I have a professor who used the same lecture notes, same assignments, and same exam questions word for word from from another professor at a different university (who posts his notes, assignments, and exams online). She mentions she "makes her own exams", however the questions are identical to the online past exam and assignment questions.

It's a masters level class and the exam questions are quite specific. We are given an abstract to read and then asked to perform calculations/analyze the abstract.

Is this common or "allowed"?

  • How do you know she didn't create these materials herself, and share them with the other professor?
    – ff524
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 18:01
  • Also see How widespread is sharing of slides/assignments among educators?
    – ff524
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 18:09
  • That's a valid question. Since she is a new associate professor in the field, I made the assumption since the other professor had labelled their content "past midterms and exams 2005, 2006, 2007" - years before she was hired to teach.
    – Eva
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 18:10
  • 2
    Maybe she was that professor's TA and actually wrote the exams in 2005-2007 :) or maybe they are friends, and developed the materials collaboratively. Personally, I've been in situations where I developed materials for a new course, and they were used by another professor (who I shared them with) before I even taught the course for the first time.
    – ff524
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


If 1st professor published his/her notes and question with a license which allows that, it's almost ok. If 1st professor published questions without anything which looks like a license, the 2nd professor should ask permission.

The main pros of using notes and questions made by somebody - optimization of work. Why should anybody invent a bicycle if we can get already invented bicycle and use it?

  • Funny how plagiarism is considered "optimizing" and "not reinventing the wheel" for professors, yet for students it's grounds for failure. Commented Sep 28, 2020 at 12:18

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