What is it?
Collusion happens when more than one student contributes to a piece of work that is submitted as the work of an individual. Individual assessment work should be entirely the work of the student submitting that work.
Working together with other students on a piece of work that will be submitted for individual assessment is not permitted and can result in an accusation of academic misconduct for all the students involved.
It is also not permitted to work together on work in progress, research summaries, or drafts, as these preliminary works may result in similarity of the finished products of the students involved.
Discussing the material and ideas you are learning with your colleagues is beneficial and is encouraged. However, when you start to write down the material that you will use for assessment, make sure this is entirely your own work, and do not share it with other students.
Collusion is different from group work where students are instructed by the university to work together and the work is then assessed as a group effort.
Examples of collusion
1. When the numbers don't add up
Angie, Benny, and Dominic are taking a quantitative analysis subject. They each have to write up a quantitative results section from a set of results they have been given. They have all done their research and reading alone and are meeting at the library to write up the results section together. They feel this is okay because the formal structure of writing up quantitative results means their work should look almost the same anyway.
This is collusion and constitutes academic misconduct.
2. Rushing to get the assignment done
Jay, Amy, Simon, and Francine are taking a subject in Organisational Behaviour. The individual assignment is quite complex, requiring them to research five different theories and they only have two weeks to get it done. The group of friends agrees to divide up the work to save time. Jay works on two of the smaller theories, and the others work on one theory each. They each prepare a well-researched summary of their theory, and then share the summaries among the others. Then they each write their own assignment alone.
This is collusion and constitutes academic misconduct. Each student should do all of their own research and not use any work done by another student.
3. A well-oiled machine
Jay, Amy, Simon, and Francine are in a team for a group assignment in Organisational Behaviour. They are required to analyse a case study and apply the theory they have learnt in class. They must write a 2000-word report and make a 10-minute presentation in class. The assessment instructions say they can divide the task any way they like, but every student must participate equally and must speak during the presentation. Simon is a natural leader and helps to organise the team's workflow and structure of the report. Amy loves research and writing. She makes summaries of relevant theory and the case study. The whole team contributes to the writing, but Amy does most of the editing, and referencing. Francine is quite creative and prepares the PowerPoint slides. Jay is a gifted speaker and he writes the scripts for the team to learn for the presentation. The team all agreed to what tasks they would perform and considered that each member was doing a fair share of the workload.
This example is fine and there is no academic misconduct as the team has followed the task instructions which indicated they should work together on this assessment task.
- Do not provide work for another student to submit as part of their own assessment.
- Do not use the work of another student as your own for assessment.
- Do not co-write or share the background information that you will use in your assessable work
- Working collaboratively with other students when you have been instructed by the university to do so for group assessment is okay.