Sample Statements on Specific Offences

Statements on Collaboration

Example #1

In this course you must complete all assignments individually. You may develop your ideas and understand challenging concepts by comparing and discussing lectures and approaches to assignments, with your classmates. However, you must write all assignments on your own and if you incorporate the ideas of others, including your classmates, you must acknowledge them appropriately. You may not share (electronically or in hard copy) assignment answers, edit or rewrite another student’s work, or use previous assignment answers in your own work. If you need help, ask me or your TA. Visit your college writing center for help with planning or reviewing your essay.

Example #2

Collaboration is a part of learning that can help you develop your ideas and understand challenging concepts. The ability to work well with others is an important skill that will serve you well in the future. However, the final work that you submit for grading must be your work alone. Here are some guidelines to help you collaborate in the right way, rather than collude.

Appropriate ways of collaborating:

  • Comparing /reviewing lecture notes with friends
  • Discussing lectures or assignments with friends
  • Asking for help from a U of T writing centre
  • Having your work proofread (not edited), to check for formatting issues, grammatical errors, awkward phrasing and typos. Proofreading involves someone indicating problematic areas, but not making changes to your content or fixing those problems.
  • Reviewing past exams made available by the instructor or library for studying purposes
  • Documenting any contributions made to work done in pairs or groups.

Inappropriate ways of collaborating (collusion):

  • Creating a solution as a group and submitting the same solution individually when individual work is required
  • Dividing up an assignment with classmates then submitting the collective effort as individual work
  • Writing a detailed assignment outline with a classmate (which may include using the same examples/evidence/structure)
  • Copying, either electronically or by hand, another student’s work into your own work
  • Allowing someone else to copy from your work
  • Having your work edited, revised, or rewritten by another person so that it is no longer yours alone
  • Editing, altering, or writing the work of another student so that the work is no longer theirs alone
  • Using an essay service, including those masquerading as “editing” or “essay help”
  • Contributing to a group assignment without verifying your references and citations are accurate
  • Giving a friend a copy of your assignment for “reference”

Example #3

U of T encourages students to exchange ideas with each other. This is an essential part of the learning process and in most cases is not considered cheating or plagiarism. However, while you may discuss an assignment in a general fashion with your classmates, after such discussions you must complete your own work separately. You are not permitted to write assignments together. Any work you submit must be entirely your own. Any material in your assignment that represents someone else’s work (e.g. a quote or thought) requires proper citation. Do not provide a draft or finished work (in text form or electronically), to another student in case s/he is tempted to use it inappropriately in completing her/his own work. If s/he does, you too may face an allegation of academic misconduct under the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.


Statements on Group Work with Peer Evaluation (from Waterloo)

This assignment is a group assignment. Students are expected to work together to complete the assignment and will all be awarded the same grade. Students are expected to participate equally and to collaborate to create the best possible end product. X% of each student’s grade will be based on their individual contributions to the final product. This will be assessed through peer and/or instructor evaluations. (The actual process needs to be clearly described here and instructors are encouraged to discuss group dynamic management techniques.)


Statement on Proofreading vs. Editing

Proofreading vs. Editing: know the difference and which is acceptable

Acceptable: Proofreading

Proofreading means reviewing a completed document to identify, BUT NOT TO CORRECT, spelling, grammar, punctuation, citations, and clarity of presentation. Correcting those errors is up to YOU, the author of the assignment.

Not Acceptable: Editing

Editing means altering a document to improve it, such as re-arranging, deleting, or re-phrasing passages, correcting grammatical/spelling errors, or adding new content. Editing must only be by YOU, the author of the document, so that the work you submit for credit is an accurate reflection of your own abilities. Submitting edited work is an academic offence because the work is no longer entirely yours.


Statements on Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when someone, deliberately or not, takes another person’s ideas and/or manner of expressing them (the words they used) and fails to give appropriate acknowledgement, thus representing them as their own words.

How you can avoid plagiarism:

  • Take careful notes by immediately indicating the source and what words you have copied vs. what words are your own (e.g., use a different font colour to indicate copied text).
  • Add references immediately to cite any material included in your paper. Doing this after you have finished writing is much more time consuming, difficult, and dangerous.
  • Provide a reference every time you borrow an idea, design, image, or wording from another source. If in doubt, cite it!
  • Place quotation marks around any material copied word for word to show that the words are not your own words.
  • Understand that paraphrasing is more than replacing a few words or switching around phrases. You must express the idea in an entirely new way, and then provide a reference to the source of the idea.

Read sources carefully, and only using them when you understand what they mean.