John Norris discusses how to ensure your CII work isn’t plagiarised
Plagiarism is the taking of someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. This poses a threat to the authenticity of CII qualifications and is rigorously monitored – and will lead to disciplinary action.
Of course, you should never take another learner’s assignment and use any part of it to write your own. But you should also never give access to any part of your assignment to another learner; and furthermore you should secure your assignment against the risk of being seen by others.
The profession has recently seen an increase in remote working, with more documents saved to shared cloud drives and virtual spaces; and in hotdesking, with the potential for documents to be left at a shared area. Be it an online workspace or a physical one, there is a greater possibility than ever for your CII coursework assignments to be taken and plagiarised.
One of the CII’s authenticity rules is that you must not provide access to your assignment to anyone else. This can include keeping an unprotected assignment in a shared space that is accessible to others. As such, you should take steps to protect your assignment as you would any other confidential document.
As plagiarism investigators, it is not always possible to determine who has plagiarised whom. Usually, the person who submits first will be the original author – especially if submitting far in advance of the other learner.
However, we have had learners who have written their assignment early but were hesitant to submit early, for fear of ‘something I had missed suddenly coming to me’. This meant a plagiarist was able to take the assignment from a shared drive and submit in advance of the original author.
This was, of course, an incredibly stressful time for the original author, as the truth was slowly uncovered through continuing investigation and disciplinary panel hearings. This was regrettable and also preventable. Sadly, there are individuals who will try and copy your assignment – be it a full paste of all your work, or the promise to ‘just look at the quotes you have found’ that ends up overstepping the mark.
Please do not agree to give sight of your assignment to anyone else, and if another individual asks for your assignment and you feel uncomfortable because of an uneven power dynamic – maybe someone senior is asking you – then please seek the help of our professional standards department.
As much as possible, you should indemnify yourself against these worst-case scenarios by password-protecting your assignment and saving it in a personal space that is not accessible to others, and ensuring that physical copies are not left lying around. This is not to blame the victims of plagiarism, with whom we must have the upmost sympathy – but cases are not always clear cut and any action you can undertake to mitigate the risks should be performed.
For details on how to avoid inadvertent plagiarism within your own assignments, please watch our webinar here: https://vimeo.com/534463047
John Norris is assessment coordinator, assessment standards and innovations at the CII