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University of Melbourne’s ‘FAIR’ app for academic referencing

Faridah Wu

Thu Oct 31 2013


EVER had your assignments marked down for incorrect citations? Faridah Wu reviews the University of Melbourne’s new FAIR app and navigates the thorny issue of academic integrity. 


The University of Melbourne’s FAIR Project team has developed an app to help students understand academic integrity.

The aptly named FAIR (From Academic Integrity to Responsibility) has four different sections. It’s easy to navigate and with bite-sized information to help you along the way.

The ‘Help Me Now!’ section is filled with real-life scenarios in case you need an immediate solution to a problem, such as team members not pulling their weight in group projects. If you have a last-minute assignment, FAIR can even point you to sites where you can find sources – but don’t expect it to do your work for you!

FAIR’s Tools and Resources section is full of guides to aid your research. The paraphrasing and referencing guides are especially useful for essays. It even has a selection of plagiarism horror stories from around the world, which serve as cautionary tales.

However, it would help if the app’s main referencing website, re:cite, was compatible with mobile platforms. The app also opens documents as PDF files, which look fine on tablets but can be tiresome to read on phones.

There’s also a quiz with 11 questions that immediately marks your answers and provides explanations. Think you know everything about academic integrity? Think again. I took the quiz expecting to get full marks. Instead, the app had to reiterate the importance of proper referencing in presentations, as well as academic honesty.

If you answered the questions incorrectly, the quiz highlights areas where you can improve. Knowing your weaknesses keeps you from getting caught unawares when your assignments are graded. Why lose marks if you can help it?

FAIR is especially useful if you’re an international student whose previous school had a different system of academic referencing. I, for one, don’t expect to lose any more marks over wrong citations.

The FAIR app is available for free on iTunes and Google Play. If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, you can access it online at the official website or at the mobile website.