Cheating Policy

Warning Sign with exclamation point
The Computer Science Department Faculty will not condone cheating.

The academic policies on cheating of the University apply within the department. These policies suffice for much of our work, but they do not deal explicitly with course work involving computers; thus, the policies must be extended to cover these cases. The decision as to whether a student cheated depends on the intent of the assignment, the ground rules specified by the instructor, and the behavior of the student. Two guidelines help an instructor decide if cheating has occurred:

  1. Program plagiarism will be suspected if an assignment that calls for independent development and implementation of a program results in two or more solutions so similar that one can be converted to another by mechanical transformation.
  2. Cheating will be suspected if a student who was to complete an assignment independently cannot explain both the intricacies of his or her solution and the techniques used to generate that solution.

It is unreasonable to expect a complete definition of cheating. It is, however, helpful to have guidelines and precedents. Here are some examples of cases that are clearly cheating and clearly not cheating.

Examples of Cheating

  1. Turning in someone else's work as your own (with or without his or her knowledge). Turning in a completely duplicated assignment is a flagrant offense.
  2. Allowing someone else to turn in your work as his or her own.
  3. Several people writing one program and turning in multiple copies, all represented (implicitly or explicitly) as individual work.
  4. Using any part of someone else's work without the proper acknowledgment.
  5. Stealing an examination or solution from the instructor. This is an extremely flagrant offense.

Examples of Not Cheating

  1. Turning in work done alone or with the help of the course's staff.
  2. Submission of one assignment for a group of students if group work is explicitly permitted (or required).
  3. Getting or giving help on using the computer for the course.
  4. Getting or giving help on how to solve minor syntax errors.
  5. High level discussion of course material for better understanding.
  6. Discussion of assignments to understand what is being asked for.

The Computer Science Department Faculty will not condone cheating. When cheating is suspected, instructors will take action to establish whether it has actually occurred. If it has, the instructor will apply appropriate disciplinary policy.

The University specifies that cheating is grounds for dismissal. Penalties less severe may be imposed instead. A list of possible disciplinary actions is given below.

Actions within the course

  • Negative credit for assignment.
  • No credit for assignment and loss of letter grade for course.
  • Makeup assignment over same material; no credit.
  • Failure in course.

Actions within the department

  • Loss of advanced standing.
  • Letter to the Vice President for Student Services detailing the nature of the infraction. The Campus Judicial Officer then follows up on behalf of the Vice President of Student Services and the Office of the Provost.
  • Employment eligibility is determined by the severity of the infraction.

If a serious infraction occurs, the student will be fired, will not be rehired by the department, and will not receive a departmental tuition waiver.

Actions by the university

  • Warning probation.
  • Suspension from university for a designated period.
  • Expulsion from university.

The following policies apply to all cases of cheating and plagiarism

  1. For the first offense, the penalty will always be at least as severe as the penalty for failing to turn in the assignment (or take the exam) in question.
  2. For either repeated offenses or a flagrant offense by any student, the instructor shall either refer the incident directly to the University for action or assign a penalty no less severe than failure in the course.