Collaborate, don't collude
Studying within a group can be a great way to stay connected and motivated. But, it's important you know the difference between legitimate collaboration and collusion, so you can avoid being accused of academic dishonesty.
With exam season right around the corner, library and study spaces across campus have come alive with students studying together.
Study groups are a great way to keep connected, stay motivated and encourage collaboration between peers. But, studying in groups can also sometimes lead to collusion - a serious issue all students need to be aware of.
If you're not aware of the risks, you may unknowingly become involved in collusion, and could be accused of academic dishonesty.
Collusion is any kind of cooperation that unfairly advantages a student, or group of students, over others.
There are different types of collusion. For example, if a student gets someone else to complete their assignment, such as another classmate or a private company, this is considered contract cheating.
But, not all forms of collusion are as clear-cut. Often, there is a fine line between legitimate cooperation and collusion.
To ensure you avoid academic dishonesty, here are some examples of legitimate cooperation and collusion.
The academic consequences for collusion are numerous. You may be asked to resubmit an assignment or re-sit an exam with a mark penalty. Or, you may receive an automatic fail mark, either for the assignment or for the Unit of Study.
If the collusion is considered serious misconduct, you could face suspension from your studies for one or more semesters. International students can also be at risk of losing their student visa.
There are several ways you can mitigate the risk of engaging in collusion.
If you become aware that collusion has occurred, you can report it to your lecturer, tutor or to the University’s Office of Educational Integrity. We treat all reports of academic dishonesty made by students as confidential.
Updated: 15 May 2023.