On this page:
1 Details
2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
3 Examples

Please Don’t Cheat

Last updated: Wed, 13 May 2015 17:40:10 -0400

Please don’t cheat.

It’s not worth it since:
  • we will catch you and you will be punished;

  • even if you get away with it, you will receive a poor grade in the course since the code walks require both correctly working code and deep understanding of that code;

  • you won’t learn anything and thus won’t get a job or co-op.

Read the Northeastern University Academic Integrity Policy for more information.

The university requires that all suspected cheaters be reported to OSCCR (starting from the very first offense). After that, it’s out of our hands and you’ll have to deal with the university directly.

1 Details

We use multiple plagiarism-detecting tools to compare every homework submission with all other submissions from this semester, and to a database of all code from previous iterations of the course.

Homework flagged by the tools will be submitted to OSCCR.

2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Q: What if I am incorrectly flagged for cheating?

    A: If you don’t cheat, then you won’t be flagged and you have nothing to worry about, so you can relax.

  2. Q: What if my homework solution is 100% perfect and just happens to match another student’s solution by coincidence?

    A: This never happens. Even with the remote possibility of identical code, there are enough non-code requirements that every honest submission is unique.

  3. Q: I think I might have cheated. What do I do?

    A: Let us know as soon as possible. You are better off telling us rather than getting caught.

  4. Q: I think my partner might have submitted someone else’s code. What do I do?

    A: Let us know as soon as possible. You are better off telling us rather than getting caught.

  5. Q: I’m trying to decide between cheating and submitting an incomplete assignment. Which option is better?

    A: Submit the incomplete assignment. Your grade will likely not be as bad as you expect if the parts you completed are well designed and you can explain it.

  6. Q: I’m trying to decide between cheating and just not submitting and assignment and taking a 0. Which option is better?

    A: Take the 0. We drop the lowest grade anyways.

  7. Q: I’m trying to decide between cheating and dropping the course. Which option is better?

    A: Drop the course. You can always retake it. Otherwise you risk more severe penalties like expulsion.

  8. Q: If I copy someone else’s code but change all the variable names, will I get caught?

    A: Yes.

  9. Q: If I copy someone else’s code but change all the variable names, and rearrange the order of some code blocks, will I get caught?

    A: Yes.

  10. Q: If I copy someone else’s code but change all the variable names, and rearrange the order of some code blocks, and rewrite and rearrange the comments, will I get caught?

    A: Yes.

3 Examples

In addition to the University’s examples, here are some more examples of cheating:

Note that we are referring to copying homework solutions only. Asking for help on general concepts or unrelated examples is acceptable.

Here are some examples of acceptable behavior:
  • Soliciting help on general concepts, e.g., "I don’t understand what a signature is? What I think it means is ..."

  • Soliciting help on how to use some Racket function in general, e.g., "I don’t understand <some specific argument> to big-bang. I tried <example> but don’t understand the error message".

  • Soliciting help understanding some example that is not a homework question, e.g., "I’m not sure how to write <this specific part> of a template for an <unrelated example>. Here’s what I tried ..."

  • Looking up algorithms and concepts on the internet. This is not an algorithms course, but we do assume some basic concepts. Feel free to look up any of these concepts if you need a refresher. Cite your source though.