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Course Sharing Module

Course Sharing Websites

 

What is a Course Sharing Website?

Course-sharing websites (also called note-sharing or file-sharing websites) involve the illegal distribution of copyrighted course materials, assignment documents, and assessments for the personal gain of one or more students.

Commercial sites like Chegg, Course Hero, OneClass, and others encourage students to upload their professors' course content or their own completed assignments in exchange for homework answers and exam solutions from "experts". Even though students might not have paid a subscription fee to access these materials, exchanging course materials for answers and solutions—even if you're getting "help" for a different class—is still a form of contract cheating.

"But, I got these notes on SLATEā€”isn't that a course-sharing website?"

No. At Sheridan, SLATE is a software-based platform that supports the administration, automation, and delivery of your courses. You must be a Sheridan student and you must be enrolled in the course to access that material.

Content on SLATE comes from two main sources:

  • Professors, who create learning materials such as lecture slides, training videos, and assessments (like tests and assignments) to help students work through complex new ideas.
  • Library services, who offer guidance and support on how to use other copyrighted materials like journal articles, case studies, video clips, and more under the Fair Dealing exception in Canada's Copyright Act. Fair Dealing allows professors to use copyrighted material in research or educational contexts provided certain criteria are met.

If you upload your professor's original course content to a site like Chegg or Course Hero for your own gain (e.g. to pass a test or ace an assignment), you've now done three things:

  1. You've used contract cheating to gain an advantage in your class, which violates Sheridan's Academic Integrity Policy.
  2. You've enabled other students to use contract cheating to complete a test or assignment, which also violates Sheridan's Academic Integrity Policy.
  3. You've shared your professor's copyrighted materials without their permission, which is a copyright infringement (and could open you up to legal actions taken by your professor). Sharing your professor's materials also violates Sheridan's policies such as Acceptable Use Policy, Use of Copyright Protected Work Policy, and the Student Code of Conduct.

How to Succeed Without Course-Sharing Sites

There are a few quick ways to get help on assignments and other course work at Sheridan:

  • Talk to your professor—they want you to succeed! Check your course syllabus to learn how to contact your professor outside of class time. You could
    • Book a one-on-one session to talk about your progress,
    • Book a group session to talk about a shared project, or
    • E-mail them for quick questions about assignments or course content.
  • Get extra help with your course work from the Tutoring Centre. Tutors are trained to help you develop academic skills like time management, studying and test taking techniques, and taking notes so that you improve on your work and avoid situations where you might feel pressured to cheat.

Check the Further Resources tab in this module to learn about more supports offered at Sheridan!

Pause & Reflect

After reading this section, reflect on the following questions:

  • If I upload content to a course-sharing website, who is profiting from these materials? How am I letting them profit?
  • What are my personal, professional, and academic risks if I use a course-sharing website?
  • What harm is done when my professors' copyrighted materials are shared without their knowledge or consent?