Study groups have always been a popular way for students in college to study and learn materials. With technology, students are no longer limited to having to meet up in the library in order to study and share ideas. Group texting, discussion boards, and various programs designed to facilitate discussions have allowed students to participate in virtual study groups. While this is overall beneficial, many times I have seen students accused of cheating or “facilitating academic dishonesty” by participating in these groups. Two of the most common ways I see students get in trouble who participate in online study groups are:
Asking questions and sharing information about a graded assignment
There is an assignment and the rules are that there is to be no collaboration. Someone goes into the group chat and asks questions about the exam or the assignment. Depending on what is shared and who was part of the group, all students could get in trouble.
Posting exam questions or answers
This can occur whether it is an online exam or a traditional exam. During or right before an online exam, a member of the group begins posting what was on the exam before the time for the exam closed. Or, if it is a traditional in-class exam, but involves more than one section of students, a student who has already taken the exam begins posting what materials were on the test. All of this is considered cheating.
What happens if you are accused of cheating because you were part of an on-line study group?
If you are accused of cheating or another honor code violation because of your participation in an on-line study or chat group, go back and review the records of the group. Were you still part of the group at that point? Were you someplace where you could show that you had no access to the group information at the time the materials in question were posted? These are just some of the questions and issues that may be important when trying to defend yourself.
Can you help me fight a cheating violation in college?
Yes. I help students all over the country defend against academic integrity and code of conduct violations. Using my nearly twenty years as an attorney combined with a specialized knowledge of the university disciplinary process, I fight for students to achieve winning outcomes.
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Richard Asselta is an award-winning attorney who defends students facing Honor Code, academic integrity, and code of conduct violations. Click here to read what clients are saying about Richard on AVVO, an attorney review website.