The Hub Plagiarism exists at every university – even online. Take these tips to keep yourself fraud-free.

Plagiarism exists at every university – even online. Take these tips to keep yourself fraud-free.

Plagiarism Exists at Every University – Even Online. Review these Tips to Keep Yourself Fraud-Free.

hands reaching through keyboard screen

In today’s increasingly online world, there are many social media sites popping up that purport to provide “homework help” or “study resources” for students. Beware. They’re really a front for fraud—the soliciting of students by a contracting party to provide assignment answers in exchange for payment.

This thinly veiled guise of tutoring is known as “contract cheating.” It’s defined as: “the submission of work by students for academic credit which the students have paid contractors to write for them.”

Really, it’s paying to plagiarize.

Recently, AU encountered a case of one of these sites spamming our social media so we want to be extra sure students understand the risks such sites pose.

Dr. Alain May, associate vice-president, Student and Academic Services, is familiar with such scams.

“If somebody on one of these sites guarantees your grades are going to get better if you simply “click here”— good chance it’s a contract cheating site.

Get away from there because you’re putting yourself at risk,” says May, reminding students AU’s code of misconduct cites a range of penalties that include “up to expulsion from Athabasca University and revocation of previously granted credentials.”

Needless to say, a record of expulsion stays on transcripts.

May says posting AU materials on any public site without the university’s permission also goes against the code.

She affirms, however, the vast majority of AU students approach academic enterprise with integrity and the “goals that support learning and earning a valuable and respected degree through legitimate academic practices.”

So while you’re engaging in your AU learning adventure, take good care in the types of student resources you use.

If you find AU materials on what looks like a contract cheating site in disguise, report it to Dr. May directly at

Helpful Hints and Resources to Stay On the Right Side of Fraud


  • Avoid sites that suggest they can increase your grades, provide you additional study resources, and/or provide a “tutor” to assist your learning; and


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  • April 14, 2015