Submitting someone else’s work as your own

code | scenario | smart strategies | consequences

Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters

1. It shall be an offence for a student knowingly:

(d) to represent as one’s own an idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e. to commit plagiarism;

Wherever in the Code an offence is described as depending on “knowing”, the offence shall likewise be deemed to have been committed if the person ought reasonably to have known.

Scenario – Submitting someone else’s work as your own

You and your friend were close in high school and both decided to go to U of T Engineering. Your friend did better than you in his writing assignments for his first year design course, and you occasionally would ask him for help with your writing. At first your friend took the time to work with you on writing, but as the semester went on he had less and less time to help. You started to get very anxious. You had relied on your friend’s help and as the assignments were getting more difficult, you were having a harder and harder time completing them. For the last major assignment in the semester you didn’t know what to do. You were overwhelmed with work. You tried to work on the assignment, but you just couldn’t figure out what to write.

You went to the computer lab to work on the assignment the night before it was due and saw your friend there. He was putting the finishing touches on his assignment. You begged your friend to “just let me look at what you wrote for a minute” so you could get an idea of where to begin on this assignment. Your friend, feeling sorry for you, said “sure”. He let you look at his work while he took a quick break, leaving his USB key in the computer.  You made a copy of your friend’s assignment, made some small adjustments to it, and submitted it as your own.

The Issue

Submitting someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism and you risk jeopardizing the academic careers of both you and your friend.

Smart Strategies

  • It is best for you to speak to your instructor about what happened before s/he approaches you. Instructors are more likely to accommodate a student’s individual needs if they are notified prior to the deadline date of any assignment.
  • If you are experiencing difficulty managing your workload, there are many academic resources and services available to help you. Contact your undergraduate advisor, or visit the Student Life website for a full list of the many academic supports available to you.
  • You may also want to talk to a counsellor or visit Health Services for assistance. Use the NAVI mental health wayfinder to find the best supports to help you right now.
  • See also:  Group work; Students sharing academic work

Range of Consequences

For a discussion of consequences see Key Consequences.