Teaching & Learning


Introduction to Academic Integrity: new online course for all students coming soon

6 August 2019

Supporting our students’ academic success by educating them about cheating and plagiarism, in light of recent changes to Student Academic Misconduct regulations.

Students sat at a table

A new short online course has been developed to help UCL students develop good academic practice. The course goes live in September and can be accessed via a link on every Moodle module.

Introduction to Academic Integrity

UCL education aims to help our students to become independent learners and knowledge creators, and it is vital that they develop the skills to formally recognize and reference the existing knowledge and ideas on which their work is based.

What you students learn from the course

Introduction to Academic Integrity is a 12-part Moodle course based on an existing course from UCL Institute of Education (IOE). It includes referencing protocols in the UK system, how to avoid plagiarism, what constitutes contract cheating and what is poor academic practice. 

In future, departments will be able to tailor one part of the course - 'Ways of writing to prevent plagiarism' – to reflect discipline-specific approaches.

Time required to complete the course

The course takes around 20 minutes to complete.

Course is not compulsory

While Introduction to Academic Integrity is not compulsory, any student found to have engaged in poor academic practice or academic misconduct will be required to retake it, as well as meeting their Departmental Tutor, Departmental Graduate Tutor or Programme Leader to discuss their work.

If Academic Misconduct is confirmed, a student can fail the module concerned, jeopardizing their potential to achieve a 2:1 or a First.

Promoting the course to students

There will be a link from every UCL Moodle module to the course and in 2019-20, departments are being asked to promote it to all their students. From 2020-21 onwards, the focus will be on embedding the course into the induction process for new students.

What is Academic Misconduct?

The UCL Academic Manual defines Academic Misconduct as any action or attempted action that may result in a student obtaining an unfair academic advantage. This can range from unauthorized exam room behaviour, representing other people’s work or ideas as their own, making false claims for extenuating circumstances or undertaking unauthorized collaboration with another student.

What is Poor Academic Practice?

The UCL Academic Manual now includes a definition of ‘Poor Academic Practice’. Only when a student has not yet received teaching or guidance on Academic Misconduct and referencing protocols can poor referencing be identified as poor academic practice: at this point, the student is asked to meet their Departmental Tutor, Departmental Graduate Tutor or Programme Leader to discuss their work and then to submit the work with corrections that address the issues. Thus, the new procedure is a mechanism for learning rather than a punitive measure.