Coursework sites and unfair means

Guidance on the University's stance on the use of coursework sites in relation to our unfair means policy.


What are coursework sites?

Coursework sites such as Studydrive, StuDocu and CourseHERO encourage students to share course materials such as lecture notes, essays, lab reports and exam questions.

The University does not support the use of these sites and may take disciplinary action in line with the Student Discipline Regulations.

We encourage you to learn with and from other students, however, it is important to recognise the differences between appropriate opportunities for this and the role of coursework sites. This page includes information and guidance to support you in preventing unfair means and outlines how you can engage in appropriate collaborative learning opportunities.


All materials that are prepared by our staff and shared with you as part of your studies are for your studies only. You do not have permission to share them with others. Sharing would be an infringement of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Where you have permission to download materials, they are strictly for personal use. If you are found to have shared or uploaded teaching materials, including recorded online sessions, disciplinary action may be taken.  

Find out more about copyright

Plagiarism and unfair use

Coursework sites such as Studydrive, StuDocu and CourseHERO may include copies of completed essays or other forms of assessment materials that have been uploaded by other students. Taking these in part or full for use in your own assignment may constitute plagiarism.

By making your assessments, notes and other materials available, these may be used by other students to plagiarise. These are serious forms of unfair means and may result in disciplinary action and sanctions in line with the Student Discipline Regulations.

Visit the University’s Unfair Means guidance to find out more about plagiarism and other forms of unfair means, and strategies to prevent them occurring.

Essay mills

You are also reminded of the need to avoid using essay mills. These are websites that offer to produce personalised assignments for you for a fee.

To buy or commission part of or a whole piece of work from a website and submit it as your own work is an extremely serious form of unfair means

It is illegal to provide and advertise these services to students, and students who use these services are at risk of blackmail, including threats to report them to the University. 

Getting help with your studies

If you feel that you need extra help with your studies, it is much better to make use of University services like the 301 Academic Skills Centre, the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) and the Library.

You should also consider speaking with your module lead or personal tutor.

Collaborative learning

Collaborative learning is encouraged, and there will be opportunities to engage in such activities within your study programme. 

However, it may not always be appropriate to work collaboratively on assignments. For more information on the line between collaboration and collusion, visit the 301 Study Skills Online page on Collusion

You can also contact  301 Academic Skills Centre to find out more about their support for peer learning activities if you would like to set up your own informal activities.

Peer-to-peer learning

Related information

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