Important: Please read the following statement thoroughly. If you have any questions, contact the instructor or the TAs immediately. You will be asked to sign a hard copy of this policy during the first lab.
Collaboration Policy & Academic Integrity
iClicker Lecture exercises
Responses to iClicker lecture exercises will be used to earn incentives for the Data Structures course. Discussion of collaborative iClicker lecture exercises with those seated around you is encouraged. However, if we find anyone using an iClicker that is registered to another individual or using more than one iClicker, we will confiscate all iClickers involved and report the incident to the Dean of Students.
Academic Integrity for Exams
All exams for this course will be completed individually. Copying, communicating, or using disallowed materials during an exam is cheating, of course. Students caught cheating on an exam will receive an F in the course and will be reported to the Dean of Students for further disciplinary action.
Collaboration Policy for Programming Labs
Collaboration is encouraged during the weekly programming labs. Students are allowed to talk through and assist each other with these programming exercises. Students may ask for help from each other, the graduate lab TA, and undergraduate programming mentors. But each student must write up and debug their own lab solutions on their own laptop and be prepared to present and discuss this work with the TA to receive credit for each checkpoint.
As a general guideline, students may look over each other's shoulders at their labmate's laptop screen during lab — this is the best way to learn about IDEs, code development strategies, testing, and debugging. However, looking should not lead to line-by-line copying. Furthermore, each student should retain control of their own keyboard. While being assisted by a classmate or a TA, the student should remain fully engaged on problem solving and ask plenty of questions. Finally, other than the specific files provided by the instructor, electronic files or file excerpts should not be shared or copied (by email, text, Dropbox, or any other means).
Homework Collaboration Policy
Academic integrity is a complicated issue for individual programming assignments, but one we take very seriously. Students naturally want to work together, and it is clear they learn a great deal by doing so. Getting help is often the best way to interpret error messages and find bugs, even for experienced programmers. Furthermore, in-depth discussions about problem solving, algorithms, and code efficiency are invaluable and make us all better software engineers. In response to this, the following rules will be enforced for programming assignments:
These rules are in place for each homework assignment and extends two days after the submission deadline.
Homework Plagiarism Detection and Academic Dishonesty Penalty
We use an automatic code comparison tool to help spot homework assignments that have been submitted in violation of these rules. The tool takes all assignments from all sections and all prior terms and compares them, highlighting regions of the code that are similar. The plagiarism tool looks at core code structure and is not fooled by variable and function name changes or addition of comments and whitespace.
The instructor checks flagged pairs of assignments very carefully, to determine which students may have violated the rules of collaboration and academic integrity on programming assignments. When it is believed that an incident of academic dishonesty has occurred, the involved students are contacted and a meeting is scheduled. All students caught cheating on a programming assignment (both the copier and the provider) will be punished. For undergraduate students, the standard punishment for the first offense is a 0 on the assignment and a full letter grade reduction on the final semester grade. Students whose violations are more flagrant will receive a higher penalty. Undergraduate students caught a second time will receive an immediate F in the course, regardless of circumstances. Each incident will be reported to the Dean of Students.
Graduate students found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy for homework assignments on the first offense will receive an F in the course and will be reported both to the Dean of Students and to the chair of their home department with the strong advisement that they be ineligible to serve as a teaching assistant for any other course at RPI.
Academic Dishonesty in the Student Handbook
Refer to the The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities for further discussion of academic dishonesty. Note that: "Students found in violation of the academic dishonesty policy are prohibited from dropping the course in order to avoid the academic penalty."
Number of Students Found in Violation of the Policy
Historically, 5-10% of students are found to be in violation of the academic dishonesty policy each semester. Many of these students immediately admit to falling behind with the coursework and violating one or more of the rules above and if it is a minor first-time offense may receive a reduced penalty.