Cases of copying, cheating, collusion and plagiarism are more common than you might think and if it’s happened to you then you need to act quickly to make sure the issue is dealt with. You should never let anyone copy from work that you’ve produced, irrespective of how close a friend they might be. If you are caught out then there’s every chance you will be penalised just as seriously as the person who copied from you and this could lead to a number of things happening such as a mark on your student record, a lower award for your course or worse case scenario, expulsion.
If you suspect that your work has been copied without your knowledge then you should immediately inform your tutor of the situation. Incidents of this are rare but they do happen. Maybe somebody had access to your computer and password or if you have kept a hard copy in your halls of residence or in your bag, maybe somebody has taken it without your consent, took a photocopy of it, and put it back?
It may sound a bit cloak and dagger but these things have been known to happen. It’s important that if you think something like this has happened to you that you bring it to the attention of your university immediately and be in a position to prove that there was no collusion.
Taking precautions to prevent copying
If you frequently let other students use your computer and have access to your work or let students check their work against yours then you lay yourself open to problems of copying and plagiarism. You will find it difficult to prove that you were not colluding with the person who has copied from you and you may face the same academic misconduct as them.
Remember, it is your responsibility to take reasonable precautions to stop other students from copying you. It is therefore best practice not to allow other students to use your computer account and change permission on your computer files so that they can be copied. At the end of the day why should you let others take credit for work you’ve done and the time you have invested? It doesn’t matter how good a friend they are, it’s not worth the damage it could potentially cause to your reputation and your place on the course.
Why some students cheat
Students will cheat for a number of reasons. It’s often because of poor time management, poor planning, fear of bad marks and wanting to take a short-cut that some students cheat. If a fellow student is spinning you a hard luck story about why they can’t finish their assignment and would like your help then at no point should you simply handover your assignment for them to crib from. By all means offer your support, if you want to, but don’t let them copy you. If you do and you’re found out, you’ll both be facing a potential appearance with the Academic Misconduct panel.
What you should do
If you believe that somebody has copied you without your consent then we urge you to inform your tutor and university about the situation immediately. If you haven’t done this and you are now facing an Academic Misconduct hearing then we can still help. At Match Solicitors we have acted for many students in Academic Misconduct Panel hearings, defending the student's position rigorously but fairly. Our expert knowledge in this field has enabled us to overturn allegations and give students the opportunity to continue the courses that they were previously threatened with losing their places on.
If you need any advice about where you stand on cases like this then please contact us now.