Cheating is a breach of regulations that University West takes very seriously. Every year students are warned or suspended for attempts to deceive the examiner. The purpose of studying is to develop the competence required for success in a job. Qualifications based on academic dishonesty may have serious repercussions.
What is cheating?
Cheating is the attempt to mislead or deceive the examiner in an examination or any coursework assessment, written or oral. Cheating can take the form of bringing a crib note to the examination, collaborating on an individual hand-in assignment, retrieving information from the net without giving a reference, or bringing unauthorised aids to the examination.
The act of using the work of another person, such as texts, diagrams, tables or software, and representing them as one's own is called plagiarism. In academic work it is allowed to use the work of others provided that there is a source reference. The author of the original work must be given credit through citation or reference.
If this is ignored, you risk being suspended from the university, and at worst having to pay damages to the originator. It is totally unacceptable to buy essays from others and pass them off as your own.
It is not automatically acceptable to reuse your own texts. If you want to reuse portions of a text that you have written and published or submitted for assessment to the university (e.g take-home exam, essay or degree project), you must clearly state that it is a reuse. When you reproduce your phrasings, you are in fact quoting yourself and must indicate this with quotation marks and a reference. If you give an account of or refer to a text you have written earlier, this must also be indicated with a reference. A rule of thumb is always to handle your own texts as you would other texts.
Crib note and unauthorised aids
It is cheating to use unauthorized aids (e.g. crib note, other notes, mobile phone, pocket computer, books). If there are authorized aids, which is sometimes the case, information about the aids is given in advance and clearly specified on the examination information.
In principle, 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, 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.
If the examination format is groupwork, the members of the group are jointly responsible for the handing assignment or degree project. It is therefore in your interest to make sure that all group members are familiar with the rules applying.
What happens if you cheat?
If a teacher, or invigilator, suspects a student of cheating, a report has to be made to the Vice Chancellor for further investigation. According to the Higher Education Ordinance, the university is authorised to take disciplinary measures against students who cheat. Instructions on how to file a report are available in the Disciplinary Board web page (in swedish).
The examination must not be assessed or graded until the university disciplinary board has 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. Don't hesitate to ask your teacher. 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.
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.
- Copy the text exactly.
- Enclose the quotation in double quotation marks.
- Give the source details of the quotation as practised in the respective discipline.
- List the source in the bibliography or reference list.
- Rephrase the text in your own words.
- Give the source details as practised in the respective discipline.
- List the source in the reference list, in order to the rules of your subject.
University West has the ambition to continuously assure the quality of the education provided. This includes safeguarding the students' exclusive rights to their works and preventing 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 has an agreement with Urkund for the prevention of plagiarism. Urkund is a web-based system for checking written assignments, essays and degree projects and is also used by other universities. This means that student documents are matched not only against the Internet and published material, but also against Urkund sources. Students send their files via the learning platform Disco. The documents are checked against a database of previous publications. The teachers receive detailed matching information on the sources used and can then decide whether the sources have been correctly referenced or not.
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 Board is made up of teacher and student representatives, a member learned in the law, and the Vice Chancellor as Chair. If the Board finds that the suspicion of cheating is justified, the student can be warned or suspended from the university for a number of weeks.
A few weeks of suspension can seriously affect the individual student's studies in the form of delayed completion of studies and cancelled study grants.
If you need more information on how to write academic papers in the appropriate way, consult your teacher or supervisor.
If you want to know more about the Disciplinary Board and its duties, contact Christina Selander.
BrochureCheating and plagiarism