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Academic integrity

We want to be sure you understand the rules of academic integrity in this course. To this end, you must do quiz 0 on the CMS for the course. It is short --4-5 questions-- and it easily completed after reading the material given below.

We ask you not to cheat, in any way, shape, or form. In return, we will try our best to be fair about the amount of work we are giving you and in the grading of that work. You can always talk to us if you have any gripe or criticism about the course, and we will attempt to respond to it immediately.

The main place you can cheat is on the assignments. We have little control over how you do the assignments and what help you get on them. However, cheating on the assignments hurts only you; no one else.

Specific rule for CS 1130 assignments: Do not look at anyone else's code, in any format. Do not show your code to anyone else, in any format. No student should every possess a copy of, or a portion of, any other student's work regardless of format.

We are asking you to master the material in the course. If your assignment has errors, we will ask you to work again on the assignment to remove errors. If you cheat, you are not mastering the material and hence are learning nothing. Don't do that. If you don't pass an exam, you may take it again.

You are not competing against other students in this course; you pass the course when you have done the assignments adequately and when you demonstrate on the exams that you know the material. So don't cheat.

Cheating destroys trust and respect

Why shouldn't you cheat? Society thrives and grows on trust and respect. If that trust is broken, then chaos tends to enter in. This trust can be on a small scale, such as simply trusting a bus driver to get you to your destination (if the driver is drunk, you may be killed; you trust that they are not drunk). Or it can be on a huge scale, such as the Protestants and Catholics not trusting each other in northern Ireland.

Situation Example of trust and no trust
This course You trust us to teach you programming, with a reasonable amount of work on your part and hopefully in an interesting way. In turn, we trust you to do your work in a timely manner, without cheating. We work together.
Taking a bus You trust that the driver is not drunk and will carefully drive you to your destination
Downloading music Musicians produce music and expect to get paid for its use, so that they can make a living. They trust the copyright system. You violate that trust when you download music illegally.
Stocks You buy stocks in a company, trusting that its reports are accurate and that its employees are honest. The Enron debacle shows how bad things can become when that trust is broken. The crooks in that company ruined the lives of many people.
Politics We want to trust our leaders. When they act in ways that seem to benefit them and their friends rather than society as a whole, cynicism sets in and we lose faith in them and in our system of governing. Example: In the eyes of many, by its actions, the current administration has lost the respect of the country and the world.
Email When the internet was started, everyone trusted everone else. No one would spam, and if they did, they were taken to task. But, as the internet grew, trust was severely violated, and now, it is estimated that 90% of all email is spam, causing a huge load on the system and wasting people's time. The more malicious kinds of spam prey on people, especially the children and the elderly.

Cheating destroys the respect others have for you when they find out that you cheated. More importantly, cheating, starting on a small scale but can continue to grow, leading to cheating on a large scale later on. Cheating destroys your character. It can lessen what you think of yourself and ruin your self-confidence. It can ruin your life. While cheating may seem to help in the short run, in the long run it can lead to disaster.

There is another view of cheating. In a course in which the grades are curved in any way, cheating is a crime against the honest students. It is a way to screw your classmates, the people who think you are their friend. You cheat, your grade goes up, and maybe the curve changes to your benefit and their detriment. Do you want to do that to friends?

Cornell's code of academic integrity

Cornell University has a Code of Academic Integrity, which explains clearly what is academic cheating and what is not. Also, the website goes into great detail about acadmic integrity procedures from the standpoint of the student, instructor, and Academic Integrity Hearing Board member.

Violations of the Cornell University Code of Academic Integrity occurring in Computer Science courses are taken very seriously by the Computer Science faculty. Therefore, it is necessary to impress upon you the gravity of violations of the Code. The following are excerpts from a longer version of the Cornell University Code of Academic Integrity (with some grammar changes). The exclusion of any part does not excuse ignorance of the Code.


Absolute integrity is expected of every Cornell student in all academic undertakings; a person must in no way misrepresent their work fraudulently, unfairly advance their academic status, or be a party to another person's failure to maintain academic integrity. The maintenance of an atmosphere of academic honor and the fulfillment of the provisions of this Code are the responsibilities of the students and faculty of Cornell University. Therefore, all students and faculty members shall refrain from any action that would violate the basic principles of this Code.

General Responsibilities

A student assumes responsibility for the content and integrity of the academic work they submit, such as papers, examinations, or reports. A student shall be guilty of violating the Code and subject to proceedings under it if the student:

  • knowingly represents the work of others as their own.
  • uses or obtains unauthorized assistance in any academic work.
  • gives fraudulent assistance to another student.
  • fabricates data in support of laboratory or field work.
  • forges a signature to certify completion or approval of a course assignment.
  • in any other manner violates the principle of absolute integrity.

Specific additional remarks for students in CS1130

Students are not allowed to work together, since grades are based on individual mastery.

Rule for the assignments

Do not look at anyone else's code, in any format. Do not show your code to anyone else, in any format. No student should ever possess a copy of, or a portion o a copy of, any other student's work regardless of format.

What means do we use to catch violators?

We use Moss, which was developed by a Cornell PhD. We give the Moss web-based software a directory containing all the submissions and another file containing the skeleton we gave you for that assignment. Moss returns a list of pairs of submissions, ranked by the percentage of similar lines and showing exactly where the similarities are. Changing variable names does not help. Take a look at it here:

Penalties for cheating

  • We assign penalties on a case-by-case basis.
  • Possibilities include: failingl you in CS1130, asking you to do some other assignment, requesting Cornell to apply a permanent mark on your transcript, and requesting Cornell to take more drastic disciplinary action, like throwing you out of Cornell.

Whom should you contact if you suspect a violation of the Code?

  • Contact a member of the course staff immediately if you suspect a Code violation.