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Dr. Sarah Dowling works with a diverse group of international students, in a pathway program for entry into the University of Melbourne. The bridging year between secondary and higher education is extremely rigorous and demands high academic achievement, which is why Sarah values curriculum that is student-centered and dynamic. She encourages students to read scholarly work in their field. “It is the best way to learn the writing style and academic expectations of your discipline,” she says.

While developing student confidence in the classroom, Sarah places great emphasis on building the skills of students in self-reflection and their moral awareness of the importance of academic integrity. At Trinity College, Sarah whole-heartedly believes that academic integrity is fundamental to the credibility of academia and higher education:

“Academic dishonesty is a type of corruption. If those of us producing the world’s best knowledge are corrupt, that’s as damaging as corruption among the decision-makers and power-brokers of the world.”

Across the Tasman in New Zealand, Sherna Matta is teaching her year 10 students about sharing ideas, but with an emphasis on the attribution of those ideas. As a high school biology teacher and a Year 10 Dean, Sherna sees the importance of building a foundation of learned citation and writing skills prior to entering university.

“People must be credited for their intellectual property. That is an integral part of my writing, and I encourage my students to do the same.”

At Baradene College of the Sacred Heart, Sherna has seen a growing awareness of academic integrity on her school campus. And she’s pleased to see how interested people are in using Turnitin to prevent plagiarism and to reduce hard-copy printouts.

“Turnitin reduces paper use, for sure. And it is an awesome means for providing feedback and feedforward, and for internal assessment standards,” says Sherna. “Personally, I have a lot more ideas and feel more confident to implement systems using Turnitin as a platform.”

Sherna feels strongly that students must comprehend the issue before they go into the serious academic community of university, where plagiarism has significant consequences. Even simple misunderstandings or citation mistakes on a final research project can have lasting effects on a student’s relationship with writing and their academic reputation.

As educators and Turnitin Global Innovators, both Sherna and Sarah agree that integrity is at the core of their teaching. Sarah says:

“We need to take responsibility for the genuine learning of our students, or else we allow not only corruption but also incompetence to proliferate. [Ensuring] academic integrity is a big responsibility, but one that’s essential to the value of what we do.”


Interested in reading more? Check out all of the 2018 Global Innovator stories here!