Collaboration is a beneficial practice, both for students’ ability to learn within a course and as a practical skill for their later careers. However, to avoid instances of unauthorized collaboration, it is important for instructors to be explicit about whether collaboration is allowed for each assignment, and if so, the extent to which it is allowed.
For example, if an assignment is to be completed independently, explain both verbally and in the assignment guidelines that no collaboration is permitted. If collaboration is permitted only at certain stages of an assignment (e.g. during the research but not during the writing of), be explicit about when and when it is not allowed.
Instructors can review guidelines for authorized and unauthorized collaboration and resources in the Assessment of Unauthorized Collaboration Involving Undergraduate Students (PDF).
Resources for implementing group work
The Centre for Teaching Excellence has a number of resources to help instructors implement group work in the classroom:
- Implementing Group Work in the Classroom
- Making Group Contracts
- When Things Go Wrong
- Encouraging academic integrity in your courses
- Assignment Checklist for Group Submissions Form is recommended for instructors who utilize group assignments as an assessment technique.
Tips for your students
Before beginning the project:
- Discuss citation styles and expectations with your group members before beginning the assignment. Anytime your group uses someone else’s work (ideas, words, images, code, etc.), it needs to be cited. For more information on how to cite, visit Referencing and Research Skills. If you are not sure which citation style to use, ask your instructor.
- Create a schedule to stay on track. Find schedule templates in the SSO’s section on ‘Time Management’.
- Review the SSO resource Working effectively in groups to learn how to get organized, create group roles, and review common challenges and solutions.
- Work through examples in Collaborating with Integrity and Sharing or Cheating?
While working on the project:
- Keep track of what each group member is contributing.
- Have frequent meetings with your group members to discuss progress and challenges.
- Review and sign the Assignment Checklist for Group Submissions before submitting.