The University’s move to online learning has seen students become more involved in online discussion groups across a range of social network platforms.
These groups are a great way to keep connected and to encourage collaboration between peers. But on the flipside, these online groups can sometimes lead to collusion, a serious issue that all students need to know about.
If you’re not aware of the risks, you may unknowingly become involved in collusion, and could be accused of academic dishonesty.
Put simply, collusion is any kind of cooperation that unfairly advantages a student, or group of students, over others.
When you see the word collusion, you’re probably thinking of a student getting someone else to complete their assignment, such as another classmate or even a private company. This type of collusion is known as contract cheating.
Not all forms of collusion are as clear-cut. Often, there is a fine line between what is known as ‘legitimate cooperation’ and collusion.
It’s important to remember not to share your work, and this includes after you’ve completed or submitted it. If you share your assignment with a fellow student, you’re guilty of collusion even if you completed the assignment on your own.
Here are a couple of scenarios to show you what other forms of collusion can look like, some of which might otherwise seem like legitimate cooperation at first.
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 as a whole.
If there is serious misconduct, then you can 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 that 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.