Online examinations

Appropriate scholarly conduct and practices in online assessment

It is important for all students to understand their responsibilities for ethical scholarly practices. Academic integrity refers to students submitting scholarly work for assessment that represents their own original ideas and original work. The University of Melbourne expects the highest scholarly standards from students in all areas of their learning and assessment. The Student Academic Integrity Policy sets out the University’s expectations.

The academic integrity declaration on exam and assessment tools

As a student of the University, you affirm and declare your understanding and compliance with academic integrity principles and requirements every time you attempt an online examination or assessment by agreeing to this declaration.

By commencing and/or submitting this assessment I agree that I have read and understood the University’s policy on academic integrity.

I also agree that:

  • Unless paragraph 2 applies, the work I submit will be original and solely my own work (cheating)
  • I will not seek or receive any assistance from any other person (collusion) except where the work is for a designated collaborative task, in which case the individual contributions will be indicated
  • I will not use any sources without proper acknowledgement or referencing (plagiarism)
  • Where the work I submit is a computer program or code, I will ensure that:
    • Any code I have copied is clearly noted by identifying the source of that code at the start of the program or in a header file or, that comments inline identify the start and end of the copied code
    • Any modifications to code sourced from elsewhere will be commented upon to show the nature of the modification.

Helping you ensure compliance with academic integrity

  • Adopt good note-taking practices

    When taking notes during semester and SWOTVAC, remember to:

    • Record the source of the information to which you have referred. This will allow you to reference your source – including lecture slides and other resources provided by your subject coordinator –  if you use those notes during your exam.
    • Put the information in your own words or clearly mark if your notes are a direct quote from a source. Importantly, to develop and demonstrate your understanding of your subjects, it is neither appropriate nor effective to simply reproduce, word-for-word, written material provided by your subject coordinator or other teaching staff as part of your assessment submissions. Putting the information in your own words will help you to remember the material and avoid inadvertent plagiarism.
  • Know what resources you may use in your exam

    Most Semester 2 exams will be open-book, though the type and volume of resources – including prepared notes, the internet and communication technologies – you may refer to will differ from subject to subject. To ensure good scholarly practice in the exams, make sure you’re very clear on which resources you may and may not refer to before the day of each exam.

  • Only submit work that is your own

    A common breach in academic integrity is collusion, which occurs when two or more students jointly develop answers to quiz questions, essays or other forms of assessment. Unless you are undertaking ‘take home exams’ for which group work is expected or required, remember to always submit work that is entirely your own and if a peer asks to share or collaborate on answers with you during an exam, say no.

    Another common breach in academic integrity is plagiarism, which may occur accidentally by forgetting to attribute a source to an idea that is not your own, or intentionally through, for instance, purchasing a ready-made essay from an online “tutoring" site. Both of these examples can be detected and would be considered academic misconduct, so remember that all work submitted for assessment must be your own, and any ideas and information in your assessment that is not your own must be referenced.

  • Examples of activities that are considered academic misconduct

    Copying information from lecture slides and other resources provided by your subject coordinator, word for word, into your exam answers without appropriate referencing. This is a form of plagiarism because the information and ideas in the lecture slides are not your own, and so must be referenced appropriately.

    “Contract cheating”, which includes purchasing an already written essay to submit as your own, or commissioning someone else to write an assessment for you. This is another form of plagiarism as the work is not your own. Contract cheating is the subject of new laws passed by the Australian federal government and the University works closely with the Government to both prevent and address it.

    Communicating with peers via online messaging platforms during an examination to discuss the exam questions and how to respond to them. This is collusion, because by working with others to devise your answers to questions the work you subsequently submit is no longer truly your own.

    Accessing online platforms during an exam that has questions from the exam you are undertaking and prepared responses to these questions. Using these responses is both plagiarism and collusion as using the prepared responses of others is not your own work, and you have effectively worked with others to devise your answers.

Academic misconduct

The University has a range of systems and processes in place to detect and investigate academic misconduct, such as plagiarism (including contract cheating) and collusion. Where a student has been found to engage in misconduct, a range of penalties may apply, ranging from educative responses to termination of a student’s enrolment. For more information about academic misconduct, please see what are the consequences of infringing the rules regarding academic integrity?.

Resources to help you

It is your responsibility to understand and apply the principles and practices of academic integrity during your study withthe University. To help you do this, the following training and resources are available:

  • Academic Integrity Module (AIM) - an online module in the LMS that takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. The module Includes a self-assessment quiz on your understanding of your responsibility for ethical academic conduct
  • See the resources and programs available on the Academic Skills website.