Academic Integrity and file-sharing websites

The Student Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy and Procedures have been updated. Learn more about the changes including clarifying the use of file-sharing websites, and updates to the notification procedure. 

Under ACU’s Student Academic Integrity and Misconduct Policy, both contract cheating and collusion are forms of academic misconduct. The key difference between these forms of misconduct is that collusion involves collaborating in an unauthorised fashion, while contract cheating involves the student arranging for someone else to do the work for them.

The policy has been updated to clarify that, depending on how they are used, both contract cheating and collusion may involve exploitation of 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 of these websites include StuDocu, Chegg and CourseHero, which are blocked on the ACU server.

If a student uses a file-sharing site to access material that is commissioned for them, this would be contract cheating. If they used the site to access a past assessment, that they then re-purposed for themselves, this would be a form of collusion.

Examples to help distinguish between contract cheating and collusion are in the table below:

Collusion Contract Cheating

I access an old essay online and submit it as my own

I pay someone online to write an essay for me 

My mum reads an essay I wrote, and re-writes 2 paragraphs for me

My Mum writes my essay for me

I get together with two friends; we divide the worksheet up, do our assigned section, and then swap answers

My friend writes my worksheet answers for me

My friend has finished their essay early; I ask to look at their work ‘just to get an idea’; I change the name on the file and submit it as my own

My friend has finished their essay early; I ask them for help.  They write another version of the essay for me

There has also been a recent change to the Student Academic Misconduct Procedures. Course Coordinators are no longer required to be included in communication of outcomes where a determination of academic misconduct has been made.

This was in place in the previous Policy and Procedures, where a broader range of staff were involved in the decision-making process. The continued requirement to include this staff member in the outcome letters is quite onerous, as there is no central record of all of these roles.

All other staff that currently receive these communications will continue to do so; if specific schools wish to continue to inform their relevant Course Coordinators of academic misconduct determinations, then they may develop their own processes for doing so.

If you have any questions, please contact

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