One of the key things we need to do when we start to study is get into some great habits right away. That means brushing up on, or for some of us it is learning for the first time, how and why we reference in our academic work.
It turns out it is because it helps us prove we wrote all of this ourselves and that we aren’t using other people’s ideas or words without proper attribution. We know we can’t be taking other people’s ideas and passing them off as our own, but did you know you can use other people’s ideas as a basis for your learning – so long as we clearly mark how and where we found them? There are some great resources here about how to write in your own words, provided by The Open University.
And if you have a reasonable amount of spare time, there is a short free course on how to use your own words and why referencing is important. It really builds skill you will need for good academic practice. It is about 6 hours of study but can make you seriously consider how and why we need to be careful with sharing our work and collusion with others. You can find it here: All My Own Work: exploring academic integrity.
All these skills will help you feel certain that you won’t fall foul of any concerns about that form of academic conduct. If you are writing your own content and referencing all the times that you use anyone else’s work, either from the module, from your tutor or from other students on your forum, or from external reading, you can do so safe in the knowledge that you will be scoring better and won’t be in trouble later for trying to pass other people’s ideas as your own.
If you know how you have utilised what you are learning and can show where you have sourced things from, you won’t be leaving yourself open to accusations of plagiarism during your study journey.
If you do fall into trouble, and find yourself subject to claims of plagiarism, or other forms of academic misconduct, there is a new service at the Students Association that can support you through that process, because nobody needs to face that alone.
In this new service, we can provide independent, free and confidential advice to OU Students. We are able to offer 1-2-1 direct case support for students with existing and open complaints, as well as providing a hub of useful resources about the complaints process. You can find more information about this service here, on the academic misconduct pages of The Students Association website.
You can also read more about the service in a previous Hoot article where we explain a bit more about what we do in individual representation.
For more essay and exam tips, click here.