The line between appropriate and inappropriate collaboration can be confusing for students. That line is defined by the Instructor on each and every assignment. For example, some assignments must be completed individually. Others are group assignments which require collaboration. Some fall into the grey area in between, and can be perplexing to students who are inclined to work together, especially when Instructors are not explicit about their expectations. Students should be encouraged to ask the instructor if they are unsure of the expectations for working together.
The following are examples of how to clearly set expectations for collaboration:
Confusing statement: “Go ahead and work together on a conceptual level.”
Clearer statement: “You must complete this assignment on your own, but feel free to discuss the concepts with your classmates before working on it.”
Confusing statement: “This is a group project.”
Clearer statement: “The group will get one mark on this project which will be reflected in each group member’s grade. Please provide a page that indicates how your group approached the project and what each group member contributed.”