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Important: It will be assumed that you have read the following statement thoroughly. If you have any questions, contact the instructor immediately.

Academic Integrity

Student-teacher relationships are built on trust. For example, students must trust that teachers have made appropriate decisions about the structure and content of the courses they teach, and teachers must trust that the assignments that students turn in are their own performance. Acts that violate this trust undermine the educational process.

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 and/or the Office of Graduate Education as appropriate.

Academic integrity is a difficult issue for programming assignments. 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. In response to this, the following rules will be in force for programming assignments:

  • Students are allowed to work together in designing algorithms, in interpreting error messages, and in discussing strategies for finding bugs, but NOT in writing code.

  • Students may not share code, may not copy code, and may not discuss code in detail (line-by-line or loop-by-loop) while it is being written or afterwards.

  • Similarly, students may not receive detailed help on their code from individuals outside the course. This restriction includes tutors, students from prior terms, and internet resources.

  • Students may not show their code to other students as a means of helping them. Sometimes good students who feel sorry for struggling students are tempted to provide them with "just a peek" at their code. Such "peeks" often turn into extensive copying, despite prior claims of good intentions.

  • Students may not leave their code (either electronic versions or printed copies) in publicly accessible areas. Students may not share computers in any way when there is an assignment pending.

Students caught cheating on programming assignments will be punished. The standard punishment for the first offense is a 0 on the assignment and full letter grade reduction on the semester average. Students whose violations are more flagrant will receive a higher penalty and may receive an F in the course immediately. Students caught a second time will receive an immediate F, regardless of circumstances. Each incident will be reported to the Dean of Students and/or Office of Graduate Education as appropriate.

Refer to the The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the The Rensselaer Graduate Student Supplement 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."