Academic Dishonesty | Computer Science | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics

Academic Dishonesty | Computer Science | SIU

Academic Dishonesty

Computer Science Program Policies on Academic Dishonesty*

   Computer Science Program policies and procedures on academic dishonesty fall within the guidelines set forth in the Student Conduct Code (see the Undergraduate Catalog). It is the responsibility of faculty members in the Computer Science Program to bring these policies to the attention of students in their classes.

    It is the responsibility of each student to identify the conceptual sources of his or her work. Whenever material from another source (such as a proof or a computer program) is reproduced in work submitted by a student, failure to indicate the source with quotation marks or footnotes constitutes plagiarism and is subject to disciplinary action. This definition of plagiarism applies in all computer science courses unless modified by the course instructor.

    Cheating includes but is not necessarily limited to:

  1. The use of unauthorized materials including computer programs in preparation of an assignment or during an examination.
  2. The submission or use of falsified data.
  3. The submission of work that is not the student's own.
  4. Plagiarism.
  5. The use of an alternate/stand-in/proxy during an examination.
  6. Supplying unauthorized data to another student for the preparation of an assignment or during an examination.
  7. Collaboration in the preparation of an assignment unless it is specifically allowed by the instructor.

   The decision as to whether a student has cheated depends on the intent of an assignment, the ground rules specified by the instructor, and the behavior of the student. Two guidelines help an instructor decide if cheating has occurred:

  • Program plagiarism will be suspected if, on an assignment that calls for independent development and implementation of a program, students submit two solutions so similar that one can be converted to another by a mechanical transformation.
  • Cheating will be suspected if a student who was to complete an assignment independently cannot explain both the intricacies of his or her solution and the techniques used to generate that solution.

   It is unreasonable to expect a complete definition of cheating; each case is important enough to be given careful, individual scrutiny. It is, however, helpful to have guidelines and precedents. Here are some examples of cases that clearly are cheating and some examples that clearly are not cheating.


  • Turning in someone else's work as your own (with or without his or her knowledge).
  • Allowing someone else to turn in your work as his or her own.
  • Several people writing one program or part of one program and turning in multiple copies, all represented (implicitly or explicitly) as individual work.
  • Using any part of someone else's work without proper acknowledgment.
  • Stealing an examination or a solution from the instructor. This is an extremely flagrant offense.

   Not Cheating

  • Turning in work done alone or with the help of the course's staff.
  • Submission of one assignment for a group of students if group work is explicitly permitted (or required).
  • Getting or giving help on an operating system.
  • High-level discussion of course material for better understanding.
  • Discussion of assignments to understand WHAT is being asked for.

   "Work" in the above examples includes both algorithms and program source code.

   A list of possible disciplinary actions is given below:

  • Actions within the course: Negative credit for the assignment. No credit for the assignment and loss of a letter grade for the course. Makeup assignment over the same material; no credit. Forced drop in the course. Failure in the course.
  • Actions within the Computer Science Program: Suspension from computer science courses for a designated period. Expulsion from computer science courses.
  • Actions by the University: Warning. Probation. Suspension from the University for a designated period. Expulsion from the University.

   The computer science program has formally adopted the following guidelines for assigning penalties in cases where cheating or plagiarism is established.

   A. Penalties for Undergraduates in CS 105/200B/202/215/220
  1. Copying without permission:
    1st offense: from negative weight to course grade F. 
    2nd offense: course grade F and a suspension of up to one year from Computer Science courses. If the offense involves accessing files without permission, the penalty may include a suspension of up to a year of SIU computing facilities.
  2. Copying with permission (penalties apply to both copier and person whose work was copied):
    1st offense: from 0 on the specific lab/assignment/exam to course grade F. 
    2nd offense: course grade F.
  3. Working collectively:
    1st offense: 0 on the specific lab/assignment/exam.
    2nd offense: course grade F. 
    3rd offense: course grade F plus suspension from computer science courses.
   B. Penalties in Other Cases
  1. Undergraduates in courses numbered 399 or less:
    1st offense by students in this category corresponds to 2nd offense above.
  2. Undergraduates in courses numbered 400 or more:
    Same as for graduate students.
  3. Graduate students in any course:
    1st offense: suspension from program.
   C. Supplementary Comments
  1. Records of cheating and plagiarism will be maintained by the computer science program.
  2. A penalty resulting from an accusation of plagiarism or cheating can be appealed through the appeal process described in the operating paper of the College of Science.

* Portions of this policy have been adopted by many Computer Science departments and the policy is a slightly revised version of the article: M. Shaw, "Cheating in computer science courses: Problems and some solutions," Proceedings of the Canadian Information Processing Society Conference: Converging Technologies, 1983, pp. 29-33. This policy was developed for the Computer Science Department at Carnegie-Mellon University and the article states that it can be used as a model for other departments.