Working Together

Photo by Claudio Calligaris

In a particular course, group work is encouraged but all assignments must be written individually. You work together with another student, and you write down your ideas as you both work, contributing equally. As required, you write up your reports separately, using these notes. In the end, there is substantial overlap in your reports. Have you violated the Code?



Why is this an issue?

While there will be overlap in the ideas presented in a report that is developed collaboratively, all students bring different perspectives and have different writing styles. That alone should ensure that reports developed collaboratively but written separately will be unique. In this case, an interview with the disciplinary officer will not be required.

How can it be avoided?

Instructors and TAs should remind students that while they may share ideas and concepts, and even the structure of their assignment, each student should develop his or her own conclusions from the discussion they share, and each item handed in for grading must be written individually.

Quick Fact

We have a long assignment that requires a lot of calculations and library research. Can my friend and I split the work and share the answers we submit?

If your instructor has indicated that independent work is required, you cannot work together or share answers. If no instruction was given, it is best to seek clarification. At the very least, be sure to use your own words and be able to demonstrate your knowledge and learning in all submitted work.

Related Information

"...the behaviours considered least serious by both groups were collaborating on work that was supposed to be done individually, copying a few sentences without footnoting them, and fabricating a bibliography, and these were more common..."
- Kidwell, L. A., & Kent, J. (2008). Integrity at a distance: A study of academic misconduct among university students on and off campus. Accounting Education, 17 (supp 1), 3-16. doi:10.1080/09639280802044568

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