Academic Honesty

This course’s philosophy on academic honesty is best stated as “be reasonable.” The course recognizes that interactions with classmates and others can facilitate mastery of the course’s material. However, there remains a line between enlisting the help of another and submitting the work of another. The course’s policy characterizes both sides of that line.

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Policy

The essence of all work that you submit to this course must be your own. Unless otherwise specified, collaboration on assessments (e.g., assignments, labs, problem sets, projects, quizzes, or tests) is not permitted except to the extent that you may ask classmates and others for help so long as that help does not reduce to another doing your work for you. Generally speaking, when asking for help, you may show your work to others, but you may not view theirs, so long as you and they respect this policy’s other constraints.

Regret clause. If you commit some act that is not reasonable but bring it to the attention of the course’s heads by emailing certificates@cs50.harvard.edu within 72 hours, the course may impose local sanctions that may include an unsatisfactory or failing grade for work submitted, but the course will not refer the matter for further disciplinary action except in cases of repeated acts.

Below are rules of thumb that (inexhaustively) characterize acts that the course considers reasonable and not reasonable. If in doubt as to whether some act is reasonable, do not commit it until you solicit and receive approval in writing from the course’s heads. Acts considered not reasonable by the course are handled harshly. If the course refers some matter for disciplinary action and the outcome is punitive, the course reserves the right to impose local sanctions on top of that outcome that may include an unsatisfactory or failing grade for work submitted or for the course itself. The course ordinarily recommends exclusion (i.e., required withdrawal) from the course itself.

Reasonable

  • Communicating with classmates about assessements in English (or some other spoken language), and properly citing those discussions.
  • Discussing the course’s material with others in order to understand it better.
  • Helping a classmate identify a bug in their code, as by viewing, compiling, or running their code after you have submitted that portion of the pset yourself.
  • Incorporating a few lines of code that you find online or elsewhere into your own code, provided that those lines are not themselves solutions to assgined work and that you cite the lines’ origins.
  • Sending or showing code that you’ve written to someone, possibly a classmate, so that they might help you identify and fix a bug.
  • Submitting the same or similar work to this course that you have submitted previously to this course.
  • Turning to the web or elsewhere for instruction beyond the course’s own, for references, and for solutions to technical difficulties, but not for outright solutions to assigned work.
  • Whiteboarding solutions with others using diagrams or pseudocode but not actual code.
  • Working with (and even paying) a tutor to help you with the course, provided the tutor does not do your work for you.

Not Reasonable

  • Accessing a solution to some assessement prior to (re-)submitting your own.
  • Accessing or attempting to access, without permission, an account not your own.
  • Asking a classmate to see their solution to some assessment before (re-)submitting your own.
  • Discovering but failing to disclose to the course’s heads bugs in the course’s software that affect scores.
  • Decompiling, deobfuscating, or disassembling the staff’s solutions.
  • Failing to cite (as with comments) the origins of code or techniques that you discover outside of the course’s own lessons and integrate into your own work, even while respecting this policy’s other constraints.
  • Giving or showing to a classmate a solution to an assessement when it is they, and not you, who is struggling to solve it.
  • Manipulating or attempting to manipulate scores artificially, as by exploiting bugs or formulas in the course’s software.
  • Paying or offering to pay an individual for work that you may submit as (part of) your own.
  • Providing or making available solutions to assessments to individuals who might take this course in the future.
  • Searching for or soliciting outright solutions to assessments online or elsewhere.
  • Splitting an assessment’s workload with another individual and combining your work.
  • Submitting (after possibly modifying) the work of another individual beyond the few lines allowed herein.
  • Submitting the same or similar work to this course that you have submitted or will submit to another.
  • Submitting work to this course that you intend to use outside of the course (e.g., for a job) without prior approval from the course’s heads.
  • Viewing another’s solution to an assessment and basing your own solution on it.