The Encouragement of File Sharing Behaviours Through Technology and Social Media: Impacts on Student Cheating Behaviours and Academic Piracy

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Contract Cheating in Higher Education: Global Perspectives on Theory, Practice, and Policy


Sharing has been socialised as a normal behaviour for student communities and encouraged by social media, yet the practice of openly sharing materials is leading to unintended outcomes in academic and professional contexts. We lack an awareness of how students are using internet-based functionality in ways that are not educationally or ethically sound (Bailey & Withers, Writing 8:176–190, 2018). Students appear to have difficulty in differentiating what is acceptable about personal sharing in social situations is not necessarily ethical or professional in educational or organisational situations, when the materials belong to someone else. Our educational approaches to academic integrity need to expand to develop judgement skills around appropriate file sharing behaviours to counteract academic piracy and better prepare individuals for their working lives beyond university.

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