A Freshers Guide to staying out of trouble…
…With the university
We have all been there. It is after midnight and in less than nine hours your 3,000 word assignment is due. You’ve given it some thought, procrastinated, and are only now starting to put fingers to keyboard.
The stress involved in meeting last minute deadlines means that many an essay has been produced under chaotic, sleep deprived and less than ideal circumstances.
Although it will be obvious to all that copying an essay word for word from a text book without attribution will lead you into trouble for plagiarism, there are different concerns that might be less apparent.
For example, if a student types out your essay and accidently forgets to cite some sources, or make it clear that the text is a quote from another source, then they can also find themselves in deep water with the university plagiarism officer too as well.
There will be a definition of plagiarism in your university student handbook. It will cover blatant instances, but also inadvertent plagiarism. The latter will have been caused by a lack of understanding or carelessness. We have sadly seen students face academic disciplinary hearings for matters which, with some careful understanding on the rules of correct referencing, could have been avoided.
Similar concerns arise in relation to collusion. This may sound a familiar scenario – your housemate intended to write their essay through the night. They weren’t up to the job, taking to their bed with the essay half finished. An hour before the deadline they ask to borrow yours. You feel like you don’t want to say no to your friend. They then use yours to copy content and before you know it, your lecturer has spotted too many similarities and you are both hauled before an academic disciplinary hearing. Your marks for that subject or even your degree at risk.
Read the handbook
We say the same to all students – your university student handbook may be about the most boring document you will ever have read but it is always worth looking up the regulations covering academic misconduct. If you do this at the start of your degree then you will understand what the academic requirements are and what could get you into trouble.
We have sadly seen a foolish mistake cost some students their degree or the marks that they were aiming for.
Contact education law specialists
If you do encounter any academic misconduct issues you may want to seek early legal advice. Please do not hesitate to contact education law solicitor Clare Roberts. Although based at our Nottingham office she will provide appointments at all of our offices across the East Midlands. Please call her on 0115 9599550 to make an appointment or do discuss a case.
Alternatively you can use the contact form below.