Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is much more than a policy at Charles Sturt. It's a commitment to learning and academic development. Practising the principles of academic integrity will shape you as a future leader, innovator, and responsible global citizen.

So, what is academic integrity? TEQSA defines academic integrity as ‘the expectation that teachers, students, researchers and all members of the academic community act with honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility’.

You can uphold the principles of academic integrity by:

  • Sitting your own exams and ensuring that the work you submit is your own.
  • Avoiding websites or services that claim to help with your assessments or show other students’ work as examples.
  • Only using devices or artificial intelligence (AI) tools in your exams and assessments if your Subject Outline says they’re allowed.
  • Giving credit to the work and ideas of others through proper citation and referencing.

What is a breach of academic integrity?

As a student, it's important to have a clear understanding of what constitutes a breach of academic integrity. Being aware of the pitfalls and avoiding them is essential to maintaining the integrity of your studies.

This is why all students are expected to complete the compulsory Academic Integrity subject.

For more detailed information or to understand how Charles Sturt University manages possible breaches, you can refer to the Academic Integrity Policy and Student Misconduct Rule 2020.

Actions that compromise academic integrity

Plagiarism involves presenting someone else's work or ideas as your own. It doesn't give proper credit to the original source. This includes using material or copying text from published or unpublished sources. It applies to both printed and electronic form. Plagiarism also includes failing to acknowledge the contributions of collaborators or using software to disguise plagiarism.

Even your own past work needs to be acknowledged if reused in a different assessment. Self-plagiarism can occur when you present text, ideas, or data from your own previous work in a new context without acknowledging the original source. In most cases, work previously submitted for assessment cannot be reused in any way in future assessments.

Academic skills

It's completely normal to feel overwhelmed by the complexities of academic referencing. This is especially true when it's a concept you're encountering for the first time. That's why the Academic Skills team offers free support services to help you master referencing and other academic skills.

Start by attending a Kickstart to Referencing workshop, then access the referencing guides and other helpful resources on the Student Portal's Referencing page. You can also have your questions about referencing answered on the Interact2 or Brightspace discussion forums, or make an appointment with an Academic Skills Adviser to get one-on-one support.

The Charles Sturt Library also has great resources to help students understand referencing.

Citation generators

Be cautious of using unreliable online citation generators. They may not always generate correct references or match the referencing style you are using.

An incorrect citation can make it difficult for the reader to trace the original source, so it might look like you have fabricated a reference. For this reason, it’s important to always review and edit your references thoroughly before incorporating them into your work.

Contract cheating is when students outsource their assessments or obtain course materials from a third party. This may or may not involve the exchange of money. It can include submitting work done by friends, private tutors, family members, or contract cheating services (commercial providers).

Examples include:

  • Accessing or downloading materials from unauthorised websites that claim to have information about assessment tasks.
  • Uploading assessments or the University's copyrighted materials to unauthorised websites to gain access to documents and other content uploaded by others.
  • Arranging for someone else to take an exam on your behalf.

Contract cheating services

Contract cheating services are illegal. The Australian government is actively involved in efforts to combat contract cheating services.

These services are sometimes advertised online under the guise of 'assignment help'. Do not be misled into believing that websites offering assistance with your assessments are legitimate. It's important to exercise caution and discernment in these situations. If you're ever unsure about using a website for academic work, consult your lecturer or subject coordinator.

Using contract cheating services undermines your learning. It also exposes you to significant risks. The work produced by these services might be plagiarised or of poor quality. This could jeopardise your academic record. Additionally, these services could exploit your personal information. They might potentially blackmail you into making further payments.

Collusion refers to unauthorised collaboration with one or more students on assignments that are meant to be completed individually. This can include:

  • Jointly writing an assessment not assigned as group work.
  • Sharing exam questions and/or answers with another student.
  • Accessing or allowing another student access to a completed assessment.
  • Facilitating cheating by another person, intentionally or through negligence.

Assessments should be completed alone, unless it is deemed a group assessment. This is the only way to accurately assess your learning as a student, ensuring a fair and true reflection of your individual understanding and skills.

Another challenge to be aware of is the unauthorised use of generative AI (AI) in your assessments. Charles Sturt has decided that AI tools can only be used in your assessments if the subject outline permits it. Submitting an assessment task generated by AI, without specific permission to do so, will be considered a breach of academic integrity.

To determine whether AI tools are allowed in your subjects, thoroughly review your subject outlines for specific guidelines on their use.

Ask your lecturer or subject coordinator if you're unsure which tools are allowed. They can clarify the acceptable use of AI in the context of your assessments. This can help you adhere to the university's academic integrity standards. It can also help you avoid academic misconduct.

Learn more about the use of generative AI.

Cheating refers to any action aimed at gaining an unfair advantage in assessment tasks. This includes exams and dissertations. It includes activities such as:

  • Copying or attempting to copy work from others undertaking the same task and presenting it as your own.
  • Having someone else complete the task on your behalf.
  • Using an unauthorised resource or device during the task, including work generated by algorithms, computers, AI, or other means.
  • Writing notes on yourself or bringing unauthorised materials/items into the exam.
  • Communicating with other students or external parties other than invigilators during an exam.
  • Using electronic devices to access information related to an exam while it is in progress.

Build a strong foundation for your career

Academic integrity is much more than a set of rules. It's a fundamental aspect of your academic journey. As you progress through your studies at Charles Sturt, embracing these principles will not only contribute to your success as a student but also lay a solid foundation for your future career and personal development.

Reach out if you need help

If you have any questions or concerns about academic integrity, we encourage you to reach out to your subject coordinators. They are a valuable source of information for clarifying any questions you may have. For any questions that can't be answered by your subject coordinators, please don’t hesitate to email us.