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Last updated: 23 Jun 2020 5:42pm

Information on academic integrity and misconduct during Covid-19

Published Friday, 29th May, 2020 in University news

The University continues to take academic misconduct very seriously and seeks at all times to rigorously protect its academic standards.

However, within the current circumstances we are also mindful that you are going through a significant transition and are most likely working in ways that you have not been expected to before. We want to ensure our expectations are clear and that you are able to access the support you need.

Students are expected to uphold academic integrity and good academic practice at all times by demonstrating behavior that is honest and ethical in all of their academic work. This includes submitting work which is your own and ensuring you reference sources correctly throughout your assessments. You can find further information about this in the Academic Misconduct Policy and Guidance.

Avoiding Contract Cheating

With the increased response to COVID-19 there has been a notable spike in aggressive contract cheating marketing. To stay aware of what this is and how to avoid it here is a definition from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Guidance:

'Contract cheating' happens when a third party completes work for a student who then submits it to an education provider as their own, where such input is not permitted. It is distinct from collusion, as the student contracts the third party to provide the assessment, usually a company or individual using a website to promote themselves and receive orders.

This is a form of cheating where a student submits work to a higher education provider for assessment, where they have used one or more of a range of services provided by a third party, and such input is not permitted. The contract with the student can include payment or other favours, but this is not always the case:

  • 'Services' may include essays or other types of assignments, conducting research, impersonation in exams and other forms of unfair assistance for completing assessed work.
  • 'Third parties' include web-based companies or auction sites (essay mills), sharing websites (including essay banks), or an individual such as a lecturer, colleague, friend or relative.
  • 'Input' means that the third party makes a contribution to the work of the student, such that there is reasonable doubt as to whose work the assessment represents.

(Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), Contracting to Cheat in Higher Education, How to Address Contract Cheating, the Use of Third-Party Services and Essay Mills, October 2017)