Information on academic misconduct for students.
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If you find any broken links please report them to the School Academic Misconduct Officer (inf-samo AT inf.ed.ac.uk).
Work for credit is anything that contributes towards your formal assessment either for the purposes of progression or degree classification. Note that this covers work which is required but is not issued any marks. The purposes of coursework in the School's teaching include both education and assessment. Assessment tests your personal understanding of material as well as skills gained and usually contributes to your individual grade for a course. Outside institutions and employers place a high value on degrees from this . We owe it to our many hard working students to maintain both the standards and the credibility of our degrees. Academic misconduct is viewed by us and the University as a serious offence. Equally, education is at its best when all sides contribute and feel free to discuss ideas. You are strongly encouraged to join in tutorials and feel free to seek any help; your tutor will know where to draw the line. In any case you should always aim to present work in your own words and be able to explain it both to your tutor as well as yourself. There is an important difference between an acceptable use of other people's ideas and copying or sharing other people's work without attribution (see also the guidelines below). For assessment to be fair, the extent to which submitted work is your own must be clear. Any discussions you have with others must stop well short of an actual solution (essay, code etc.). You must not present work as your own when in fact it is only partially (or even not at all) created by your own efforts. Academic misconduct includes, but is not limited to,
There are some general principles in preparing any work:
If you produce your own unassisted work then you are in no danger of commiting misconduct. However, if your work requires some help or collaboration then you should follow the guidelines below.
It is acceptable to use general ideas picked up, for example, in discussion with others, or in textbooks, without acknowledgement. In general, if you write the work you submit, in its entirety, yourself then you do not need to include an acknowledgement. An exception is when a really pivotal idea comes from an external source, in which case you should acknowledge that source.
Deliberately allowing your own work to be copied undermines the assessment process. You are required to take reasonable measures to protect your assessed work from unauthorised access. For example, if you put any such work on a public repository then you must set access permissions appropriately (generally permitting access only to yourself, or your group in the case of group practicals). Where there is collusion between students, all students involved may be penalised or disciplined.
Academic misconduct is often easy to detect and the School will use a number of methods to screen coursework. When misconduct is detected, it will be reported first to the School Academic Misconduct Officer who will decide if there is a case to answer; if this is so then the matter will be reported to the College Academic Misconduct Officer. His or her committee will then follow due process and determine if an offence has been committed. If the committee finds that an offence was committed then an appropriate penalty will be applied and the student's academic record amended to show that an offence was committed.
It is a natural and beneficial part of the educational experience for students to discuss their work with each other and to incorporate ideas from many sources into their work. For example, the tutorial exercises in various courses are not assessed and you are free, indeed encouraged, to seek out and use all sources of help in learning the material. This includes working together with fellow students on the exercises if you want. Of course, there is no benefit in just copying somebody else's tutorial exercise solutions without understanding; there is a lack of genuine learning, leading eventually to failure on the exam. However, work that is not for credit is not convered by the regulations on academic misconduct.
Thsi section pulls together various points made above as well as presenting some further advice. Some students stray into possible academic misconduct without realising it. The following advice is based on actual situations, please note that it does not replace the full University requirements.
Some practicals are done in teams, and are specifically designed to encourage collaboration. In such cases the lecturer will clarify what is expected regarding shared or common material.
It is now quite common to make work (mostly code) available on public repositories. This section is concerned with the rules for student solutions to coursework (of any kind) for credit. The rules are as follows:
The School Academic MIsconduct Officer gives a brief presentation to all first year and to all MSc students at the start of the academic year. All other students are sent a reminder by email of the need to keep to good scholarly conduct. The slides are available below.