Academic Honesty for Computing Assignments

I want your time at FSU to be a wonderful educational experience. I want to help you learn the skills you need to succeed and earn a degree that opens doors for you. I want to ensure that FSU remains a successful community. As such, I must uphold the standard of academic honesty (including sanctioning dishonest students) and clearly communicate those standards.

Academic Dishonesty in General

Unless clearly stated in the assignment itself, I expect all work that you present as your own to be your own work.

If you are unsure how this standard applies to a particular situation, ask.

You should read FSU’s Values and Morals statement. Also, familiarize yourself with the Academic Honor Policy and use the associated resources.

Academic Dishonesty on the Computing Assignments

What constitutes academic dishonest or cheating on computing assignments?

While you should feel free to collaborate with classmates on the ungraded review exercises, you should complete the graded computing assignments on your own. You may use the textbook, my notes, your notes, and your solutions to the review exercises (perhaps developed in collaboration with classmates). You may not collaborate with other students on the computing assignments. You may not share completed or partially completed assignments and may not discuss your approach. You may not offer help to or request help from other students.

If you are unsure, ask. If you’d like to use a resource that isn’t explicitly allowed, I’m probably okay with it–but ask first!

Examples of Academic Dishonesty:

Here are several examples (i.e., a non-exhaustive list) of activities that are cheating:

  1. Using my solution key from past semesters (in whole or in part) as a resource to complete the assignment.
  2. Using another student’s submission (from the current class or previous classes; in whole or in part) as a resource to complete the assignment.
  3. Looking at another student’s submission (even if incomplete) or having another student’s submission in your possession (even if incomplete).
  4. Asking another student if you can look at their (any part of) submission.
  5. Showing another student (any part of) your submission.
  6. Offering to let another student look at (any part of) your submission.
  7. Asking another student for help with the assignment.
  8. Offering to help another student with their assignment.
  9. Helping another student with their assignment.
  10. Using code you found on the internet.

If you become aware of potential violations of the honor code, you are obligated to report those potential violations.

Here’s an specifc, difficult example: You are sitting in class one day, having struggled all night to load a particular data set–you just can’t get the code to work. You’re minding your own business, but the student sitting in front of you opens their laptop. You see their work. They quickly close the assignment, but you saw how they loaded the dataset. You realize the simple mistake you were making the night before. How should you proceed? On the one hand, you didn’t try to cheat. On the other hand, you saw another student’s submission. To proceed with integrity, you should let the TA or me know what happened. We can advise you how to proceed.

Here’s another specifc, difficult example: You are sitting at home one day, reading CNN. You get an e-mail notification from a classmate. The e-mail is titled “heres my first try at computing asignment 1.” How do you proceed? As before, you didn’t try to cheat. Instead, someone tried to help you. But they’ve put you in a bad spot: you now have another students submission in your possession. You should report this to me or the TA. We will advise you how to proceed.

An Honest Workflow

  1. Use the ungraded review exercises to develop your skills. Consult with your classmates as little or as often as you like to develop those skills. If it helps you to work on the review exercises in collaboration with others, then do that. If it helps you to work alone, then do that. If you need to mix it up, then do that. Also, take advantage of office hours and group study sessions. With regard to computing, I do not expect your to memorize every function, package, workflow that we use, but you should be able to complete the review exercises using the my notes as a guide.
  2. Do the graded computing assignment alone, using only the following resources:
    1. my electronic notes posted to the course website (it’s fine to copy-and-paste code from the notes)
    2. the assigned course readings
    3. your notes from class and group study sessions
    4. your solutions to the assigned review exercises, potentially developed in collaboration with other students (it’s fine to copy-and-paste from these sollutions, as long as you contributed)
  3. No matter how well you prepare, you might run into a bug that you simply cannot seem to fix. Or there might be some part of the assignment that you don’t quite understand. In that case, take advantage of office hours.

While I’ve tried to coommunicate the standard precisely and concretely, some confusion might remain. If you are not sure if some action consistutes academic dishonesty, then either avoid that action or ask first.


When a student violates the honor code, I follow the procedures described in the honor policy, which include sanctions (among others):

  1. additional academic work, including re-doing the assignment
  2. a reduced grade (including “0” or “F”) for the assignment
  3. a reduced grade (including “F”) for the course

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Carlisle Rainey