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Developing good academic practice
Developing good academic practice

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3.2 What is collusion?

Collusion is a type of plagiarism and so represents a form of unacceptable academic practice that should always be avoided.

Collusion refers to working too closely with one or more individuals to help solve and/or answer an assessed task or question, producing a joint answer or solution (intentionally or not) to gain an unfair advantage over other students.

Collusion may involve:

  • working with one or more individuals on the precise method or approach needed to answer a task or question (either telling others or asking others for this information);
  • discussing how to solve an assessed task or question in such a way that the final answer is very obvious;
  • working through an assessed task or question and writing the answers together so that they are very similar in content, structure and style;
  • sharing the answer to an assessed task or question (either making this available to others or receiving/taking it from others) to see what needs to be included in the final answer or approach to a task.

In each of these examples, the final work presented for assessment is no longer that of the individual because it either includes undisclosed contributions from other individuals or has enabled others to enhance their answer in an unfair manner. As such, it now represents the understanding and application of the group and not the individual.

Anyone who takes part in these or similar examples to gain an advantage in marks and in which their work becomes blurred with that of others has colluded. As such, they are at risk of losing marks or being awarded a zero grade for their assignment, because they have submitted plagiarised work as their own.