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ERIC Number: EJ1004398
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-0818-8068
Crossing the Line: Collusion or Collaboration in University Group Work?
Sutherland-Smith, Wendy
Australian Universities' Review, v55 n1 p51-58 2013
"Almost everyone has difficulty identifying where collaboration stops and collusion begins." (Carroll & Appleton, 2001, p.15) In both policy and practice, collusion is a perplexing area of academic integrity. Students are expected to learn to work collaboratively in university courses, yet are often required to submit assessment tasks as individuals whilst in group-work situations. This paper discusses the tension between "collaboration" and "collusion" in group-work and the consequences for crossing the line. Adopting a theoretical framework from Bourdieu's work (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1971; Bourdieu, 1991) on symbolic power, the notion of legitimate voice and intertextuality, this paper outlines the effects on the academic identities of 17 students found "guilty" of collusion in one Australian university. In addition, 34 staff involved in formal disciplinary procedures were interviewed. The findings indicate that collusion is a fraught notion and not approached systematically across the university, nor with any degree of confidence by staff or students. The delineation between "acceptable collaboration" and "collusion" appears to be founded in shifting sands, with negative attitudes towards collaborative tasks being the main lesson learned by students.
National Tertiary Education Union. PO Box 1323, South Melbourne 3205, Australia. Tel: +61-3-92541910; Fax: +61-3-92541915; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia