The Face-Less Crowd exhibition highlights the perils of cheating in higher education

The Face-Less Crowd is a student-led exhibition about Academic Integrity at Torrens University

A new exhibition called The Face-Less Crowd at Torrens University will tackle academic cheating head-on with at times confronting student experiences brought to life in visual installations designed by students.

Cheating is a big problem worldwide. It is estimated one in ten students at Australian Higher Education institutions have used a commercial cheating service – risking reputation and integrity as well as exposing themselves to threats and sabotage by online ‘contract cheating’ operators. The Face-Less Crowd exhibition highlights various types of academic integrity breaches.

Professor Alwyn Louw, Vice-Chancellor of Torrens University says the issue is one of the most pressing concerns in the sector - despite the efforts by government and regulatory authorities to crack down on commercial cheating services.

“There are now laws and fines which target these services. There is also close monitoring by regulators and of course vigilance across higher education institutions.” Professor Louw said.

“But these cheating services are getting more sophisticated and insidious. We need to do whatever we can to maintain academic integrity that is so critical to protecting the reputation of Australian Higher Education.”

The Face-Less Crowd exhibition features 25 works by Torrens University Design students. Each piece reflects real-life experiences and sentiments of students and is aimed at heightening awareness of the dangers of academic cheating.

They range from personal experiences of blackmail and extortion by online cheating operators to realisation of the value of earning a degree with integrity.

Dr Kris Nicholls, Director of Academic Integrity at Torrens University says a very important aspect of the Face-Less Crowd exhibition is the involvement of our student Academic Integrity Ambassadors.

“Our Ambassadors are incredibly important because of their effectiveness in influencing their peers,” Dr Nicholls said.

“A few engaged in ‘contract cheating’ and learned some serious lessons. So, their perspectives, reflections and voices add potency and authenticity to the works and messaging in the exhibition.”

Student Liv Coughlan, who contributed to the exhibition explained how it was a two-way process.

“As students we can learn and grow from each other. It is important to start conversations about academic misconduct and its consequences,” Liv said.

Elle Abdo, a communication design student, highlighted the deeper and personal dimension of values.

“Academic Integrity is important to maintain a sense of respect. Not only respect for yourself, but respect for your craft and all the people involved.”

The Face-Less Crowd exhibition will be open from Monday 11 July until Friday 15 July at Torrens University's Flinders Street (Melbourne), Surry Hills (Sydney), Wakefield Street (Adelaide) and Bowen Terrace (Brisbane) campuses. 

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