Sharing Your Work

Photo by Claudio Calligaris

A grader for a course notices similarities between two assignments. It turns out that you loaned your finished work to your friend to give them an idea of how to proceed with the assignment. Without your knowledge, the friend copied some answers and handed in the homework. You assume that since you did not give permission to your friend to copy your work you have not violated the Code. Are you right?

Answer

No.

Why is this an issue?

Peer teaching and peer learning are important and effective study strategies for students. However, giving a completed assignment to a friend is not peer teaching and copying answers is not peer learning. Unintentionally or otherwise, the student who passed on the assignment enabled cheating to occur, and has therefore committed a violation.

An interview with the disciplinary officer will be required. See the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures in the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities for more details.

How can it be avoided?

Peer learning should be encouraged, since it helps students learn to teach. Instructors should explain effective peer teaching strategies such as working in pairs, sharing comments on work, and brainstorming solutions to problems in groups. Sharing completed work is not an acceptable peer learning technique. If a student has copied the answers of another student, the incident must be documented and the material sent to the course instructor, who will contact the appropriate disciplinary officer.

Quick Fact

If I tell my friend in another course section about quiz questions, is that cheating?

If your friend has not yet written the quiz, both of you will have violated the Code; sharing unauthorized information and using unauthorized information are both offences.

Related Information

"Never have, never will, besides the person next to me probably knows less than I do." - Student response to survey question on reasons not to cheat.
- Andrews, K. G., Smith, L. A., Henzi, D., & Demps, E. (2007). Faculty and student perceptions of academic integrity at U.S. and Canadian dental schools. Journal of Dental Education, 71, 1027-1039. Retrieved from web.