Learning online: guidelines, tips and support

Be professionalBe professional

Make sure your communications, outputs (artefacts) and behaviours in the online environment are professional.

Understand academic integrity

Academic integrity means that all work presented is produced by the student alone, with all sources and collaboration fully acknowledged (Academic integrity, 2.1).

This resource provides a tutorial, quiz and text-matching information to support your understanding of academic integrity and use of text-matching software (Turnitin).

All students and staff have an obligation to understand and respect the rules and practice of academic integrity. It is therefore expected that students and staff will adhere to high standards of academic integrity. You can view the full Flinders University Academic integrity policy under Student-related policies and procedures.

Please read the University’s Academic Integrity policy and Information for students webpage (the overview video is a good place to start).

Avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of another person's words or ideas as if they were one's own (Student Academic Integrity Policy).

Referencing, a standard convention within the academic and professional communities, is designed to inform the reader of the sources of information used in a piece of written work.

Understanding how to reference helps you avoid plagiarism. Be guided by the topic coordinator in regards to referencing and referencing styles. Academic integrity, 2.2.1 lists ways you might plagiarise. Referencing links you to referencing systems and resources (Student Learning Centre).

Use text-matching software for draft assignments

Flinders University provides text-matching software (Turnitin) for use by staff and students. 

University policy allows you to submit drafts of your assignments and view the report. (See the example draft box below.) This is useful If you are unsure whether or not your written work may too closely resemble your source material. More about submitting a draft to Turnitin

draft text-matching dropbox in your topics

Your text-based electronically submitted assignments will automatically be submitted to Turnitin as part of the assignment submission process in FLO (there are occasional exceptions). Teaching staff will look at those reports when they think plagiarism (either intentional or unintentional) may be present.

Know how to communicate online

A general rule is to always maintain a respectful online presence when you communicate with others. 

The University expects professional and respectful behaviour from students when participating in forums. Make sure you read about appropriate/acceptable behaviours when using digital technologies ('netiquette') before commencing your study. Teaching staff will model appropriate behaviours for you.

Use social media appropriately

If you choose to use social media sites outside of FLO for interactions with other students, these are considered personal communication spaces, rather than Flinders learning spaces. If you use Facebook or any other social media, be aware that:

  • there are risks in sharing information in social media as other students may copy your ideas in their assessable work in breach of academic integrity principles. Heavy penalties may apply for breaches
  • discussion on social media sites is not monitored by the topic coordinator/tutor and may be misleading or incorrect. Without proper academic supervision, great care must be taken in assuming the accuracy, relevance and reliability of any study-related discussions.

Under no circumstances should there be defamatory exchanges on social media ('trolling' or 'cyber bullying') – whether pertinent to other students, the University, or to University staff. If the topic coordinator becomes aware of any social media comments that are defamatory, the matter will be referred for legal support to secure retraction and removal of those comments, and action may be taken against the student, if identified. It is strongly suggested that discussion on any forum be professional and not involve any derogatory statements about individuals, groups or entities.

You should read about social media appropriate/acceptable behaviours before commencing your study.

You may be given an authentic activity such as posting to a public blog/forum (eg professional or organisational). Think about your post carefully before submitting it as you will want to create a professional impression, and your post is likely to remain in the blogosphere/other public space for a long time!

Keep and curate your work

As you progress through your degree, you may want to keep 'artefacts' (assessment items etc) as an ongoing reference or for beyond-university purposes (eg employability). Such artefacts may include:

  • Forum posts
  • Presentations
  • Project materials
  • Videos
  • Research

You might choose to store these items in one convenient location (eg your computer) or disperse them among several locations (eg your computer, a blog, an external storage site such as Google Docs). These artefacts could contribute to an eportfolio that you build and document for your future career/experience. Flinders University supports Mahara eportfolio for which you automatically have an account. You can access your Mahara eportfolio from Okta or FLO (drop-down menu next to your name in grey toolbar).

Know where to find support

  • Your Careers Zone (Careers and Employer Liaison Centre): 'Assisting you to best prepare for employment and career progression'
  • Horizon Award: 'Formal recognition for extra-curricular activities, programs and experiences that add to your professional skill development'
  • Mahara eportfolio: Instructions on how to use this tool to create journals, collections, pages and other artefacts which you can keep private or share with others

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