Using the internet or social media as a platform for inappropriately sharing information is academic misconduct. Even if you don't know, or have no contact with, the people providing or accessing this information, the sharing of resources online and via social media platforms is also subject to the regulations regarding plagiarism and collusion.
1. Jillian's marketing exam
Jillian is a third year Commerce student sitting her final exam for a Marketing subject. She memorises the short answer questions and posts them privately on a social media site as a future resource for her friends who are still in second-year.
Jillian is deliberately helping her friends gain an unfair advantage. This is academic misconduct by both Jillian and any of her friends who use this material.
2. A helpful resource for medical students?
Yifan is in the first year of the MD program. A friend gave him a USB drive that contains a collection of past exam papers from MD1. Yifan isn't sure if these were past practice exams, questions recalled by students after sitting exams, or if they are actual exam papers that were dishonestly obtained. He is aware that many of his friends have also acquired this resource but feels uncomfortable that it is not available to the whole student cohort, giving some students an unfair advantage. Yifan is considering posting these exam papers into a Google Doc so that it can be shared with all the MD1 students.
If he posts them, Yifan is deliberately aiding other students to cheat, including students he may not know. This is academic misconduct. Even though his motivation might seem honourable, because he was hoping to create fairness across the student cohort, in fact Yifan is enabling all the students to subvert the integrity of the assessment task. This is why it amounts to academic misconduct. What Yifan should have done is advise his lecturer of his concerns, so the lecturer can work out an appropriate response that is fair to the whole student cohort and guarantees the integrity of the regime. This might include designing a new assessment task.
3. Online essays
Huong is writing an essay for her philosophy class. A friend showed her a website that has several essays from students who took this class in previous years. While the case study for the essay is slightly different, the underlying theory and concepts are the same. Huong found this resource to be very helpful when writing her essay. In fact, with some sections she only had to alter the names in the case study and use the wording of the online essay. She is now going to upload her own essay to the site as a public resource for any other students who may take that class in future.
Huong has plagiarised from the online essay. This is academic misconduct.
By uploading her own essay, she is aiding other students to gain an unfair advantage. This is academic misconduct for both Huong and any student who uses this material.
4. Online chatting or cheating?
Linda, Paula, Jason, and Eduardo are friends all taking a Criminal Law subject. They have a take-home exam to complete on Wednesday night. The exam is hosted on the University Learning Management System requiring them to log in and authenticate their exam answers. The group of friends has agreed to all log in to an online chat forum so they can discuss the questions together.
This is collusion. It violates the rules; it is an example of academic misconduct.