The University will work towards a consistent set of requirements for submission of summative assessments, and a consistent approach by examination boards to their use of Turnitin, as part of this strategy on plagiarism. Examinations Panel considered digital submission of assessments for taught courses in Michaelmas Term 2013 and agreed in principle that a central policy on electronic submission for taught degrees should be introduced to remove the current variations in practice, to promote equity of treatment of students, and to make possible the use of a single declaration of authorship. It would also be possible to link the process of submission to online plagiarism resources and encourage better understanding of plagiarism. However, it was acknowledged that, before introducing such a policy, there were substantial issues to be addressed, in particular identifying a system that would support the online submission of 13,500+ assessments a year.
The considerable benefit of a robust online submission system for summative work is widely recognised and Education IT Board has this on its list of student administration projects for 2016-17. In the meantime, Examinations Panel has approved the use of Weblearn for submission of summative work and those responsible for examinations requiring digital submissions are now encouraged to make use of this route. Weblearn can be integrated with Turnitin and so facilitates its consistent use. As more departments take up Weblearn as their preferred submission route, it is likely that more will use the option to screen work for text matches. Departments/faculties should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss their requirements.
The University continues to work within the current policy it has endorsed in relation to the use of Turnitin. This includes use in summative assessment subject to approval by the Proctors. Guidance for the use of Turnitin in formal examinations, where exam boards elect to use it, is published by the Proctors and Education Committee in the Policy and Guidance for examiners and others involved in University examinations
Departments may also use Turnitin for formative assessment to help students gain a better understanding of good academic practice. IT Services staff provide training courses and personalised support for departments and faculties wishing to use Turnitin in formative and summative assessment.
New procedures and regulations for dealing with cases of poor academic practice and plagiarism were approved in Trinity term 2016 including guidance on the role of examiners in the process. The new procedures are the result of extensive discussion with previous Proctorial teams and consultation with the wider University. They are intended to operate with greater proportionality, and so improve the time taken to complete the process, by moving responsibility for dealing with cases of poor academic practice to examination boards, and for more serious cases of suspected plagiarism to a new Academic Conduct Panel. The most serious cases, where a potential outcome is expulsion or failure of the whole course, will continue to be referred to the Student Disciplinary Panel. The new procedures came into effect on 1 October 2016.
Interpreting Turnitin reports is one aspect of examiners’ role in detecting and dealing with poor academic practice/plagiarism. Guidance on this role has been approved by Education Committee recently. It will be used and refined as the new procedures for dealing with plagiarism are implemented in 2016-17.
Guidance on the procedures for dealing with poor academic practice and on interpreting Turnitin reports is available in the Policy and Guidance for examiners and others involved in University examinations.