Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Developing good academic practice
Developing good academic practice

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Developing good academic practice


This free course, Developing good academic practice, is designed to help you develop good academic practice in your studies, and when producing assignments and completing assessments.

It’s important for you to understand the rules of the academic world right from the beginning of your studies.

We’re not asking you to develop good academic practice for the sake of it. These guidelines will help you with your writing – a key graduate skill.

This course will also help you avoid being accused of plagiarism, but that in itself is not the complete objective; we want you to develop good academic writing skills.

We will explain what we mean by academic practice, and then unpick some of the ideas in more detail, such as writing in your own words, the difference between collaboration and collusion, what’s common knowledge in your area of study, and how to reference other people’s ideas and writing. We will also examine some of the reasons why some students have been accused of plagiarism.

Just to reassure you, we stress that everybody can develop good writing skills. If you are new to the academic world, your university or higher learning institution will do its best to help you to develop your skills, and will focus on the development of good academic practice rather than penalising poor practice. However, once you become an experienced student you will be expected to follow the rules and plagiarism will be punished when it’s detected. However, these cases are rare and usually arise from deliberate cheating.

The time spent studying the topics covered in the course early in your studies is a valuable investment that will help you throughout your studies and elsewhere.

The course is designed to be dipped in and out of. Perhaps you’d like a refresher on a specific area? Perhaps you’d like to work through the whole course from beginning to end – it’s entirely up to you. But before you begin, take the quiz below to get a sense of how much of the concept ‘good academic practice’ you understand, and where you could improve. If you think you already understand what this phrase means, and the skills it involves, you’ll be able to take the quiz now and identify the areas you need to brush up. Once you’ve studied these areas you can then retake the quiz to confirm that you now understand them.

If you’re new to university study we recommend that after you take the quiz, you work through the course section by section, and take the quiz at the end of each section, and then retake the quiz at the end of resource to see how far you’ve come.

Introductory level: good academic practices quiz [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Advanced level: good academic practices quiz

Find out more about studying with The Open University by visiting our online prospectus