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Is ‘clever paraphrasing’ a serious academic misconduct? Awareness and implications

conference contribution
posted on 2021-04-07, 00:26 authored by Sardana KhanSardana Khan
Several new forms of academic misconducts emerged in recent years in the tertiary education sector, predominantly due to the technology facilitated networking. Contract cheating is one of these contemporary trends that received much attention, whereas, a traditional form of cheating, i.e., cleaver paraphrasing often skips the policy radar. Underlying reasons of such oversight could be the lack of awareness, the difficulty in detection and policy ambiguity regarding the burden of proof, the gravity of the misconduct and consequences. Most of the guidelines about academic misconduct in the tertiary education sector fails to provide any specific direction for the detection and treatment of such ‘cleaver paraphrasing’ cases leaving both students and markers relatively unaware of such practices and its implications. Furthermore, excessive reliance on plagiarism detection technology such as Turnitin to facilitate the determination of academic misconduct may have overshadowed the use of good old qualitative judgement of the expert markers with adequate knowledge of the contents. The inconvenience of marking too many papers with elaborated feedback within a limited timeframe may have also encouraged the oversight of such hard to detect misconduct. Moreover, the difficulty of proving such misconduct in the absence of any clear direction or awareness among the students leave scopes for dispute about the objectivity of the markers which most academics would like to avoid. Such intentional or unintentional misconduct invariably defeats the purpose of authentic learning due to the demonstrated lack of creativity, originality and criticality in the submitted assessment, especially where these are the integral parts of the unit learning outcomes. In this presentation, I will offer some tips for the markers to detect such practice based on my recent marking and moderation experiences. Policy implications are drawn for the tertiary education sector learning and teaching divisions to increase awareness among both students and academics about such hard to detect academic misconduct cases.


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Central Queensland University

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Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

Era Eligible

  • No

Name of Conference

Scholarship of tertiary teaching online conference