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Understanding the academic integrity and plagiarism link, and its importance for Indonesia

Jack Brazel
Jack Brazel
Regional Director, South East Asia






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Where academic integrity fits in the learning experience

In its broadest sense, plagiarism is defined as passing off someone else’s work as your own which is at odds with academic integrity. Conversely, academic integrity is the commitment to upholding values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility in academic work.

A recent study revealed some interesting insights into the rise of academic integrity breaches, in online learning environments among Indonesian students. Proper training, or lack thereof, was found to be an aggravating factor in instances of academic dishonesty. The solution? It starts with pairing effective academic integrity policies with meaningful guidance and formative learning opportunities to support and guide students to avoid all forms of plagiarism; deliberate or otherwise.

In turn, this approach enables classrooms to nurture a growth mindset, which has emerged in Herdian and Rahayu’s study as a potentially powerful element in steering students away from plagiarism. Engaging students by providing tailored feedback will also encourage self-paced learning and nurture them to invest in their intellectual growth. An optimised use of technology can create learning opportunities to offer constructive, student-centred feedback, which encourages rather than demoralises students. Turnitin QuickMarks, for example, is a software that offers educators the opportunity to provide voice notes that embed a more contextual and personal evaluation of student performance as part of feedback loops.

Awareness and deterrence of plagiarism

According to qualitative research by Hasna, Nurkamto et al, academic integrity was viewed seriously by Indonesian undergraduates participating in the study. However, participants also identified a lack of clarity about what constitutes plagiarism. In tandem with specific educator instruction on avoiding acts of plagiarism, encouraging students to be more accountable for their learning goals would also work to deter plagiarism caused by student apathy and disconnection from learning materials. Peer review is one method of getting students to rise to the challenge in the quality of work they submit, and a peer review assignment tool like PeerMark can support review and evaluation of their peers in an instructor-monitored setting.

Implementing anti-plagiarism policies amid cultural norms

In a study by Kutieleh, which observed Indonesian university students studying in the west, their cultural notion of collectivism and intellectual ownership poses an alternate attitude towards plagiarism. Among Indonesians, study groups or “kelompok belajar” encourage students to collaborate and exchange ideas on research and writing assignments with no need for owner acknowledgement or citation. Understanding of what constitutes plagiarism can be contextual and influenced by cultural practices. Tech-enabled solutions, however, offer flexibility to educators to address the specific issues facing them and their classrooms. For example, scaffolding teacher feedback with Turnitin Feedback Studio’ s discussion board can make the definitions of plagiarism and academic integrity clearer, enabling teacher feedback to be discussed with peers in relation to students’ cultural understandings. Furthermore, QuickMark Sets can semi-automate repetitive marking tasks with its drag-and-drop feature when leaving comments, so that teachers have more room to focus on communicating with students whilst improving the quality and timeliness of feedback.

As Southeast Asia’s fastest growing digital market, Indonesia is becoming more digitised, including its education sector. Online learning delivery is spurring the proliferation of EdTech products, such as learning management systems (LMS) and virtual classrooms for teacher-student collaboration. Feedback Studio’s instructional tools can integrate with a host of learning management systems, encouraging formative learning, in time for Indonesia’s recently rolled out competency-based assessment, Asesmen Kompetensi Murni (AKM). Considering the competency-based nature of the AKM, educators and institutions can harness learning solutions like QuickMark Sets to help scale assessments and save time on grading.

The move to online learning has been rapid, and educators and institutions need to rethink assessment security where traditional student visibility is reduced. Feedback Studio’s set of grading, feedback and similarity checking tools are ideal for helping keep students on track and securing assessments in hybrid learning environments, as in the case with Indonesia’s Universitas Negeri Semarang (UNNES).

Practising academic integrity

Amid ongoing disruption, students and education professionals need all the support they can get. With tech-enabled learning environments, educators and students can participate in open discussions and intuitive workflows to help plug knowledge or skill gaps and ensure that students feel seen and heard.

Similarly, educators can benefit from this technology in terms of productivity and gaining valuable insights to inform their teaching practice. Solutions like Feedback Studio can be deployed to enhance rubric design and facilitate competency-based assessment design in ways that were not possible using traditional, manual methods. This student-centred approach that better addresses the various motivations for student cheating holds the key to raising standards of learning, and crucially, the standard to which students hold themselves.

As Indonesia continues its rapid development towards digitalisation, educating its people on academic integrity will contribute to the development of the nation overall, with it’s workforce benefitting from the supply of quality human resources. Indonesia’s progress in becoming an advanced nation is clear, emphasising the need for further academic integrity and supporting policies to underpin this growth.