Using GradeBuddy, Course Hero, and Koofers: Is It Cheating?

Overview

Numerous commercial websites are available for university students to download lecture notes, study guides, and other course materials. Typically they provide incentives for strong students to upload course material, with cash for each purchase by another student or in exchange for free membership or a nominal monetary credit with the service.

This is NOT Academic Misconduct

At CSU it is NOT academic misconduct to upload or download your personal lecture notes or personal study guides created for the course.

These Are Considered Academic Misconduct
…as defined in the Student Conduct Code

Uploading Prohibited Course Materials

Any course materials for which distribution has been specifially prohibited by the instructor. This includes but is not limited to graded quizzes and exams, homework answers, etc., along with any questions that are or might be intended for future quizzes and exams.

Note that since one must login to these sites, the contents will not be scanned by plagiarism detection programs such as VeriCite or by using your preferred search engine.

Plagiarizing the Work of Others

The submission of another's work for credit.

But there may be other problems

Facilitation of another person's academic misconduct is also a violation of the Student Conduct Code. In other words, "knowingly assisting another to commit an act of dishonesty," by posting prohibited information online, is against the rules. For the complete definition of the academic misconduct, please see:

Student Conduct Code: Article II, Section A, Item #14

The term academic misconduct includes but is not limited to:

  1. Cheating by using unauthorized sources of information and providing or receiving unauthorized assistance on any form of academic work or engaging in any behavior specifically prohibited by the faculty member in the course syllabus or class presentation;
  2. Plagiarism includes the copying of language, structure, images, ideas, or thoughts of another, and representing them as one's own without proper acknowledgement; the failure to cite sources properly; sources must always be appropriately referenced, whether the source is printed, electronic, or spoken;
  3. Unauthorized Possession or Disposition of Academic Materials includes the unauthorized selling or purchasing of examinations, term papers, or other academic work; stealing another student's work; using information from or possessing exams that a faculty member did not authorize for release to students;
  4. Falsification encompasses any untruth, either verbal or written, in one's academic work;
  5. Facilitation of any act of academic misconduct includes knowingly assisting another to commit an act of misconduct.

Announcing the availability of uploaded materials by using the class Canvas email list or announcements is a violation of both the:

CSU Sales and Solicitation Policy

Solicitation by individuals or non-University groups is prohibited, except through established University sales outlets

For more, please see the Office of Policy and Compliance

— AND THE —

Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for Computing & Networking Resources at Colorado State University.

Instructors should address this issue in the syllabus and in the course policies and announcements on Canvas.

Copyright Infringement

Uploading an instructor's work product is a copyright violation issue. Examples are a PowerPoint presentation or study guide prepared by the instructor, even if it has been distributed to the class. Material directly from a textbook, such as the the chapter's "Study Questions", in a Study Guide posted by a student would be a copyright violation. Students may not profit from another's work.

In additition, the Colorado Revised Statutes (§ 23-4-103) makes it illegal to offer to "prepare, sell, or distribute any term paper, dissertation, or other written material for a fee or other compensation." For the complete text, please see below:

Title 23, Article 4, Trafficking in Academic Materials

(1) No person shall prepare, offer to prepare, cause to be prepared, sell, or distribute any term paper, thesis, dissertation, or other written material for another person for a fee or other compensation with the knowledge, or under circumstances in which he should reasonably have known, that such term paper, thesis, dissertation, or other written material is to be submitted by any other person for academic credit at any public or private college, university, or other institution of higher education in this state.

(2) No person shall make or disseminate, with the intent to induce any other person to enter into any obligation relating thereto, any statement, written or oral, that he will prepare, cause to be prepared, sell, or distribute any term paper, thesis, dissertation, or other written material for a fee or other compensation for or on behalf of any person who has been assigned the written preparation of such term paper, thesis, dissertation, or other written material for academic credit at any public or private college, university, or other institution of higher education in this state.