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Jess McNamara

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Common questions mid-year

We have gotten through Semester 1, we are nearly done with exams, and we are looking forward to our results being posted. But what if things don’t turn out like we hope? There are common questions I’m asked by students at this time of year. Check them out here.

What should I do if I get a letter from the Uni saying I have cheated on an assignment?
Receiving an allegation of academic misconduct (e.g. plagiarism, collusion) can be daunting. An allegation is based on evidence such as a Turnitin report or screenshots from a Facebook group. The University takes academic integrity and academic misconduct seriously – and so should you. Recognising another person’s work and effort is important. Doing your own work helps you to learn. It is a good idea to talk to a student advocate to learn about the University’s policies and procedures around academic misconduct, and prepare a response to their allegation for your Hearing. You don’t have to have a support person with you at your Hearing, but it can help! Respond to their email as soon as possible and let them know you will attend your Hearing.

What should I do if my exam result is lower than I expected?
This happens – and there are a range of options available to you. It is worth emailing your subject coordinator immediately and letting them know. They can check that your result has been entered correctly into the system and fix it if there was a mistake. They can check that marks for questions were added correctly to provide the score for the exam overall. If you ask specifically, they can review the exam with you, and check that the grading was reasonable.

I failed a subject – what are my options?
You DO have options. What they are depends on your individual circumstances. Is this your last subject for your course? Did you fail by 1%? 20%? Which assignment let you down? Do you have a LAP? It is a good idea to email your student advocate and provide as much detail as possible so they can let you know about the relevant policy applicable to your situation and help you find out if there’s anything you can do to get a pass.

I had a letter from the Uni saying my academic progress is at risk and they’ve put sanctions in place. What does that mean?
When you enrol in your degree, it is expected that you will pass your subjects and complete your degree within a specific timeframe. Sometimes, that doesn’t happen. The Uni keeps a check on your progress – have you failed a subject? Which subject? How many? You are assigned a level of ‘risk’ of exiting your degree. At a certain level of risk, sanctions are applied, in an attempt to help you succeed. Sometimes, a sanction might be limiting how many subjects you can enrol in. But, this may not be appropriate to you. It is a good idea to attend any meeting you are invited to, and if you don’t like what happens, you can appeal decisions. Your student advocate can go with you and help you with an appeal.

I tried to talk to my lecturer and they made me feel uncomfortable. Now I’m scared about talking to them again. What can I do?
We have the right, as students, to feedback about our work. So, emailing or calling our Subject Coordinator is a good idea when you want more information than what’s on the rubric you get back with your mark. But sometimes, the conversation leaves us uncomfortable, intimidated or confused.
You need to know that you are entitled to safe, respectful meetings. Staff have a Code of Conduct they need to follow, and when they don’t, there’s a range of options open to you. The first step is to tell someone what happened and how you feel about it. This could be a friend, a counsellor, Speak Up, or your student advocate. We are here for you.

Questions? Concerns? Please call or email Michelle, your student advocate
0413 430 822