Skills Hub

Collusion

Collusion means working on an assessment with someone else. Unless it is made explicitly clear that you have been given a joint assessment, you should never work directly with other students on your module or anyone else when creating your work. This includes students from other universities.

Collusion could occur if you and your peers discuss an assessment you are doing in too much detail. The marker will notice something wrong when they come to mark your work, and they notice it is very similar to the work of others.

It is OK to have someone proofread your work, to check grammar and spelling mistakes. This cannot be a student on the same module taking the same assessment. (Read our proofreading guidance for the rules on proofreading at Sussex). It is best to discuss your plans and ideas for your assessment with your tutor and ask them to give suggestions of books and sources to read for your assignment. But you should never accept help from anyone in creating new content for your work. As a general rule, the person helping you should not change the meaning of what you have written. 

The University's definition of collusion and information about academic misconduct is provided on Student Hub.

How to avoid collusion

Know what is expected of you

Even if your tutor has encouraged you to talk about your work together, do not assume it is okay to work as a group. If you are asked to do a joint assignment, this will be made very clear to you by your tutor and in you handbook. The assessment hand-in sheet will look different to a normal one.

If you are unsure whether you are expected to work as a group, or what the boundaries are, be cautious and speak to your tutor first.

Avoid discussing questions in detail

Do not discuss an assignment in detail with other students if you are working on the same question. Even if they do not work directly alongside you, they may come to exactly the same conclusion following a conversation they had with you, and this could be classed as collusion.

Be careful with your work

Do not lend your work to course-mates, or leave it where they can access it. If you share a laptop or computer, it is your responsibility to make sure your work is protected - use a passcode so that others cannot access it. It is an collusion to knowingly allow others to use your work. Even if you trust them, you could get a nasty surprise if it turns out they copied some of your ideas.

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