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The University defines collusion as a 'form of cheating which occurs when people work together in a deceitful way to develop a submission for an assessment which has been restricted to individual effort'.  This means that you have worked together on a task, that you were instructed to do by yourself.  You are allowed to get help from Peer Learning Advisors or other University teaching staff.

The policy also states that avoiding unauthorised collaboration is a student's responsibility.  Students must "produce assignments independently, except when they are asked to participate in a group project requiring a joint group response to a task".

Cooperation or collusion?

Group tasks: you will be advised what the members of the group are expected to do together, and what (if anything) they are expected to do separately.  If you are unsure, check with your tutor or lecturer.

Collusion Cooperation
Planning a response together; copying a plan for an individual assessment. Analysing the assessment question together.
Paraphrasing someone else's assignment and submitting it as your own. Practising paraphrasing skills together and sharing tips.
Relying on some group members to do all the work. Sharing work evenly among group members.
Getting someone else to do your assessment task. Getting help from a Peer Learning Advisor or tutor

Remember, you are guilty of collusion when you are copying someone else's work, or letting someone else copy your work.

What should you do?

Your friend tells you she wants to read your assessment to see if she is on the right track:

  • don't let her read your assessment
  • do suggest you talk about the assessment topic together

One of your group is still not contributing even though you have made a work plan together and talked about the problem before:

  • don't do the work for him
  • do let your tutor or lecturer know you are having trouble and discuss the options

Your mates know you always get good marks and they rely on you for help.  If you don't they'll think you don't care about them:

  • don't give them the answers
  • do let them know you are worried about all of you getting penalised for collusion, and offer to help them learn the material by studying together


What happens if I collude with someone on an assessment task?

If your tutor thinks you have colluded, he or she will refer the matter to an Academic Integrity Adviser (AIA) in your school.  The AIA will consider the evidence to determine whether collusion has occurred and whether it is minor or serious academic misconduct.

If collusion is for minor academic misconduct, the AIA will apply a penalty.  If collusion is serious you will be referred to the College Academic Misconduct Committee.  The Committee will advise you of the allegation and of your rights.  It will make a decision on the appropriate penalty which can include failing the task or the subject.