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  1. StudyWell
  2. Understanding Academic Misconduct
  3. Student Stories of Academic Misconduct
  4. Fred the Fraud
Current students

Fred the Fraud

Fred had to complete a reflective essay based upon his experiences on placement. He found this quite a difficult task because he had never done a reflective essay before. He was also under a lot of pressure because he had a lot of work to catch up on for some exams that were fast approaching.

He noticed that this reflective essay was something that students have had to do for the past few years, and decided that no one would notice if he copied the reflective essay that his friend Dan had written the previous year.

He submitted his work having copied approximately 60% of Dan’s work. The School sent him a letter accusing him of academic misconduct and inviting him to attend an Academic Misconduct Panel.

In the Panel, Fred was shown a Turnitin report which highlighted 60% of the work as being copied. The Panel explained to Fred that his work closely matched the work of a student in the year above, whose work had been submitted to Turnitin the previous year.

Fred tried to deny that he had copied Dan’s essay, and tried to explain the similarities by saying that they had both based their reflections on the same placement. The Turnitin report however, had highlighted too much similarity for this to be a coincidence.

Because Fred would not admit to any wrongdoing, the Panel decided that this raised a question as to his professional conduct and whether or not he should be permitted to gain a degree which would allow him to work in a profession dealing with vulnerable people and based upon trust. The Panel decided to refer him to the Dean of Students under the Disciplinary Regulations for the University to decide whether or not he should be permitted to continue with the course.

Moral of the story

Copying previous students' work could mean that you have to do the work again. If you try to lie about cheating you might not even get the chance to re-submit.