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Academic Honesty

Academic honesty is fundamental to the activities and principles of a university. All members of the academic community must be confident that each person’s work has been responsibly and honorably acquired, developed, and presented. Any effort to gain an advantage not given to all students is dishonest whether or not the effort is successful. The academic community regards academic dishonesty as an extremely serious matter, with serious consequences that range from probation to expulsion.

University regulations require a class instructor to report any plagiarism or cheating detected in his/her class to the provost. Teaching Assistants and Instructors can lose their positions if a case of academic dishonesty was intentionally disregarded or tolerated. The instructor may award a failing grade on the assignment in question, a failing grade in the course, or may otherwise adjust the assignment or course grade as deemed appropriate. In addition, instructors may choose to assign additional work.

Important Academic Integrity links:

Option A

Option A in the academic dishonesty form allows a student to accept the consequences of some form of dishonesty. The form is kept in the Provost’s office. It is attached neither to MyZou grades nor to the registrar’s database of student information. At graduation, the file is shredded. If, however, this specific act represents the student’s second or greater instance of academic dishonesty, the Provost’s office will convene a hearing to determine disciplinary sanctions (e.g., suspension, dismissal).

Examples

5 examples of errors students have made in programming classes. These examples show students how academic honesty policies of this university apply to plagiarism in lab/programming assignments.

EXAMPLE 1: If Bob and Sue collaborate on the completion of a programming assignment, then it will not be possible to assess their individual efforts. Did Bob implement half of the methods and Sue the other half, possibly justifying half credit for each? Or did Sue really do almost all of the work while Bob contributed very little, suggesting that Sue should get credit but not Bob? Because Sue and Bob should know that collaboration on programming assignments is not permitted, submission of the programs as representing their respective individual efforts constitutes academic dishonesty. Therefore, no attempt may be made to try to determine who should receive what percentage of the credit. Both students would receive zeros on the assignment and an Academic Dishonesty form would be sent to the provost, and the department chair. Option A* is used in this instance.

EXAMPLE 2: The Teaching Assistants grading the labs identify that the programs submitted by Bob and Sue have large portions that are virtually identical. Bob insists that he does not know Sue and never collaborated with her. Sue insists that she doesn’t know Bob and never collaborated with him. It turns out that Bob and Sue independently did a Google search on the topic of the assignment and found a program that is similar to what was needed for the assignment. Bob and Sue each argue that there was no collaboration. Unfortunately, the bottom line is that the programs submitted by each person did not reflect their individual efforts. Bob argues that “in the real world” programmers are encouraged to make use of existing code rather than trying to reinvent the wheel. The professor agrees but points out to Bob that the context makes all the difference. If a prospective employer asks an applicant for an example of his programming and the applicant provides a large program written by someone else, the consequence could be a charge of civil or criminal fraud if the applicant is hired on the basis of the misrepresented program. Both students receive zeros on the assignment and both are turned in to the Provost and the department chair. Option A* can be used in this instance.

EXAMPLE 3: The Teaching Assistants identify that Sue, Bob, and Sally all turned in programs with striking similarities. Sue says that although she knew she shouldn’t do it, Bob begged and pleaded with her to let him see her program so that he could finish the assignment. She says that Bob swore that he wouldn’t let anyone else see her program, but apparently he gave it to Sally. Sue is embarrassed because she recalls the professor describing a situation exactly like this at the beginning of the semester as an example of what can happen if someone gives into the pleadings of someone who can’t do the work on his own. Bob is apologetic, tries to take all the blame, and insists that Sue should get full credit. He says that he knew he shouldn’t have given the program to Sally, but she had her Spanish II homework to trade to him, so he felt like he had to make the trade. Unfortunately, Sally insists that she was the originator of the program and that Bob and Sue must have stolen it from her somehow. The end result is that all three receive zeros and are reported to the Provost and the department chair.

EXAMPLE 4: Ted, Bob’s roommate, is desperate since it is 11 p.m. of the day the program is due. He accesses Bob’s laptop and his account on Blackboard and copies Bob’s completed program onto his flash drive. He changes variables, adds documentation and submits that new program at 11:54 p.m. The MOSS program identifies the two programs as overlapping. Ted is given a zero on the assignment and reported to the Provost and the department chair. Bob is turned in to IATs for giving another person his pawprint and password. Bob also receives a zero on the assignment and is reported to the Provost and department chair.

EXAMPLE 5: Bob, Sally and Sue work together on a program and Sue types all the code after the discussion about how to solve the problem. Bob and Sally turn in their copies with their own documentation. Sue adds her own documentation and changes some of the variable names. Since all the students had a zero on a previous academic dishonesty violation, the consequences are zeros on all the assignments and quizzes and all the students are reported to the Provost for academic dishonesty at the second level, using Option A*. However, the Provost’s office will then convene a hearing to determine disciplinary sanctions (e.g., suspension, dismissal).

*Option A in the academic dishonesty form allows a student to accept the consequences of some form of dishonesty. The form is kept in the Provost’s office. It is attached neither to MyZou grades nor to the registrar’s database of student information. At graduation, the file is shredded. If, however, this specific act represents the student’s second or greater instance of academic dishonesty, the Provost’s office will convene a hearing to determine disciplinary sanctions (e.g., suspension, dismissal).