Associate Professor Alice Payne teaches a core unit for Creative Industries students, exploring the ethical and environmental issues that surround the fashion industry. It provides students with foundational knowledge while challenging them to think critically about sustainable practices. “I want to encourage students to reflect on the complexities of the topics, weighing up ethical issues and trade-offs.”
The assessments in the subject support this and are designed to be authentic, real-world tasks. Students complete research to produce an industry-style report that encourages them to develop a critical and reflective mindset. Although the assessment supports deep learning, Alice found that several submissions had high Turnitin scores suggesting students lacked appropriate academic writing skills. “There were at least a dozen cases of academic misconduct, with one becoming a major case”. Alice saw a significant increase in her workload as she had to review submissions, have conversations with students, and proceed with academic misconduct hearings.
To decrease plagiarism issues, the next time Alice ran the assessment she adapted the task to prompt responses that were less descriptive and more reflective. Along with this, she moved the task into Cadmus. Alice loved the Paste Chip feature in the Student Environment, which prompts students to paraphrase or cite when they paste text into their work. “The environment seemed very useful to students. I liked that they were getting a signal. They could stop and think, ‘hang on a minute, I’m copying and pasting’. I think it’s all too easy for students to cut and paste and then forget — so Cadmus prompting them to paraphrase as they wrote was incredibly helpful.”
Alice also found the Learning Analytics from Cadmus incredibly useful, giving her confidence around student engagement. “It enabled me to speak with more authority. It wasn’t just my gut feeling; I had evidence about how students were working.” This allowed Alice to have conversations with students, encouraging earlier engagement with the task.
Since using Cadmus, the most significant change Alice has seen is in the number of academic integrity issues within the cohort. “We had only one very minor plagiarism issue. I think this [reduction] was a result of Cadmus.” She also felt that learning improved by using Cadmus, as it encouraged students to understand the writing process — something that students and educators don’t do enough, she points out. “From a learning perspective, the fact that there were fewer instances of plagiarism really demonstrates that students were learning throughout the process. Using Cadmus presents an opportunity for teachers to reflect on the writing process with students. We did a bit of this, but there’s certainly room for more.”
When thinking about her experience with Cadmus, Alice also felt more at ease throughout the assessment process. “I thought a lot of uncertainty was removed. I didn’t have to worry about it being a Word doc or a PDF; all of the angst around formatting was taken away.” Having all her resources and instructions in one place, and always up to date was also helpful. “It smoothed things out. It was just more straight forward and really simplified assessment coordination.”