Inappropriate Collaboration

Each instructor will have expectations regarding how assignments are to be completed. It is very important to understand the expectations regarding collaboration, as there are many different degrees of collaboration. For example, you may be:

  • expected to complete an assignment independently, or,
  • asked to complete an experiment (lab) with a partner but write individual reports on the results, or,
  • a group submitting one assignment with the same mark assigned to all members of the group, or,
  • required to participate in some other form of group work outlined by the instructor.

The instructor has the responsibility of making it clear to students what the expectations are for each assignment. Within the same course, there may be three assignments with different expectations regarding collaboration for each assignment. Or instructors for different classes may have different expectations for similar assignments. If you have any questions, you should clarify the expectations before you begin the assignment.

Serious problems can occur when students do not follow the instructions regarding collaboration. This is called “improper collaboration” or “inappropriate collaboration” and is a form of academic dishonesty. When an instructor requires you to work alone on an assignment or limits the amount of collaboration you can do, this is done for a specific purpose and is part of the learning process. You are to show what you have learned or what your thoughts and opinions are, not what friends or a lab partner thinks. Unless you are specifically told to work in a group or with a partner, assume any assignment is to be done individually.