Share site use: risks and solutions

Help prevent inappropriate online sharing of university teaching materials by students and learn about the potential copyright and academic misconduct implications of using share sites.

What are “share sites”?

“Share sites” are websites that traditionally have encouraged students to upload and share university teaching materials. Students may pay to access other people’s materials or they may be encouraged to upload their own materials in exchange for downloading someone else’s. Some examples of these websites include StuDocu, Chegg and CourseHero. All of these sites are blocked on the ACU server.

They are often promoted as “homework help” sites, encouraging students to “assist each other” by sharing resources. Students are typically asked to upload something (literally anything) to gain access to documents, and therefore the files that are available are usually low quality and of little relevance.

Copyright issues

Teaching materials that you create, including lecture slides and unit outlines, are the intellectual property of ACU. If a student posts these to a share site, they are in breach of the Intellectual Property Policy and the Student Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy.

“Share sites” and academic misconduct

Perhaps of greater concern is the potential for these sites to facilitate academic misconduct. Students often share assessment questions and answers on these sites. For example, one student may upload an essay at the end of semester, and then the following year, another student may access it and use it as the basis of their submission. Under the Student Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy, this is a form of collusion.

Increasingly, these sites are offering a service that provides "homework help" with a quick turnaround. Students may post questions online that are then answered by the website within a few hours. This can seriously compromise the integrity of assessments, especially open-book assessments with a short turnaround, such as open-book exams.

What can I do?

Request a take down

If you notice that your teaching material has been uploaded to a share site, ACU can request that the site remove it. You will need to contact the copyright office at

Provide a link to the material along with evidence that the material belongs to ACU. The share sites' default position is that the student has the right to upload material unless it is specifically proven otherwise. We therefore need to provide copies of the material that are clearly branded with the ACU logo.

We encourage you to make sure the ACU logo is present on all your teaching materials, including assessment material. You can access ACU branded templates online.

Use Assignment Watch

Assignment Watch is a service that will scan known share sites for specific material (eg a case study question that you have just released) and will alert you if it is found to have been posted. This is currently a free service.

Communicate with your students

You can talk to your students about this issue. Many students are genuinely ignorant of the fact that uploading ACU teaching materials such as lecture notes is a breach of copyright.

Remind students that the material available on these sites has not been checked for quality and cannot be relied upon to be accurate. Students will benefit more from utilising one of the many resources provided to them by ACU, including:

  • the Academic Skills Unit who provide a range of resources and services to assist students with their studies
  • 24/7 study support through ACU’s external partner Studiosity, through which students can submit a written draft for feedback and chat online with discipline experts
  • the Library, which offers a variety of resources, including a 24/7 chat service and the option to book a librarian for a personal consultation.

We can encourage students to take advantage of the resources above, rather than engaging in risky behaviour that may lead to academic misconduct.

The following slideshow controls change the content above and below. Information is displayed below the controls while video content plays above the video controls.

Service Central

Visit Service Central to access Corporate Services.

Other service contacts

Learning and Teaching
Request Something

Make a request for services provided by Corporate Services.

Request something
Knowledge base

Find answers to frequently asked questions 24/7.

See Knowledge Base