Academic Integrity at Cornell

Working Collaboratively

Before working with other students in any classes, make sure to determine whether you are permitted to do so and, if so, to what extent. In some courses, collaboration will be prohibited. In others, it will be encouraged, perhaps even required. However, collaboration might be authorized only for certain assignments or for parts of assignments. Not uncommonly, an instructor might require that written work for a group project be done independently. For example, you might be expected to collaborate with others to collect data, conduct experiments, determine strategies, define concepts, or create designs or other works of art but obligated to produce the results, whether a report, paper, or presentation, on your own.

Guidelines vary among courses and even assignments. Check your course materials to determine whether your instructors have provided specific guidelines for collaboration. If not, or if you have questions about the guidelines, speak to your instructors about their requirements. It is crucial to know what forms of collaboration are approved by your instructors so that you avoid inadvertently crossing the line between authorized collaboration and unauthorized collaboration, the latter of which could be construed as cheating.

Typically, you will be required to identify any collaborators and acknowledge their contributions. You might also be required to record the progression of your work, for example, by keeping a project diary or lab notebook (whether for a group or an individual assignment).