Presentation Title

Teaching academic integrity through legal problem solving

Abstract

This presentation provides a reflection on the delivery of academic integrity content to first year Law Students. Academic integrity education is of concern for all disciplines [HESF], but professional disclosure obligations make it of particular concern to law schools. [eg Evans (2012); James & Mahmud (2014); Stuhmcke (2011)]. Modern academic integrity questions are diverse and require education on more than just ‘citation skills’ and how to avoid plagiarism [eg Rogerson & McCarthy (2017); Sefcik et al (2020)]. Instead, students need a comprehensive engagement of integrity as an academic good, as well as full awareness of the consequences of non-compliance. But, academic integrity is just one aspect of what needs to be taught in a foundational course: There is so much students have to learn and little time to do it. Academic integrity has therefore been transformed into a traditional law problem. Students are asked to take the role of an academic faced with a complex scenario of multiple students with different levels of culpability, technology use, poor practice escalating to a breach and the line between collaboration and collusion. Using legal problem-solving methods, students apply the General Regulations, Policy and Procedure, drawing on real cases involving law graduates whose University actions have been scrutinised, to reach their conclusions. This approach gives students insight into the both the University’s academic integrity expectations and consequences while also teaching the ‘law’ skills they need to gain in the foundational course. The original intention of this was to guarantee that every student had been assessed on the matter. It is difficult to determine whether there is in fact an improvement in student compliance with academic integrity in later years. There are several possibilities for testing this, none of which have been settled on as I navigate the ethical questions that arise. Most likely a later-year survey or assessment re-visiting the questions will be the most practical way of examining whether the first year education is making an impact.

References

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (Cth) (HESF)

Evans, Michelle, ‘Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct by Law Students: The Importance of Prevention over Detection’ (2012) 17(2) International Journal of Law & Education 99.

James, Colin and Saadia Mahmud, ‘Promoting academic integrity in legal education: “Unanswered questions” on disclosure’ (2014) 10(2) International Journal for Educational Integrity.

Rogerson, Ann M and Grace McCarthy, ‘Using Internet Based Paraphrasing Tools: Original Work, Patchwriting or Facilitated Plagiarism?’ (2017) 13(1) International Journal for Educational Integrity.

Sefcik, Lesley, Michelle Striepe and Jonathan Yorke, ‘Mapping the Landscape of Academic Integrity Education Programs: What Approaches Are Effective?’ (2020) 45(1) Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 30.

Stuhmcke, Anita, ‘Teaching plagiarism: Law Students Really are that Special’ (2011) 4(1&2) Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association 137.

Theme

engagement

Presenter Bio

Dr Lara Pratt has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame since 2012 and was the Assistant Dean of Teaching and Learning from 2017 to 2020. Lara teaches in a variety of courses with her main teaching area being those courses with an International Law element, including Public International Law, Law and War and Human Rights.

Presentation Type

Presentation

Location

Zoom session commences 10am AWST/12 noon AEST

Start Date

29-9-2021 11:09 AM

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Sep 29th, 11:09 AM

Teaching academic integrity through legal problem solving

Zoom session commences 10am AWST/12 noon AEST

This presentation provides a reflection on the delivery of academic integrity content to first year Law Students. Academic integrity education is of concern for all disciplines [HESF], but professional disclosure obligations make it of particular concern to law schools. [eg Evans (2012); James & Mahmud (2014); Stuhmcke (2011)]. Modern academic integrity questions are diverse and require education on more than just ‘citation skills’ and how to avoid plagiarism [eg Rogerson & McCarthy (2017); Sefcik et al (2020)]. Instead, students need a comprehensive engagement of integrity as an academic good, as well as full awareness of the consequences of non-compliance. But, academic integrity is just one aspect of what needs to be taught in a foundational course: There is so much students have to learn and little time to do it. Academic integrity has therefore been transformed into a traditional law problem. Students are asked to take the role of an academic faced with a complex scenario of multiple students with different levels of culpability, technology use, poor practice escalating to a breach and the line between collaboration and collusion. Using legal problem-solving methods, students apply the General Regulations, Policy and Procedure, drawing on real cases involving law graduates whose University actions have been scrutinised, to reach their conclusions. This approach gives students insight into the both the University’s academic integrity expectations and consequences while also teaching the ‘law’ skills they need to gain in the foundational course. The original intention of this was to guarantee that every student had been assessed on the matter. It is difficult to determine whether there is in fact an improvement in student compliance with academic integrity in later years. There are several possibilities for testing this, none of which have been settled on as I navigate the ethical questions that arise. Most likely a later-year survey or assessment re-visiting the questions will be the most practical way of examining whether the first year education is making an impact.

References

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (Cth) (HESF)

Evans, Michelle, ‘Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct by Law Students: The Importance of Prevention over Detection’ (2012) 17(2) International Journal of Law & Education 99.

James, Colin and Saadia Mahmud, ‘Promoting academic integrity in legal education: “Unanswered questions” on disclosure’ (2014) 10(2) International Journal for Educational Integrity.

Rogerson, Ann M and Grace McCarthy, ‘Using Internet Based Paraphrasing Tools: Original Work, Patchwriting or Facilitated Plagiarism?’ (2017) 13(1) International Journal for Educational Integrity.

Sefcik, Lesley, Michelle Striepe and Jonathan Yorke, ‘Mapping the Landscape of Academic Integrity Education Programs: What Approaches Are Effective?’ (2020) 45(1) Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 30.

Stuhmcke, Anita, ‘Teaching plagiarism: Law Students Really are that Special’ (2011) 4(1&2) Journal of the Australasian Law Teachers Association 137.