The fundamental values promoted by the University of St Andrews for academic work are: honesty, responsibility, fairness, justice, (self) respect for your work, learning and ultimately your degree. These values have been written into our Good Academic Practice Policy (GAP). To enable every student to be aware of our principles, practice and policy an online course was developed: Training in Good Academic Practice (TGAP).
TGAP was introduced by the University this year to all students, regardless of year of course or degree. The main objective was to help improve students’ understanding of the values expected in their academic writing. During the development of this online course, available via Moodle, we had to consider what was needed by staff and students.
Staff were looking for a tool that would inform students of the Good Academic Practice Policy and enhance the skills that students already have about good academic practice. The ‘Policy’ covers 8 main areas, where our knowledge of academic practice may fall down, not only because of plagiarism but other areas that the University adhere to, these are: multiple submission, falsification of data, false citation, cheating in exams, aiding and abetting, coercion and contract cheating.
Students were looking for a tool that would enable them to understand Good Academic Practice (GAP), what are the effects and the impact of the Policy upon students.
As yet it is too soon to gauge the impact; however; from my point of view less students are attending 1:1 sessions (and drop-ins) for general referencing issues. The queries that now arise are more specific to individual course-works.
Students’ feedback indicates that they view TGAP as a valuable resource; especially in regard to its impact upon the major areas of GAP. Below are some of the comments I have received (there are many more):
- ‘wish I had this available in 1st year … valuable…’ – 3rd year student
- ‘excellent – I now know why I have to reference’ – 2nd year student
- ‘really good … at my last [school] we did not have anything like this … we didn’t reference and could use our own work over and over again. I would have been guilty of misconduct here at St Andrews’ – 1st year student
I am sure there will be another blog on the impact of TGAP, when it is possible to evaluate the growing amount of data more clearly.
Watch this space!