected to take steps to ensure that the design of programmes/modules/assessments does not allow students the opportunity to submit the same work twice. In addition, Colleges should take steps to inform students that they cannot submit work or sections of their work on more than one occasion. A statement to this effect should be included on the coursework submission form. Where a student has self-plagiarised work, the College will mark the work in accordance with the normal marking criteria.

Collusion is defined as two or more students or other persons working together without prior authorisation in order to gain unfair advantage and to produce the same or similar piece of work and then attempting to present this work entirely as their own.

Examples include:

  • Two or more students working together to develop data or other materials without prior authorisation. Such materials would then be presented for assessment without acknowledging the originator(s) of the work.
  • Sharing data, materials or other coursework with another student(s) which is then presented for assessment without the knowledge or permission of the originator(s).

Commissioning of work, which is the act of paying for, or arranging for another to produce, a piece of work whether or not this is then submitted for assessment as though it were the student’s own work.

Examples include:

• Commissioning an essay to be written by another.
• Downloading materials from essay exchange sites
• Paying another for the collection, manipulation or interpretation of data, where this is a requirement of the student’s studies

Commissioning of work may also include the submission for assessment of the commissioned work as though it were the student’s own work.

Examples include;

• Purchasing material from internet sites or another and then presenting that material for assessment as though it were one’s own work.
• Paying for another to write coursework which is then submitted as though it were the student’s own work.
• Paying for another to write draft coursework which is then presented to a supervisor for scrutiny and feedback.

This list is not exhaustive.

Falsification of the results of laboratory, field-work or other forms of data collection and analysis also constitutes academic misconduct.

3.1

Academic Integrity Vivas as a means of Detecting Academic Misconduct in non-examination conditions at College level 

In cases where College academic staff, the College/School Academic Integrity Officer and/or the Director of Academic Integrity has concerns about whether a piece of coursework, or any work completed under non-examination conditions, submitted by a student is his/her own work, the College/School may invite the student to attend an academic integrity viva. The purpose of the academic integrity viva is to test the student’s knowledge of the work which he/she has submitted

The student should be given no less than two days notification of the academic integrity viva in writing. Where the student fails to attend the academic integrity viva without good reason, inferences may be drawn in relation to the student’s failure to attend by the College/School Academic Integrity Officer and/or Academic Misconduct Committee of Enquiry.

The viva process would normally involve a Panel of at least 2 members of Academic Staff (excluding the College Academic Integrity Officers).  A record of the viva must be kept.  At the discretion of the School/College a third member of staff may be nominated to record/transcribe the viva. Following the academic integrity viva, one of the academic staff present during the viva will prepare a report setting out their opinion as to the student’s knowledge of the work which he/she has submitted and the reasons for their opinion.

If the member of staff considers, or suspects, that academic misconduct has occurred in relation to work submitted by the student, then they will provide to the College/School Academic Integrity Officer or to the Director of Academic Integrity (as appropriate) a copy of their report and the recording / transcription of the viva, in addition to the normal supporting paperwork relating to the case - normally within five working days of the date of the student’s academic integrity viva (in accordance with 3.4 below.) 

3.2

Investigating Academic Misconduct in non-examination conditions at College level (excludes Taught Master's Directed Independent Learning and Research Degree Theses)                

Each College shall appoint a minimum of two Academic Integrity Officers to deal with College level (first offence) cases.  In each case one Academic Integrity Officer will carry out the investigation and make a recommendation on the case.  A second Academic Integrity Officer will be responsible for determining whether an offence has been committed and for determining a penalty.  The allocation of responsibilities shall be left to the discretion of the College; however, it is the responsibility of the College Academic Integrity Officers to ensure that all staff are aware of the reporting procedure.

In cases of suspected academic misconduct, in work completed under non- examinable conditions (excluding Taught Master's Directed Independent Learning and Research Degree Theses), Colleges will be expected to carry out the stages listed below. The burden of proof (duty of proving the allegation) shall rest on the College and the standard of proof should be on the balance of probabilities: a fact will be established if it is more likely than not to have happened. Cases involving Taught Master's directed independent learning modules and research degree theses should be dealt with as directed in section 6.0.

3.3

Procedure for Investigating and Determining Academic Misconduct in non-examination conditions at College level

3.4

Stage One - report to First College Academic Integrity Officer

If a member of staff considers, or suspects, that academic misconduct has occurred in relation to work submitted as a piece of coursework, or any work completed under non-examination conditions (excluding the directed independent learning element of postgraduate taught programmes and research degree thesis) he/she shall report the matter in writing or by email and provide any relevant evidence to the First College Academic Integrity Officer, normally within five working days of his/her consideration of the student’s work or the student’s academic integrity viva.

The member of staff (or his/her colleague) may require the student to attend an academic integrity viva to test the student’s knowledge of the work submitted before reporting the matter to the First College Academic Integrity Officer, in accordance with 3.1 above. 

3.5

Stage Two - establishing a Prima Facie case

The College's First Academic Integrity Officer or nominee shall first determine whether a prima facie case of academic misconduct exists by referring to the documentation/evidence and where required through discussion with the student.

The First Academic Integrity Officer may request that an academic member of staff conducts an academic integrity viva to test the student’s knowledge of the work submitted, in accordance with 3.1 above.

Cases involving ICWS students on integrated programmes shall be dealt with by the College in accordance with regulations 3.3 to 3.12.  In joint cases involving an ICWS student(s) on a non-integrated programme and a Swansea University student and/or an ICWS student(s) on an integrated programme, the College Academic Integrity Officer may involve a member of staff from ICWS in stages Two to Six, normally the Director of Academic and Support Services or his/her nominee.

In cases involving an ICWS student(s) on a non-integrated programme  only (i.e. not also involving a Swansea University student or an ICWS student on an integrated programme) the case should be referred to ICWS, for it to deal with in accordance with ICWS’ procedures.

If no prima facie case of academic misconduct exists the student should be informed and no further formal action shall be taken. However, where the Academic Integrity Officer decides that poor referencing has occurred, the student should be referred for advice and guidance on correct referencing (this may include a referral to the personal tutor, the subject librarian or the Centre for Academic Success).  Once they have met with their tutor or subject librarian, students shall be required to sign a statement confirming that they have received advice and that they understand referencing conventions.

3.6

Stage Three – Determining whether the case is dealt with by the College or by the Director of Academic Integrity / Committee of Enquiry

If the College's First Academic Integrity Officer determines there to be a prima facie case of academic misconduct, he/she shall then determine whether the case can be heard at the College level or referred to the Director of Academic Integrity. 

The College Academic Integrity Officer shall contact Academic Services to clarify whether the student has any previous offences of academic misconduct. Only first allegations of a less serious nature can be determined at the College level.  Any allegation subsequent to a substantiated offence must be referred to the Director of Academic Integrity. 

Colleges should also examine any other work, previously submitted by the student, (including work submitted in other Colleges/subject areas where the student has pursued modules for other possible instances of academic misconduct).

Where additional evidence of academic misconduct is found or the College considers that the case is of a serious nature (e.g. a significant part of the assignment has been plagiarised) the First College Academic Integrity Officer should take into account the following in determining whether it would be more appropriate to deal with the case at the College level (in accordance with Stages Four to Six below), or refer the case to the Director of Academic Integrity :

•        the weighting of the coursework within the module;

•        the number of pieces of work affected;

•        the seriousness of the offence;

•        the total number of credits affected;

•        the level of study.

The Academic Integrity Officer should refer initially to the guidance in the University's Code of Practice on Academic Misconduct, but may also approach Academic Services or the Director of Academic Integrity for additional advice in determining whether a case should be dealt with by the College or the University's Committee of Enquiry.

In cases of a second allegation/offence (where a student has previously been found guilty of an academic misconduct offence) and in other cases referred by the College Academic Integrity Officer, the College's Academic Integrity Officer should notify the Director of Academic Integrity who will refer the case to Academic Services and request that a University Committee of Enquiry be established to consider the case (see regulation 9).

Academic Misconduct involving material purchased from a web site/essay bank/other agency

Cases of this nature are not dealt with at College level and should be forwarded to the Director of Academic Integrity (see regulation 5.0). 

3.7

Stage Four - student response to allegation 

If a prima facie case of academic misconduct exists and the First Academic Integrity Officer determines that the case should be dealt with at College level, he/she (or nominee) should inform the student concerned, in writing, of the suspected case of academic misconduct. Within the letter (a template of which will be available from Academic Services) the College Academic Integrity Officer will either: invite the student to comment in writing or; invite the student to attend for interview.

Where the student is invited to an interview, the student shall be entitled to be accompanied to the interview by a friend or colleague (who is a member of the University) or a Students' Union representative. The role of any person accompanying the student will be to support the student, and he/she will not normally be allowed to answer questions on behalf of the student.

The Second Academic Integrity Officer may also attend the interview.

Students should be provided with copies of evidence, normally this will be a copy of the marked-up essay and/or the Turnitin report, sources etc. 

In cases of collusion students should be sent copies of all the work under investigation, or extracts as appropriate.

The College Academic Integrity Officer does not have to take intent into consideration and in relation to an allegation of academic misconduct - there can be no defence that the offence was committed unintentionally or accidentally.  Such circumstances can, however, be submitted by the student as mitigation in relation to the penalty to be imposed. 

After having considered the evidence and any response provided by the student, the First Academic Integrity Officer shall refer the case, all relevant evidence, any written response received from the student and any notes of any meeting held with the student to the Second Academic Integrity Officer together with his/her recommendation as to the outcome of the case and any penalty to be applied (unless the Second Academic Integrity Officer was also present at such meeting). 

3.8

Stage Five - substantiating the case 

The College’s Second Academic Integrity Officer shall consider the documentation and recommendation received from the First Academic Integrity Officer, and shall then determine whether on the evidence received the allegation of academic misconduct has been substantiated. The burden of proof (duty of proving the allegation) shall rest on the College and the standard of proof should be on the balance of probabilities: a fact will be established if it is more likely than not to have happened.

The Second Academic Integrity Officer does not have to take intent into consideration and in relation to an allegation of academic misconduct there can be no defence that the offence was committed unintentionally or accidentally.  Such circumstances can however be submitted by the student as mitigation in relation to the penalty to be imposed.

If there is sufficient doubt about the evidence then the case should be dismissed and the student informed of this decision in writing.

If the Second Academic Integrity Officer finds that the allegation of academic misconduct has been substantiated, he/she shall then determine the penalty to be imposed in accordance with Stage Six below. 

3.9

Stage Six - College Level Cases – determining penalties

In order to ensure consistency in the application of penalties the University provides guidance on penalties in the Code of Practice on Academic Misconduct. The Second Academic Integrity Officer should consult the University’s Code of Practice on Academic Misconduct and may consult with colleagues in arriving at a penalty. 

The Second Academic Integrity Officer shall consider the seriousness of the offence and any mitigating circumstances brought to his/her attention in determining the penalty. The Second Academic Integrity Officer should be convinced that any mitigating circumstances have a direct bearing on the case and, in particular, had influenced the action of the student(s) concerned. 

The College Academic Integrity Officer may impose one of the following penalties:        

3.9.1

the issue of a written reprimand to the candidate and the text to be ignored when marking, resulting in a reduced mark;

3.9.2

the cancellation of the candidate's marks for the assignment;

3.9.3

cancellation of the candidate’s mark(s) for the module component(s);

3.9.4

the cancellation of the candidate's mark for the module concerned.

The decision whether to allow a student to retake work/assessment(s) shall be taken by the relevant Examination Board, in accordance with the assessment regulations for the programme.

3.10

Case Report

The College Academic Integrity Officer(s) shall draft a report on each case noting whether the allegation has been found substantiated, any penalty imposed and the reasons for the decisions reached (a template shall be available from Academic Services).  The report, along with a copy of the letter shall be sent to Academic Services where a permanent record will be kept.  The report may be considered in final review cases. A copy of the report will also be sent by the College to the student (see 3.11 below).

3.11

Informing the student

The College should inform the student in writing of the decision as to whether the allegation has been found substantiated and any penalty imposed (a template is available from Academic Services).  A copy of the Case Report should also be provided to the student.   

The student will also be notified of the University's Final Review procedure.  However, students should note a final review of the outcome could result in a more severe penalty being imposed (e.g. if the current outcome is cancelled and the case is referred for a new investigation and determination).  A copy of the letter shall be sent to Academic Services.

Where an allegation has been substantiated, and the College is concerned that this may affect the student’s fitness to practise, the case may also be referred to the Head of College (or nominee) in accordance with the University’s Fitness to Practise Regulations.

3.12

Survey of penalties

In order to ensure consistency, the University's Academic Regulations and Cases Committee may carry out a survey of penalties.