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Honor Code

CSE Honor Policy

Certain aspects of academic honesty are obvious. Examinations are expected to be done independently. This means that no help is to be sought from or given to another person, except for questions that a student may ask of the course instructor or the instructor's representatives. It also means that there is to be no access to material such as notes, books, or other stored information unless they are specifically authorized (for example, as in an open-book examination).

Another obvious situation arises in the submission of homework and project assignments. No work in these instances may be taken from another person without that person's permission. This prohibition includes material such as computer files and copies of discarded material; it also means that such material may not be used in the development of your own work, even if your eventual product is different in appearance.

The less obvious instances occur when people "discuss,'' "work together on,'' or "consult with each other'' on assignments and projects. Most instructors allow, and even encourage, some degree of collaboration; however, it is generally expected that the permission to collaborate is interpreted narrowly. In general, you should observe the following.

  • Do not copy computer codes or segments of codes from another person, either by hand or electronically.
  • Do not invade the privacy of others, especially in public clusters, by seeking information from their monitor displays.
  • Do not show your codes, either on screen or on paper, to another person to explain an idea or strategy for solving a problem.
  • Do not share specific information about solving a graded problem unless the course instructor permits it; discussion about a problem should be kept at a general level.
  • Do not develop strategies for solving a problem on a step-by-step basis with others. To do so violates the prohibition about sharing specific information and is also a misinterpretation of what is meant by "working together.''

What, then, are you allowed to do when an instructor permits collaboration?

  • You may help someone else to debug a program within the framework of that person's own program; but you may not substitute a piece of your own code.
  • You may help someone else to interpret or understand a principle or a problem statement; but you may not provide details of application to graded work.
  • You may point out an error in someone else's work; but the correction of the error is the other person's responsibility.
  • You may help someone else to get started on a problem by asking leading questions without giving specific directions. Be careful, however, with the extent of the help you provide in this manner. If the other person requires a significant amount of help, ask the person to consult the course instructor or teaching assistant.

The preceding examples should help you to understand more clearly where the line is drawn between permissible collaboration and dishonesty. The guidelines are by no means exhaustive; you will face the task of exercising good judgment in a variety of situations that are not addressed here. If you are unsure about what to do in such cases, consult your course instructor before proceeding with any action.The Department of Computer Science and Engineering takes a stance of intolerance of academic dishonesty. It expects students in its courses to possess a good sense of values and to refrain from maneuvering a situation to the point that even borders on academic dishonesty. Students who approach that border may (but not necessarily) be given a warning if an instructor believes that further clarification is needed. Beyond that, the instructor is required by the Honor Code to ask for a hearing by the Department's Honesty Committee.