Collaborative Writing

Group work is the norm in many occupations, and faculty want students to have experience working as they will be required to do in the workforce. You may therefore be expected to work as part of a team or group to complete an assignment or a project while you are a student at The University of Scranton. Sometimes students react negatively to these assignments because credit for the assignment does not reflect the extent of each member's participation.

Defining the boundaries of acceptable collaboration may be difficult. Different professors may have a different definition of collaboration and a different standard for measuring student participation in group or team work. If your professor’s directions are unclear, ask for clarification of the assignment.

example 1Scenario #1

Your Public Speaking professor divides your class into groups. Each group must give a presentation to the class that represents a collaborative effort by the group. A single grade will be given to the entire group. Your group of three students gets together and breaks down the assignment into three areas of responsibility; however, the work is done exclusively by only two of the people in your group. This is collusion because one of the students submitted work as her own without contributing to the collaborative effort.

example 2

Scenario #2

Several students in your History class get together in one of the Group Study Rooms in the Library. You share your class notes and quiz each other in preparation for the mid-term exam. This is a legitimate form of collaboration.

Scenario #3

One of these students forgot to do her pre-lab assignment. Her professor won't let her into Chemistry Lab without it. Before the professor arrives, the other students share their work with her. This is collusion. Any cooperative effort is forbidden which results in the work or ideas of others being presented as one's own.