The news that Sunderland University allows "students to copy up to one-fifth of assignments without punishment" where "there is some doubt about whether the cohort has been properly briefed" is not the way forward.
As lecturers, we should accept our responsibilities to teach citation and referencing explicitly and make sure that no student passing the first assignment or two is in any doubt as to what we expect from them. However, unless we ensure that students are informed of unacceptable academic practices and given justification as to why this is important and relevant from their perspective, we are being unfair in either letting them off or harshly punishing them.
Joint Information Systems Committee
Plagiarism Advisory Service