CPSC Department Honor Code Policy

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The following rules reflect the CPSC department's implementation of the UMW Honor Code. They were arrived at based on a strong census from the entire CPSC faculty.

Note that all of the rules below apply to all CPSC courses, unless explicitly overridden by the instructor in writing. ("in writing" means, for instance, in the class syllabus, or a Canvas announcement, or an email from the instructor).

  1. Provide the honor pledge. All assignments, unless your instructor writes otherwise, must be accompanied by the honor pledge in some form. Your instructor will specify how to do this: typing it in code comments, writing it by hand and submitting it separately, entering it into Canvas when you submit your assignment, etc.
  2. You must write all programs yourself (without help from others or from websites), unless specified. There are several team-oriented courses in our curriculum, and of course you will be allowed to work with other students on your team for those. Your instructor will explicitly identify those, however. In the absence of any specific instruction, you are not to communicate to others in any way about your assignments. You are also not to consult Google, StackOverflow, or any other website unless permitted in writing.
  3. Do not share your code with other students, either this semester, or in any future semester. Remember that giving unauthorized help violates the Honor Code just as much as receiving unauthorized help does.
  4. Do not post your code or class materials anywhere. You may not upload your solutions to any publicly-available website, post part of your solution on StackOverflow or any similar site, or post assignments/notes/etc from the course, even if they were instructor-authored materials.
  5. Explicitly cite any sources you use.
    • If your instructor states in writing that you are allowed to work with other students, you must indicate on your submission the names of your collaborators.
    • If your instructor allows you to use Google, StackOverflow, or any other electronic source, you must indicate on your submission the source and scope of the assistance you received. Individual instructors will give specific directions on how to do that; it might be creating a code comment that contains the URL and a synopsis of the code you used, for example.
  6. Do not look at solutions from previous semesters. Professors evolve and reuse assignments over many years in order to perfect them. If someone does leave their code (or other materials) lying around from a previous offering of the course, you may not look at them when completing your own.
  7. Be prepared to explain anything you submit. Your instructor may, at any time, call you in to his/her office to explain any part of your program. You will be expected to convincingly walk him/her through your code, demonstrating your thought process behind it. If you cannot, this may be considered an Honor Code violation.
  8. When in doubt, ask your instructor what constitutes plagiarism. If you're not sure whether you need to cite a source for a quotation in a paper, or list the URL of a website from which you got some code, ask. If you do not ask, and the instructor deems it to be unauthorized help, this may be considered an Honor Code violation.
  9. Automated plagiarism detection tools may be used. Be forewarned that there are smart tools out there (like Stanford's "Moss," to name just one example) that can detect when two programs are so alike that rote copying must have occurred. These tools are clever enough not to be fooled by superficial changes, like adding white space or changing variable names. Be advised that instructors may (or may not) use such tools in order to identify illegal copying.
  10. No assistance on exams/quizzes. Unless otherwise noted, all exams and quizzes must be taken without using any electronic device, hardcopy materials, etc.