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International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating

International Day of Action Against Contract Cheating


“I got excluded (kicked out) of uni 5 months before I would have finished my degree!”. This is the last thing a student would ever expect when attempting to complete an assessment. Read about this students experience with academic misconduct to ensure you stick on the safe side when it comes to assessments!

Written by Anonymous

I am a mature-age student, 47 at the time of writing this, and would not in my wildest dreams have expected this to happen.

The devastation, when I heard, “I was investigated for academic misconduct” is hard to put into words. The embarrassment and disbelief still linger months after it all started.

So much ahead: I did not cheat. Nor did I have any intention to cheat!

So what did I do?

I used Course Hero, a website that I NOW know is considered a contract-cheating website. I also uploaded files to Course Hero because this is how the page works: If you want to see their content, you need to upload some first.

Without thinking, I uploaded several files. I was in a rush for an assignment; just looking for some general information to get me started.

The files I “unlocked” frankly were rubbish. I could have saved time. So I moved on and did not think anything about it.

You know, how it is: you google, you search, you click, and you move on. So did I. Eight months later all hell broke loose: I got an email from Charles Sturt; ironically hoping it to be another Executive Dean’s Award.

Little did I know?!

It is considered academic misconduct to upload files to CourseHero.

It was a “Notice of Allegation”. I had to supply a written submission. I had to face a panel of five senior university members.

I re-read all 5 Academic Integrity Modules. I read the Student Misconduct Rule 2020 (the Rule); I talked to a Student Advocate and a Student Counsellor.

I went from an initially irritated, “Yes I uploaded these files, what is their problem?!” to “oh my gosh, that is academic misconduct, that is collusion – at least in how it is defined in The Rule.

The bottom line is by uploading documents (my assignments, some 101 lecture slides and some exam questions I had saved) I had indeed conducted collusion.

The Rule: (27) b. collusion: where a person

iv. deliberately or by not taking reasonable care enables another person to cheat

Simply by uploading university material I also violated their copyright.

The Rule: (21) General misconduct occurs when a student:

Fails to meet the standards of behaviour defined by the University’s Student Charter, as per clause 10:…

b. recognise the intellectual property rights of the work and…

I did not know. I did not mean to… I supplied the Course Hero document that I unlocked and my actual assignment to the panel that investigated me. It was not relevant!

I used the Course Hero website. I uploaded documents that someone could have used to cheat.

I uploaded documents that were not mine to upload.

It is that simple.

And I got kicked out of uni, excluded! Fortunately, the exclusion is only temporary. I can re-enrol and finish my degree.

However, I urge you: Be smarter!

Be more considered!

Just do not use any websites that aren’t approved by the university.

Do: use resources approved by the University. Don't: Access websites claiming to help you with your study that are not approved by the University.

The point is, they won’t tell you which websites to use or not to use. I genuinely believe the universities do not know either.

Sites like Course Hero pop up all the time. They stress that they are NOT cheating websites. However, reading up on the whole subject of contract cheating, it appears to be a problem of a completely different dimension.

To put it into perspective: International Education is Australia’s “third largest export.” and contract cheating appears to be a massive threat; University Professors talk about “an armed race” and “The Government has passed legislation that makes it an offence to provide or advertise academic cheating services” (The Australian Government, 2015; The Age 2022).

Considering the dimension this has, I reckon, the only safe way is not to use anything but the uni materials, the uni library page and maybe, google scholar.

Useful Links.

Read more about academic Integrity here.

Reach out to the Academic Skills team here.

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