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General Requirements for Assignments - Bible/Theology and Counselling/Chaplaincy

This guide outlines the College’s expectations for written assessments in Theology, Counselling, and Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care.

What is Academic Integrity?

Academic Integrity is a foundational component of study in Australia and is based on the common values of honesty, respect, responsibility and a desire to give people credit for the work they have done in a fair and authentic way. We expect all students to pursue their studies with integrity and uphold the College’s reputation in training, education and research.

All Morling students should be familiar with the Australian College of Theology’s policy on Academic Misconduct (available on the ACT website) and/or the College’s policy on plagiarism (available on the College website).

  • Academic misconduct is engaging in practices including but not limited to cheating in tests, examinations, essays or other assessable work, plagiarism, unauthorised collusion, fraudulent or unethical research and scholarship practices.
  • Plagiarism is to take and use another person’s ideas and to fail to give appropriate acknowledgement. This includes material from any source, including other staff or students, the Internet, published and un-published works. The use of such work/s with superficial changes is still plagiarism and is a type of intellectual theft.


Plagiarism is a particular form of Academic Misconduct. Morling College regards the action of any student who plagiarises or misuses the work of other persons as dishonest and incompatible with the Christian standards of the College.

Wilful/Intentional Plagiarism is to be distinguished from inadequate and/or inappropriate attempts to acknowledge the words, works or ideas of someone else. The same rules apply regarding plagiarism when writing non-essay type assignments (reflections, sermons, exegesis) etc. as when writing standard academic assignments.

Some common forms of plagiarism

  • Copying, cutting and pasting text or images from any source and submitting it as your own work
  • Copying a section of a book or an article and submitting it as your own work
  • Using the words of someone else and presenting them as your own
  • Using the assignments (or sections of) of others and presenting them as your own
  • Using your own past assignments from Morling or other institutions (or sections of) and resubmitting them in a new assignment (self-plagiarism)
  • Using significant ideas from someone else and presenting them as your own
  • Copying the written expressions of someone else without proper acknowledgment
  • Using the structure of a source without acknowledging it

Morling College encourages cooperative learning and it is expected that students may discuss assignments with each other. However, unless a group task is required, students should prepare their own assignments, and the organisation and presentation of the assignment must be the student’s unaided work. If you are in doubt at all about plagiarism, then consult with your lecturers for clarification.


Self-plagiarism occurs when you submit a previously submitted assignment, or a section of that work, in a new assessment task without appropriate citation. This includes submitting written work you created for a different Unit, a different Award, or even at a different Institution.

Due to the integrative and formative approach of study at Morling it is likely that you will cover similar topics and research areas in various Units. As you progress through your Award your writing should reflect a deeper understanding of the fundamental concepts, an engagement with up-to-date research and critical thinking, and new insights you have gained through personal, ministry and spiritual formation.

Some tips for avoiding self-plagiarism

  • Never copy and paste from one assignment to another. Rewrite the information so that it relates directly to the new topic/question.
  • Rewrite sentences so that they are unique contributions to your current assignment.
  • Consider what material you need to answer the specific question or topic you are researching.
  • Change the way you engage with scholars and their writing:
    • Choose different quotations;
    • Synthesise a scholar’s viewpoint or perspective so that your comments relate directly to the question or other scholars you have engaged with in your assignment.
  • Check the Originality Report in Turnitin to see the level of similarity to other assignments.

Citing yourself

In very rare cases you might need to quote a short section (no more than 2 sentences) of an assignment you have previously submitted. If this is the case, you should treat the quotation as you would any other source and correctly cite it.* You may also wish to refer to something you have published.

Note: if you have a required number of texts for a Bibliography, your own work does not contribute to this requirement.

*If you are using EndNote, you will need to create a citation for material that is not formally published. Use “Thesis” as your Reference Type and  fill in the appropriate Fields:

  • Author
  • Year
  • Title (this could be the Assignment Question or a summary of the question)
  • University (this will most likely be Morling College but could be another institution)
  • Thesis Type (include the Unit Code [e.g. OT001] and the type of assignment [Essay, Reflection, Tutorial Paper, Book review etc.])

Using AI in Assignments

Recent improvements in chatbots and AI content creators have raised significant ethical questions around intellectual property, copyright and academic integrity.

The ACT Academic Integrity Policy states that "the use of artificial intelligence tools (including, but not limited to, ChatGPT or similar), in any assessment task, including project or thesis" is a form of academic misconduct. There are two exceptions to this rule:

  1. where the use of the tool is for preliminary research on a topic, in which case the use of the tool including its name must be acknowledged.
  2. In the case where a lecturer provides written authorisation for the use of an artificial intelligence tool for any other aspects of an assessment task, in which case any student use must be fully referenced.

If you are in any doubt as to whether the use that you are planning to make of an AI-enabled software application or website falls within the category of “preliminary research” you should contact the lecturer to check.

Another authorised use of AI, in all assignments, is to provide the kind of editorial assistance that can be provided by a “fellow student, friend, family member etc”:

It is appropriate for a student to ask a fellow student, friend or family member to:

  • complete a basic edit/review of an assignment; highlighting common spelling or grammatical errors, structural problems, problems with referencing or formatting
  • provide some guidance on vocabulary and translation, especially for NESB students

Assistance of this sort may be obtained through the use of AI-enabled applications such as ChatGPT, Grammarly or GrammarlyGo, provided any use of AI for this purpose is fully referenced, as set out in our Chicago and APA referencing guides.

Other permissible uses of AI may be authorised within the written instructions provided to students for particular assignments, and should be similarly referenced.

Turnitin Similarity Reports

Turnitin is a tool that identifies levels of similarity between your writing and published work, whether online or in print. Assignments at Morling are usually submitted online via Moodle and Turnitin.

A Similarity Report identifies similarities between your writing and previous assignments you have submitted or assignments that have been submitted by other students (at Morling and in other institutions). Students are encouraged to check their Similarity Report so that they can resubmit by the due date if they identify areas of concern.

There is more information about Turnitin on the MC101 Study Skills page of Moodle.

Assessing Academic Misconduct - Policies

Students should familise themselves with the relevant policy regarding Academic Misconduct. Policies can be found on the Morling website. The current policy links are below – but it is always best to go to the website in case there have been updates.

© 2016 Morling College. Morling College is an affiliated institution with the Australian College of Theology (CRICOS Provider 02650E). Morling College Counselling (CRICOS Provider 03265F).