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Honor Code in Computer Science

All Loyola students sign the Honor Code when they start at Loyola, and are expected to follow the honor code at all times. This webpage is to help you understand how that honor code applies to your computer science courses. Academic honesty is required of all Loyola students at all times, so that their degrees retain meaning and value.  

For full details for your particular course, be sure to check your course syllabus.

Honor Code in Computer Science

For most courses, all assignments that are not pair programming exercises or assigned to be done with a group are to be completed by the student as an individual. If a course allows collaboration on specific types of assignments, be sure to follow the instructor’s rules on what collaboration means and how/if you note that collaboration took place.  Note that collaboration generally does NOT mean turning in an identical solution or fully doing the assignment together. Sharing code or answers to exercises is almost never allowed.  Although most of this page mentions code, the rules apply to other types of assignments as well.

Any copying of an assignment solution, whether electronically or by hand, is considered plagiarism.  Students submitting non-trivial projects with identical structure will be considered to have acted dishonestly. No one should be doing your work for you, whether they are in the class or not.

As soon as code is exchanged, or one student tells another student exactly how to write the code, the line between collaboration and plagiarism has been crossed. Be aware that many faculty use an automated tool that determines the degree of similarity of programs very effectively.

Examples of what many instructors would consider OK:

  1. Discussion among students on how to approach a program, such as understanding the problem and requirements of the assignment. For instance, “what does it mean when the professor says we must get user input for two values?”
  2. Discussion among students on high level algorithmic design, but only if no notes leave the discussion (i.e. you only leave that discussion with your own ideas in your mind that do not constitute a full solution).
  3. Discussion among students on how to debug an error in a program.
  4. Working with your partner(s) on a pair-programming assignment such as a lab.Getting help from official computer science tutors.
  5. Using course materials (textbook, lecture notes, assigned readings) as guides on how to solve assignments.

Examples of what many instructors would consider cheating (non-exhaustive list):

  1. Exchanging code either via hardcopy or electronically
  2. Taking another student’s code with or without their knowledge
  3. Dictating to another student how to write their code
  4. Continuously discussing an assignment with any number of other people other than the instructor as you work on it. This includes chatting with a friend in the class doing any of what I listed as OK above, but doing so over and over again for many parts of the assignment. That is the definition of working on a problem together instead of separately.
  5. Using code copied from any other source (WWW, a friend, etc), unless explicitly stated to be OK in the assignment or by the professor upon inquiry.
  6. Using code found online, from a friend, etc, that solves a similar or identical problem as a guide in how you write your code.
  7. Showing another student your work before you have both submitted it for grading, for any reason 
  8. Posting solutions on social media, a blog, publicly, or in a shared repository on GitHub, or any other location in which you could reasonably expect that another student could access it.
  9. Asking someone else, whether student or otherwise, to do any part of your assignment for you. This includes posting on StackOverflow, Chegg, etc. 
  10. Using an un-allowed resource to write your code for you (ChatGPT or other AI, or any other program).
  11. Leaving your laptop lying around with your code on it, and without a password protected account (or leaving it unlocked), while another student could open it to copy your work. You should always protect your privacy and set up a password for access to your laptop account!

You are always welcome to ask if a particular type of collaboration is OK. Please do so before engaging in a collaboration you are unsure about.  Your instructor and their syllabus has the final say on these details.

What happens if your instructor believes you have cheated?

We leave the exact grade change up to the instructor. At the very least, two or more students presenting assignments identical in all important aspects will at most share the points from a single grade. For example, if the assignment earned an 80%, each student would receive a 40%. In some cases at least 1 student will receive a grade of zero. An instructor may assign a grade of zero to both involved students. A student who cheats without the help of another student in class with earn a zero for the assignment. Giving another student access to your solution counts as having cheated.

The honor code process is described on the Honor Code website, at the bottom of the Faculty Procedures page.

This webpage was finalized in its current state before the start of the Fall 2023 semester. No content has been changed since that time.