Today you have almost instantaneous access to all of the world’s knowledge. And this can be quite beneficial – when you need to know something, the answer is just a few keystrokes away. It can also be detrimental, rather than really learning something, finishing your homework can be just a cut-and-paste away.
In evaluating your performance in this course, we need to evaluate what you have learned, not what you have been able to cut-and-paste. However, rather than fighting against the wide availability of information on the Internet, we are going to embrace it. For example, as you have seen elsewhere, we are often going to use on-line material as primary sources in this course.
So, what will be out-of-bounds in this course is plagiarism, i.e., presenting someone else’s work as your own. In doing your work for this course, you may refer to any source you like on the Internet (or in the actual library) to learn something – but you must properly cite those sources. Copying text verbatim (or close to verbatim) as well as copying ideas – without acknowledging those sources – is plagiarism.
We will run plagiarism detection programs on your homework assignments to check against other assignments and against resources on the Internet.
The penalty for plagiarism in this course will be a zero for the problem set or the exam on which the plagiarism occurred, regardless of how much was actually plagiarized. In addition, this zero cannot be used as the low score to be dropped from your problem sets. More than one instance of plagiarism may be dealt with more severely.
What you are allowed to do. Just as when you are writing a research paper, you can use almost any source you like for your assignments. You are in particular encouraged to discuss assignments amongst yourselves on Piazza. The exception is that you may not discuss actual solutions (or actual code) on Piazza (and are discouraged from doing so directly). However, whenever you use a source, you must cite that source. That may even include verbatim text – or verbatim code – as long as it is cited and indicated as being verbatim (e.g., quoted). You won’t get credit for a part of your homework for which you submit an answer copied from elsewhere – but it will also not be considered plagiarism – so you will only lose credit for that question. And again, plagiarism on even one question will result in loss of credit for the entire assignment. The one source you are not allowed to cite is a classmate (this should help you put boundaries on what you can discuss with classmates).
You do not need to cite the course lecture notes.
If in doubt about how your use of a source might be viewed by the course instructional staff: Ask!