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Cheating is a breach of regulations that University West takes very seriously, and every year students are warned or suspended from their studies because they cheated. Cheating is regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993: 100) chap. 10, where it is called "deceive during examinations or other forms of assessment of study performance".

Cheating is a form of fraud, in which the student primarily deceives him- or herself. The purpose of studying is to develop the competence required for success in a job. Qualifications based on academic dishonesty may have serious repercussions. The university is obliged to ensure that the higher education credits that are issued really reflect the individual student's knowledge.

What is cheating?

Cheating is the attempt to mislead or deceive the examiner in an examination or any coursework assessment, written or oral. It is about trying to get your examination to look better than it otherwise would have done, for example by bringing cheat sheets or unauthorized aids to the exam hall, to cooperate when an assignment is to be performed individually or to retrieve information from the internet without indicating the source.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a form of cheating. To reproduce in an examination what someone else has written, for example in a previous exam, book, article or on a website, without stating the source, can be counted as plagiarism and lead to suspension. The same also applies to tables, diagrams, codes, etc. that someone else has made. During the examination, it is your knowledge, skills and abilities that are to be assessed, which is not possible if you plagiarize someone else.

When you reproduce what someone else has written / done, you must clearly state the source. If it is text with exactly the same wording as the source, it should be marked with quotation marks. The person who is responsible for the original work should have credit for it by being quoted or referenced. Note that plagiarism is not the same thing as completely copying a text or a piece of text. Even if you rewrite a text, it can be plagiarism, if you do not specify the source. Therefore, be very careful that what you write or reproduce is really yours.

If you commit plagiarism, you may be warned or suspended from your studies. In the worst case, you may even be forced to pay compensation to the person who owns the rights to a work (for example, a book). Of course, it is also not allowed to buy essays from others and then submit them in your own name.

Self-plagiarism

Reusing text in an examination that you have previously used in another examination is only permitted if you clearly mark that it is a reuse. You must state where the text comes from by a reference to your own work. If it is exactly the same wording, you should mark it as a quote, since you are quoting yourself. A rule of thumb is always to handle your own texts as you would other texts!

Cheat sheets and unauthorised aids

Using unauthorized aids, such as a cheat sheet, mobile phone, pocket computer or books, can be considered cheating. If there are authorized aids in an examination, which is sometimes the case, information about the aids is given in advance and will be clearly specified on the examination sheet.

Unauthorised collaboration

In principle, an examination is individual. No communication among students is permitted during the examination. In the case of written take-home assignments students are not allowed to collaborate on answers. The questions may be discussed with fellow-students (always carefully check what applies specifically for your course), but the answers must be individually produced, unless it is explicitly stated that collaboration is allowed. If you submit a text that is more or less identical to that of a fellow-student's, this may be considered cheating.

Some examinations are group examinations. There you may cooperate with others, but only in the manner expressly stated in the instructions for the examination. If the examination takes place in the form of regular group work, you are jointly responsible for the assignment or the degree project. Therefore, you should make sure that all group members are familiar with the rules applying.

What happens if you cheat?

If a teacher or examination supervisor suspects cheating, a report is submitted to the university Vice-Chancellor. The circumstances are investigated by an official at the university's administration, who will also contact you to have your opinion before the investigation is submitted to the Vice-Chancellor.

The Vice-Chancellor mat decide to dismiss the matter withou action, issue a warning or refer the matter to the university's Disciplinary Board. If the matter is referred there, you will be given the opportunity to speak dirctly to the board before their decision. The Disciplinary Board may decide to suspend you completely from studies for a certain period of time.

Your teacher may not assess the reported examination before the matter has been investigated and the Vice-Chancellor or Disciplinary board have come to a decision.

How to avoid cheating

The best way to avoid cheating is to be familiar with the rules applying to different examination formats. The rules may vary for different assignments and between fields of study. It is your duty to keep informed about the rules applying to each examination. Don't hesitate to ask your teacher if you are unsure about the rules.

Follow the teacher's instructions

Make a point of following the instructions given by the teachers when the assignment is given. If you were absent on this occasion, or feel uncertain about how to solve or perform the task, contact your teacher or supervisor.

The text of others

Learn the rules on how to use other people's work. There must be a clear indication and distinction made between your ideas and formulations and what you draw from others. This rule applies to book material as well as the Internet etc.

When quoting

  • Copy the text exactly.
  • Enclose the quotation in double quotation marks.
  • Give the source details of the quotation as practised in your field of study.
  • List the source in the bibliography or reference list.

When referencing

  • Rephrase the text in your own words.
  • Clarify by using formulations such as "according to the author", "as the author writes" or similar.
  • Follow the rules of referencing that are used in your field of study.

Ouriginal plagiarism checker

University West continuously works to safeguard the students' exclusive rights to their works and prevent plagiarism. Students should feel confident that their work is credited, or referenced, when used by others. In the same way, you should quote or refer to the sources used in your work.

University West uses the web based system Ouriginal to check for plagiarism in written assignments, essays or exam works. You submit your text in Canvas, and it will be "run" it against a database. The system is also used by other universities and schools, and plagiarism is checked against all work submitted regardless of where. Ouriginal also discovers plagiarism of texts from the internet, journals and other sources.

The teacher receives a report from Ouriginal which shows if there are similarities with other texts, what the similarities look like and how extensive they are. The report also presents sources for the similarities. If it appears that you have used other people's work without references, the teacher must report attempts at deception during the examination, cheating, which are investigated as above.

About the system Ouriginal

Read more about Ouriginal and how the plagiarism control works.

Need guides and manuals? Here you can download a pdf guide to the analysis report. Go to the system's support page

Disciplinary board

Like all universities, University West has a Disciplinary Board, which decides on matters concerning students who are suspected of trying to deceive the examiner in various ways. The Disciplinary Board is made up of teacher and student representatives, a legally qualified member and the Vice-Chancellor as chairman.

If the Disciplinary Board finds that the suspicion of cheating is justified, the board may, with the support of the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), decide on a warning or suspension from studies. During a suspension, the student may not participate in any teaching or examination or use the university's resources. This  applies to all courses, not just the one you have cheated on. A suspension can have major consequences for the individual student in the form of delayed studies and canceled student loans.

More information about suspension

Further information about the Disciplinary Board is found in the link at the bottom of this page.

More information

If you need more information on how to write academic papers in the appropriate way, please consult your teacher or supervisor.

Contact and more information


Anna-Maria Blomgren

Anna-Maria Blomgren Qualified Analyst Kvalificerad utredare
anna-maria.blomgren@hv.se
Updated