Scientific Methods

Sunday, July 02, 2006

CODE OF HONOUR


Hi Everyone

Now that you should be getting some feedback from your Turnitin Originality reports, you might be asking what do these reports mean? The higher the percentage the more the work is copied and NOT your own work. When assessing your reports, I also exclude anything put into quotes and references. I will try and interpret these scores and suggest the following actions.

Anything more than 75% is totally unacceptable - in effect this means so little of the work was yours that it should NOT be considered for any marks and that this constitutes enough of a transgression that it is actionable. If this is your first case you will be asked to sign an admission of guilt as prescribed under UWC rules and allowed to re-submit it and it will be marked to a maximum of 50% (no matter how good it is, you will receive only 50%). If this happens a second time it will be reported through the various University channels leading to the Proctor.

50 to 75% also means that the majority of what you submitted is not your work, if this is you first case you will be asked to re-do the assignment and it will be marked to a maximum of 50% (no matter how good it is, you will receive only 50%). If this happens a second time you will receive 0% and no chance to re-write. A third incidence and you will be asked to sign an admission of guilt as prescribed under UWC rules. If this happens a further time it will be reported through the various University channels leading to the Proctor.

25-50% is still too high and if this is your first case you will be asked to re-do the assignment and it will be marked to a maximum of 50%, in the second case you will have the amount that is similar to other content taken off, so for example if you got 65% and 30% is un-original you will receive 35% (65-30=35).

10-25% is starting to mean that the majority of the content is your own work, however, it needs further improvement. Marks will be taken off equal to the amount that is un-original, consequently if you receive 65% and 12% is not original you will get a final mark of 53% (65-12 = 53). If the marks subtracted means you receive less than 50% and this is your first transgression you will be asked to re-do the assignment and it will be marked to a maximum of 50% (no matter how good it is you will receive only 50%). After this you will simply receive your mark minus the amount that is un-original.

5-10% is acceptable since it can happen that you have written similar words to somebody else. Consequently this will be ignored in all cases and no marks deducted.

Less than 5% means that work is essentially original and a 5% bonus will be added to your marks.

I will put as links under the plagiarism statement the various documents just received from faculty, including the admission of guilt statement.

The above remains my interpretation and I suggest we start the process from today onwards. However, I would like you to read through this and either agree whether it is fair or if you think it is unfair, please give me your opinions. Just remember if someone is plagiarising and getting away with it, it is like theft and eventually you and your degree will suffer, since essentially un-qualified people will be receiving the same degrees that you worked hard to get through your own genuine efforts.

Please acknowledge that you have read this posting, but preferably add your own comments and suggestions.

Finally I would like you to review the following link that describes the originality report.


http://www.turnitin.com/static/videos/or_vid.html

One final note, if you think that Turnitin is on balance useful please let me know, there is much discussion on using services such as this, and I am of the opinion that it might help students write better, be more independent and possibly do better overall, so ALL suggestions positive and negative please, and if it is negative do not worry I will not think bad of you - here we need honour which means being honest with each other.


Cheers

Rich

Dr Richard Knight
Co-ordinator: National Information Society Learnerships - Ecological Informatics
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
University of the Western Cape
Private Bag X17
Bellville 7535

Phone 27 + 21 + 959 3940
Fax 27 + 21 + 959 1237

Email Rknight@uwc.ac.za

Please cc important email to knight.rich@gmail.com

Web http://nisl.uwc.ac.za

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