Inappropriate Collaboration

Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

Inappropriate Collaboration

Collaboration is considered working cooperatively with others. This may occur in academic contexts such as study groups, when the object is to explore concepts on a common issue, concern or investigation. When students work cooperatively they share ideas, resources and knowledge.

Group Work
Group Work is considered working together in a group or on a common project. In some cases, group work is permitted and students are allowed to collaborate with each other and submit a group assignment. In this case, it is each student’s responsibility to contribute equally; and they should clearly identify their contribution within the group submission.

Inappropriate Collaboration
Inappropriate collaboration is considered a level of sharing, borrowing or copying someone else’s work without acknowledgement and within a context that expects original and independent work. Culwin and Naylor (1995) note that it is important that students recognize that some forms of collaboration may lead to inappropriate behaviour such as ‘collusion’ and ‘copying.’ (Culwin, F., & Naylor, J. (1995). Pragmatic Anti-Plagiarism. Proceedings 3rd All Ireland Conference on the Teaching of Computing, Dublin).

Examples of inappropriate collaboration include:

  • copying from other members while working in a group
  • unequal group contribution (contributing little or nothing to a group assignment and then claiming group authorship with the expectation of an equal share in the group grade)
  • copying from another student, or making information available to other students knowing that this is to be submitted as the borrower’s own work
  • submission of a take-home examination written by or with someone else
  • using another student’s data unless specifically allowed by the instructor
  • allowing someone else to do the laboratory work
  • preparing an essay or assignment for submission by another student


Plagiarism should be distinguished from co-operation and collaboration. Often, students may be permitted or expected to work on assignments collectively, and to present the results either collectively or separately. This is not a problem so long as it is clearly understood whose work is being presented, for example, by way of formal acknowledgement or by footnoting.

Two Pinnochio puppets sitting back to back