Print 71 comment(s) - last by farbdogg.. on Feb 19 at 3:55 PM

Cheating Among Computer Science Students contributes to 22% of the University's honor code violations

A recent study by the San Jose Mercury News shows that at Stanford, cheating in computer science classes account for 22% of the university's total honor code violations, despite accounting for only 7% of student enrollment. 

The tendency to cheat that seems to cultivate within the computer science department is most likely a function of how easy it is to “borrow” code. The problem that cheaters are facing, however, is that plagiarism in a code is just as easy to detect as it is to perform. Professor Roberts, who wrote a paper on strategies of using technology in the teaching of ethics explains, “There is a perception that cheating is going to be a lot harder to detect than they think it is going to be. Programs are idiosyncratic as sentences and no two are alike - they are not even comparable if they are independently generated. It’s particularly easy to detect if they’ve been copied.”

The computer science department at Stanford utilizes a computerized screening software to detect potential plagiarism. The software scans student's code and compares it with other students' and assignments from previous years.

Despite the eminent threat of being detected that this device exudes, students within the department continue to cheat. One student that was caught cheating recently explained that “ [he] wasn't even thinking of how easy it would be ... to be caught.”

One Stanford computer science student suggests that the high occurrence of cheating within the department is due to non-computer science majors students in lower level classes. He points out that, “If you look at intro classes versus upper-level classes, there is a higher incidence of cheating people that are not CS majors — the ones that are new to the field and potentially find themselves being in a situation where they can’t handle the assignment. People arrive at Stanford with the same expectations as they had in high school.”

Whatever the cause for cheating, Stanford professors such as Dr. Roberts have decided to step up their game in an attempt to deter the tendency to plagiarize. He as employed what he describes as a “collective incentive” for students to maintain honesty, by threatening to add 5 weight percent points to the final exam for every honor code violation in his class. 

The outcome of this is that each cheating incident contributes to a scenario in which the whole class must face increased pressure on the final exam. Whether or not fear of fellow classmates is a more effective deterrent than disciplinary action remains to be seen, however, one thing should be clear to students: professors are taking cheating matters seriously and will continue to step up their game until it is no longer an issue.

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What cheating
By XZerg on 2/12/2010 2:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
Programmers need to focus on what can be put together quickly to meet the requirements, not so much on what. Most of the what already exists out there in many cases.

Most of the professional career, programmers spend copying or mimicking an existing code. The art of becoming a great programmer is being able to tweak and format that borrowed code and remembering them.

RE: What cheating
By clovell on 2/12/2010 2:24:20 PM , Rating: 5
True - but the other, more important part, is making sure your programs work correctly. Borrowing code only further propogates errors, and it doesn't promote coding in a lean, intelligent manner - not at the 'still-in-college' level.

Once you understand syntax, structure, best-practices, and validate another person's code as you borrow, then, by all means, borrow code and improve your effiiciency for God's sake.

But if you're getting it wrong, you're wasting your time and the time of those people who have to go behind you to fix it.

RE: What cheating
By bighairycamel on 2/12/2010 5:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
Dim X as integer, exam1 as double

Private sub Finals_start()
exam1 = 0.20 + (x * 0.05)
If exam1 >= 0.50
MsgBox "GG kiddies!"
End if
End Sub

Private sub semester_start()
X = 0
End Sub

Private sub student_busted()
X = X + 1
End Sub

RE: What cheating
By inighthawki on 2/12/2010 6:57:30 PM , Rating: 5
unsigned int x;
float exam1;

void FinalsStart()
    exam1 = 0.2f + 0.05f * x;
    if(exam1 >= 0.50f)
        MessageBox(0, L"LOLZ THAT SUX", L"GG", 0);

void SemesterStart()
    x = 0;

void StudentBusted()


RE: What cheating
By Samus on 2/12/2010 9:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
i don't even know how to begin detailing how many people asked for code i'd worked on back in school. C (before C++) especially almost nobody did the labs and just copied other peoples code and changed this and that around, usually get ref tags. tests were also a joke, i remember people using AIM to trade code during exams. the finals were hand written and thats where people usually funked out.

if anything, it helped me realize why we outsource programming. because at least at my school (UIC) i'd say 10% of my class were worthy programmers. ironically I felt I was pretty good and went into network engineering instead.

RE: What cheating
By Basilisk on 2/13/2010 7:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
At UIUC in the mid-60's, I never once experienced code-borrowing/-copying/-cheating in computer classes. Perhaps I was naive, but I'm being honest. We shared loose Q&A with classmates on computer-language issues, but the Problem was in itself the learning experience we were there for.

On the other hand, we always heard of the fraternities with shared papers and "cheats... but CS types weren't frat members! Actually, there were NO "CS" types until my senior year, '68, as UIUC's computer classes were previously under Math, EE, and ME departments -- there was NO CS dept!]

Ahhh... that was the Golden Age of computer classes! :) I recall an introductory class where I had full credit for all but one assignment: on that one I failed to solve a SNOBAL assignment because I didn't realize the card-punch's printer had a defective hammer which masked a typo where I'd carelessly typed a "1" instead of an "I".

Are more of today's students inclined to Play the System... to seek the short-cut gains rather than personal growth? Can't say, as I know a number of strikingly intelligent and ethically strong young folks. But... looking at the lauded Sports, Entertainment and Corporate role models, clearly many Americans see others as getting along well with less than stellar efforts or insights.

RE: What cheating
By Spookster on 2/15/2010 10:14:53 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I imagine it would have been alot harder to copy off of someone else's stack of punch cards grandpa..

RE: What cheating
By Basilisk on 2/15/2010 11:58:07 AM , Rating: 3
"... grandpa" -- OUCH!! :) Deserved, I suppose! And your point has merit: it probably took a lot more work to copy or even paraphrase someone else's work.

But it truly was a nerd's world, with few "outsiders" -- folks who weren't serious about programming -- taking the courses. Perhaps less nerdy, but very competent, were several Music majors in our midst: Moogs and computer-synthesized music were drawing a subset of Music students into electronics and programming. John Cage and Merce Cunningham wandered through on occasion -- almost typed "waltzed through", but that doesn't do justice to either!

RE: What cheating
By farbdogg on 2/19/2010 3:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
As a recent alum to Champaign, I can say there is a ridiculous amount of cheating... But part of it is because you're assigned anywhere from 40-60 hours of hw a week, especially in Algorithms. The competition is very high, so cheating is a required skill just to stay on top. I think it is a different mindset now.

RE: What cheating
By chagrinnin on 2/14/2010 3:55:06 AM , Rating: 3
unsigned int x;
float exam1;

void FinalsStart()
exam1 = 0.2f + 0.05f * x;
if(exam1 >= 0.50f)
MessageBox(0, L"LOLZ THAT SUX", L"GG", 0);

void SemesterStart()
x = 0;

void StudentBusted()

fixed/copied :P

RE: What cheating
By farbdogg on 2/19/2010 3:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
/* Written by farbdogg */

unsigned int x;
float exam1;

void FinalsStart()
exam1 = 0.2f + 0.05f * x;
if(exam1 >= 0.50f)
MessageBox(0, L"LOLZ THAT SUX", L"GG", 0);

void SemesterStart()
x = 0;

void StudentBusted()

/* Fixed but not copied ;) */

RE: What cheating
By shapps000 on 2/12/2010 2:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
What you say may be common in industry when faced with schedule pressures, but in an academic environment, cheating cannot be tolerated. Of course if you cheat, then he material meant to be learned likely doesn't 'stick'.

Even in industry, habitual code borrowing/stealing can lead to lazy designs that are hardly innovative, maybe even buggy, therefore the company ultimately suffers.

RE: What cheating
By freeagle on 2/12/2010 5:25:15 PM , Rating: 2
lazy is the issue here, but on both sides, students and teachers. Teachers are lazy to come up with new and inovative assignments, so they use the same each year/semester. Computer science students need to be lazy. After all, it's their job to allow us all be even lazier by creating programs that do a lot of work for us. So, being lazy, they copy the work of someone else. You know, why reinvent the wheel?

RE: What cheating
By Lerianis on 2/16/2010 12:36:25 AM , Rating: 2
DING! DING! DING! Hit the nail on the head. With all due respect, how many ways are there to write a program to do one thing, without adding unnecessary complexity? Answer: NOT MANY!

RE: What cheating
By ChrisHF on 2/12/2010 2:28:38 PM , Rating: 2
Programmers need to focus on what can be put together quickly to meet the requirements, not so much on what. Most of the what already exists out there in many cases.


RE: What cheating
By PandaBear on 2/12/2010 2:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
What he meant was programmers should copy as much code as they can.

RE: What cheating
By Lifted on 2/12/2010 3:16:27 PM , Rating: 2

RE: What cheating
By lightfoot on 2/12/2010 4:48:29 PM , Rating: 5
It's called code-reuse. And in instances such as this: clip-board inheritance.

RE: What cheating
By overzealot on 2/12/2010 6:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
It's called code-reuse. And in instances such as this: clip-board inheritance.


RE: What cheating
By jconan on 2/12/2010 10:33:18 PM , Rating: 1
hence, is that why open source is promoted so that lazy programmers can copy??

RE: What cheating
By wushuktl on 2/12/2010 2:53:40 PM , Rating: 3
true to a point. but as a student, however, borrowing code is useless if you do not know what your code does and why it works. if you can't understand an intro to cs class's assignments then how can you ever make anything useful?

RE: What cheating
By Fritzr on 2/12/2010 5:05:48 PM , Rating: 4
In college the goal is not a working application to meet the deadline. The goal is to learn how to code that working application.

In a community college assignment we were given a project that included a prewritten module we were given. I missed the day they explained what, why & how it worked. In order to complete that assignment with code I could maintain, I replaced the prebuilt code with new code that I could maintain. The resulting action was identical, the method was entirely different. No extra credit, but it was noticed :P

In a job situation I probably would have been expected to use the blackbox code, but without documentation it would have been a major headache for future maintenance programmers.

I did run into just this situation about a year later on the job. I had to write a program that connected a VAX to CNC machines. The previous version had been written for an IBM PCjr. The program was written in undocumented 8086 assembly with DOS calls. Without something to translate those numeric calls into English there was no way of finding out how that program worked. Of course cut&paste for reuse on other MS-DOS machines would have been no problem, unfortunately for that solution VAXes do not use MS-DOS.

Teach the students cut&paste then hand them a poorly documented program written in nonportable form and as their next assignment port it to a different language on a different OS using a different machine language ... then watch the fun :D

RE: What cheating
By nafhan on 2/12/2010 3:22:54 PM , Rating: 3
There's a difference between "programming" in a corprate environment and learning computer science. These are students being taught computer science, not programmers attempting to hack together code for a web app in the least amount of time. As such, they need to be doing the work themselves and learning.
Anyway, if they were trying to mimic a corporate environment, they would need to at least be searching google for examples to copy and paste :)

RE: What cheating
By Nik00117 on 2/12/2010 4:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
Your 100% correct, and at first I thought this was stupid then I went well shot you gotta do it at least once the hard way so it sticks.

In student environment copying code is not good

IN corp environment, have fun!

RE: What cheating
By dragonbif on 2/12/2010 3:36:08 PM , Rating: 2
This is why most of our tech jobs are going to India. Our students are getting out of school only knowing how to copy code from India ;)

I would not call someone who can tweak or mimic existing code a "great programmer" but someone who is good at a monkey see monkey do job. How long are we going to be stuck on old code because our programers only know how to copy code that is 10 years old? If they do not learn how to do it themselves then they will not be able to make something new.

They are in school and should be learning to do code themselves and not learning to copy and paste. If you cant do the work then become a PE teacher.

RE: What cheating
By lightfoot on 2/12/2010 4:50:46 PM , Rating: 5
In India (and China) it is not called "cheating." It is called "reverse engineering."

RE: What cheating
By Fritzr on 2/12/2010 5:21:54 PM , Rating: 1
Reverse engineering is much more than code reuse. properly done you document the algorithm and write new code that implements it more efficiently :D

The original takes care of the design saving a great deal of time. The new code beats them in performance :P

RE: What cheating
By Camikazi on 2/13/2010 10:04:07 AM , Rating: 3
You've never used one of those Chinese reverse-engineered copy cat items have you? Beat the original in performance it does not :P

RE: What cheating
By crystal clear on 2/13/2010 7:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
Rather "clones" or "look alikes"....

RE: What cheating
By rs1 on 2/12/2010 4:09:23 PM , Rating: 5
The art of becoming a great programmer is being able to tweak and format that borrowed code and remembering them.

I'm sorry but that I must disagree with. The art of becoming a great programmer is gaining a sufficient understanding of the fundamental constructs of programming languages and of higher-level architectural concepts so that one is able to design and implement effective solutions to any reasonable problem using any programming language and runtime environment. If all the great programmers are just tweaking and formatting borrowed code, then who provided the code that they borrowed in the first place?

That said, part of what you say has validity in both the corporate and academic context. I spent several semesters as a TA in the CS program at New Mexico Tech, and I can say that in some cases, there is nothing wrong with borrowed code. For instance, if a student wanted to borrow code from getopts to help them parse command line arguments in their program, then that is absolutely acceptable. Unless, of course, the assignment itself was to write a program that parses command line arguments.

It really depends upon what is being "borrowed", and how it is used in the context of the assignment. If it's just some utility function or code that helps the student minimize overhead and get to the real core of the assignment more effectively, then good for them. But if it's code that does the core of the assignment for them, then you can bet they're going to be penalized for it. The point of most programming assignments is to teach students the underlying concept behind whatever it is that they're implementing, and as long as their work demonstrates an understanding of the concept, then they're going to be in good shape. But of course, it's kind of hard to make the case that you understand how binary search works if all you've done is copy/pasted someone else's implementation of a binary search algorithm.

Lastly, I'll just say that catching students who share code with each other is extremely easy. It may not seem like it to anyone who is new to CS, but your code is like a fingerprint. There is enough room for individual interpretation when it comes to formatting, variable names, comment style, code structure, and so on that no two developers code exactly alike. Most of the time, there aren't even two students in a class whose styles are even vaguely similar. As such, any code sharing between students tends to really stand out. It also seems to be an issue that primarily affects newer students. I caught a handful of questionable submissions in my freshman class, just one in my junior-level class (though it was a pretty significant one), and none in my senior-level class. Or maybe the seniors have just learned how to do it and not get caught.

RE: What cheating
By MozeeToby on 2/12/2010 4:35:03 PM , Rating: 3
The problem is that it's still a breach of ethics. As part of the class you agreed to do your own work, if you then steal someone elses work that's a problem regardless of what it's like in the 'real world'.

Besides, the equivilent in the real world isn't going onto the company share drive and finding a similar project, it's going onto the internet and looking at GPL'd projects to pull code out of. It's against company policy, it's misrepresenting your work, and it's going to get you (and your company) in trouble sooner or later.

RE: What cheating
By IvanAndreevich on 2/12/2010 5:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
That's very good, and all. Obviously it's better to use the provided libraries and existing code instead of writing your own if that option exists. However, we need highly skilled software developers who are capable of writing those libraries and complicated algorithms in the first place. Learning that requires more than just copying others' code :)

RE: What cheating
By Lerianis on 2/16/2010 12:38:45 AM , Rating: 2
Um..... no. More and more, things are being written with automated tools, so you DON'T have to know how to write those libraries.

RE: What cheating
By OCedHrt on 2/13/2010 11:35:51 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but computer science does not a programmer make.

RE: What cheating
By jvillaro on 2/13/2010 4:20:18 PM , Rating: 1
Nope, but it make a educated one :)

RE: What cheating
By omnicronx on 2/13/2010 5:14:57 PM , Rating: 2
While I 100% agree with you in theory, what this article is discussing is a big problem. What happens is only a handful of people in the class actually do the work, and then hand it off to everyone else. You can't get to the point of where you are talking about if you can't program because you never did the work yourself.

Most of the people who did this in my class are now in another line of work. I'd rather get B's and C's and learn something then get A's and learn nothing.

Comp Sci Professors better at catching cheats?
By lightfoot on 2/12/2010 2:38:07 PM , Rating: 5
From the basis of this article I think the wrong conclusion was drawn. It seems just as likely that the professors in the Computer Science department are simply better at catching cheating than are their colleagues in other departments. It is a well documented fact that software is one of the best tools for detecting plagiarism in any document, it is simply much more likely that a Computer Science professor would utilize such technology.

By Low Key on 2/12/2010 2:56:16 PM , Rating: 4
That is true and it would also be good to remember that plagiarism is really easy to see in programs when compared to math or chemistry problems. It is as easy to catch in programs as it is in english essays.

RE: Comp Sci Professors better at catching cheats?
By Parhel on 2/12/2010 4:08:07 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt it. You definitely make a good point, and if I based my opinion only on what I read, I guess either premise explains the results equally well.

But, having spent four years in college taking programming courses, I think the original explanation is the correct one.

In my experience, it's common for students to share copies of their source code with each other. It starts with an attempt to show someone how the program works, but it ends with someone changing variable names, reordering a few things, and submitting it as original work.

I remember a particularly difficult assignment in our data structures class, which used C. Only one student actually got it to work. Out of pure stubborness, I refused to look at his code, and I'm not ashamed to say I failed that lab. But the entire rest of the class (over 20 people) submitted variations of that one student's lab and passed, and the teacher didn't even notice.

I don't fault the other students for doing that, but I do think I learned more than they did despite my failing grade. And I don't think this is because CS students are a bad lot . . . I just don't see how that type of cheating would even be possible for students in most other disciplines.

By lightfoot on 2/12/2010 4:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
In many other disciplines, such collaboration wouldn't even be considered cheating.

From my experience such cheating occurs at least as often in math and science courses, but because the work is hand written it is more difficult to identify plagiarized work. The teachers also are often more supportive of "group study."

Not ALL CS students -- some much more likely!
By suzanne123 on 2/12/2010 9:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
Based on my experiences as a CS student, and now lecturer at a university, I advise this author to look a the ethnic make up of CS cheaters... I think they will find that they are predominantly from ONE ethnic group well-known for their copying culture and disproportionally represented in CS.

RE: Not ALL CS students -- some much more likely!
By acase on 2/13/2010 11:05:30 AM , Rating: 2
Assuming you are attempting to be racist against black people...this was at Stanford. Not that black people don't go to Stanford, but the stereotypical cheating ones you are referring to from highschool probably do not.

By suzanne123 on 2/13/2010 12:59:02 PM , Rating: 2
Huh??? I am talking about Chinese international students. There are far many more of them in CS relative to other disciplines and I believe the author should more thoroughly examine their conclusions. By observing these violations at dept level, she is missing what may be a better indicator of cheating -- demographic variables like gender, ethnicity and country of origin.

Your remark is racist. I don't know blacks to have any culture of copying; however, it's quite prevalent in China.

By jvillaro on 2/13/2010 4:25:49 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry but your posts were a little bit racist too.

By Omega215D on 2/14/2010 1:06:52 AM , Rating: 3
don't know what school you teach in but here in NYC all the CS classes I've been in it's mostly the asian/ chinese students doing the work and a mix of people ranging from black, hispanic, white along with other asians. What does that say? Nothing, it's just another stupid statistic like yours.

Everyone gender and ethnic background copies/ cheats.

Errr and this is a surprise to who??
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Errr and this is a surprise to who??
By Fritzr on 2/12/2010 5:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
Slight correction that you as a CS grad should have already learned. The term is cracker. Hacker is simply someone who enjoys creating new projects, usually with new custom coding. Most hackers do not get involved in the darkside unless they are investigating interesting techniques.

Having written a symbolic assembler for unexpanded VIC20, I would be classified as a hacker by many. But I have never been interested in cracking.

The confusion came many years ago when someone told a reporter that the perp was a "hacker". He meant it in the original meaning of "creator of interesting things". The reporter assigned it the new meaning of "someone who uses computers to commit crimes". Even though cracker is the more correct, that original misunderstanding lives on.

RE: Errr and this is a surprise to who??
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 2/12/2010 5:40:24 PM , Rating: 4
I'm not a CS grad... so did not know. However, thanks for the information, it good to know and learn.

Here I thought I was a cracker as I always hear... "HEY, look at that cracker walking over there" and people would be pointing at me. I'm glad to know I'm not the cracker they think I am... they never seem happy with a cracker walking down their street.

By Spookster on 2/15/2010 10:21:26 AM , Rating: 1
There's probably a Chris Rock joke in there somewhere.

A subject, does anyone read these post titles?
By smartalco on 2/12/10, Rating: 0
By lotharamious on 2/12/2010 3:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
If the threat against cheating was just that the final was weighted higher, I'd cheat until my final was worth 100%, then ace the final, like I have every other. Their system is just stupid.

Then I would say that you're the exception, not the rule. I don't know about you, I had a pretty easy time with my programming classes in college too, but I also had other non-core course exams that I needed to study for during finals week too. I'd feel better knowing that less of my grade was dependent on a stupid two-hour exam rather than having the whole of it depending on the final.

A lot of people aren't good test takers. I know especially that many students cannot write even decent code during an exam, let alone during an assignment, so this really could be a significant hurdle for some. Despite this, I have to agree with you. Punishing the whole class body only makes students frustrated with the instructor and grader(s). Taking off a full letter grade seems much more adequate in my opinion.

By PhatoseAlpha on 2/12/2010 5:59:18 PM , Rating: 3
I think you're making an unwarranted inference.

The final weight goes up for 5% for the entire class for every ethics violation. I would assume you instantly fail for plagiarism.

Thus, cheating not only gets you a failure, but devalues the work of the entire rest of the class. Collective enforcement by way of ensuring cheaters piss off everybody, not just the professor.

Shocked... or should I
By ChipDude on 2/12/2010 5:19:06 PM , Rating: 5
Did I miss something, cheating when detected didn't result in immediate earning an F?

Oh, I forgot this is a premier university with the best and brightest who pay in excess of 50,000 bucks a year and got moms and dads that are likely future or current big $ contributors.

The school I went to if caught cheating you got an F or worst got kicked out.

I guess it pays to be rich and get into privledged schools

this study might be misleading
By nascar246788 on 2/12/2010 5:50:53 PM , Rating: 4
So I am currently a Senior in the computer science program at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

My first curiosity is like many of you, the breakdown of the stats. I do think and strongly believe the cheating in computer science if done is in the introduction classes and by non comp sci majors. For example, all our engineers have to take Intro 1. Why I don't understand, but they do. They don't need to know any of this. So it is too easy for them to do the following. Start the day before its due or even the day its due, and realize they are not going to finish and then copy a friend's code. At Baylor we have till midnight to turn it in. The computer science students, at least the ones that are serious about graduating with the degree are all smart enough to know, if you don't know the basics, YOU WILL DROPOUT. There is no cheating your way to a computer science degree. The computer science majors that cheat never make it through our degree. Also if you cheat you automatically fail the class.

Second thing, I will have to say this, computer science programs is the easiest thing to catch cheating on. Reason for this is the following. To solve a problem in a program, there are so many variations and methods to solve this. For example, in my networking class our last program. Not one person that I have talked to solved the problem the same way or used the same algorithm. Everyone always finds a way to solve it differently because we all think different. Lets take math for example. There is one right answer and only one right answer, so how can you catch cheating. If some teacher finds a way then I applaud him.

I just think this study could be invalid because how are you going to know you caught all plagiarism done in other areas and the mere fact is the cheating probably occurs mostly in our freshman intro classes which are taken by other majors and not just computer science majors. Heck I have seen some business majors taking our intro 1 course. One of our business programs require you to take it. IF you check higher level classes I guarantee you cheating occurs very rarely because we are smart enough to know that we will get caught easily and that there is no one way to solve it and usually a friend's way to solve it will be confusing as hell. How do you comment something that is confusing to you.

By carniver on 2/12/2010 2:20:57 PM , Rating: 1
Doesn't necessarily mean their comp-sci students are worse in morals

By tygrus on 2/14/2010 10:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
It may be slightly easier to cheat but much easier to detect compared to cheating in other subjects.

Several occasions I used another students work to understand the task or find programming language concepts. I then continued with my attempt in my own way without a full dumb copy&paste.

There have been times when the lecture has given vital information in lecture, tut or when asked. If you didn't attend class you never found out. Being known by the lecturer as a good student also helped at exam time when the lecture gave conditional pass instead of fail or accepted an answer written at home after exam to finish it off.
One lecturer who got drinking between exams excused the students (for medical reasons) who were able to sit the exam another day (when more sober).

Open Source
By icanhascpu on 2/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Open Source
By Darkefire on 2/12/2010 4:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
There's a big difference between incorporating pieces of another person's code and copying the whole thing outright. A decent professor would run the detection software and then investigate each red flag; most of the time he'd come to the same conclusion you would if only a couple chunks were similar. They're looking for the people who couldn't code to save their lives, who basically copy-pasted what somebody else did on the assignment, changed the variable names, reorganized some sections and turned it in. The article fails to specify at what level these violations were taking place, I'd wager most of them are in basic intro courses full of people needing a computer course to graduate. I remember an intro C++ course I took as a freshman (and aced without really trying), the poor fellow who sat next to me was taking it for the third time in an attempt to finally get his diploma.

By eddieroolz on 2/12/2010 3:42:02 PM , Rating: 2
My university (Simon Fraser) now has a FD grade (failed with dishonesty) just for cheaters. Now that's some penalty!

Back when I was an undergraduate...
By bupkus on 2/12/2010 5:01:22 PM , Rating: 2
at ASU I recall seeing teams of foreign students from either India or Pakistan huddled around a single pc in a computer lab. There I was, working alone, trying to figure out the assignment wishing I could benefit from a group effort myself.
They were mostly grad student but I couldn't tell if they were helping each other with concepts or writing communal code.
I didn't mind classmates coming up to me and showing me their code and asking why it failed to compile, but I sure felt jealous not having a group bound by a common identity to share the burdens with.
I couldn't say if they were cheating or just helping each other to LEARN. Different cultures are more cooperative and less competitive in their efforts. When in the workplace cooperative effort with writing code is a real plus. No?

Code Reuse
By hiscross on 2/12/2010 9:32:25 PM , Rating: 2
2007 - 8 I will get us out of Iraq.

2010 - Iraq was our greatest achievement

Code Reuse gone bad

Do Code Sluts still exist?
By bigdawg1988 on 2/13/2010 1:04:37 AM , Rating: 2
I remember college in the 80's (yeah I'm that old) when the majority of the programmers didn't know what they were doing and just copied code from the ones who did. The most hilarious were the code sluts (girls who flirted with the real programmers to get them to do all of their assignments.)
Of course they didn't give IT up. The poor guys were so happy to have a hot (or even NOT hot) girl talk to them they didn't even figure it out and at least get something out of the deal. I wasn't a programming major, but the cheating was obvious. Especially at finals when final labs had to be turned in. There would be people begging to copy other people's assignments. I wonder how many of those guys really knew what they were doing and graduated anyway. It's no wonder there were so many bugs in programs. I wonder how many of those people got jobs after graduation, and how long it took to finally fire them? Of course the code sluts probably never got fired as they could just coerce their coworkers to do their jobs for them.

It seems that it would be easier to copy code than it would to copy a term paper since you can change variable names, comments, etc. fairly easy without messing up the code. And there are programs to spot duplicate term papers also. I think that would explain why it's easier to cheat in programming which is why there are more people doing it.

Please tell me the code sluts no longer exist.

Realistic Expectations
By Trisped on 2/13/2010 11:12:51 AM , Rating: 2
If you can't figure out how easy it would be to write a program to detect cheating then you are not skilled enough to be a programmer.

I guess that was one of the advantages of going to a smaller school, I don't remember anyone getting busted for cheating since only the people who wanted to be a programmer (or math major) took the class.

By rika13 on 2/13/2010 12:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
Any half decent ethics class would teach that it is highly immoral to punish an entire group for the actions of one.

Basic Combat Training does it because thats how war is, one guy screws up and the entire team gets filled with holes.

However, in an academic setting, there is no legitimate reason to punish many for the actions of one; its akin to nuking a city because someone knocked over a liquor store.

By Targon on 2/13/2010 2:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
Back in my college days, one thing that was a given was that there were "standard" ways to do certain tasks. Things like a quicksort were considered common code, and as such, you could implement it exactly as provided. There are other things that are considered "common", such as the code to add an entry to a linked list, which only needed to be modified to suit the needs of the application.

With this sort of common code, there may very well be a LOT of similarities between submitted code from different people. This may have changed in the past 15+ years, but that is the danger of automatically flagging something as being a quick copy.

There is one basic concept, and that is that re-inventing the wheel is a waste of time, yet, the idea that students need to be able to come up with their own solutions to problems is really the key to what an instructor should try to push. From that point of view, the only way to keep students from cheating is to come up with new projects for students to work on, and where the only way for students to complete an assignment would be to come up with original code, or at least, figure out how to take existing code and use it to solve new problems.

By crystal clear on 2/13/2010 8:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
Patent infringement & copying is the same just different terminology.

When leading software companies blatantly abuse patents, that sets an example or precedent for students also to do the same- if they can so can I...why not .

Even though it is wrong !

A whole generation of students grew up using pirated versions of software from an O.S. to just anything needed.

Bad habits dont die easily...they the students continue to do so in university & after.

Israeli companies regularly find their R&D being used without permission ofcourse/license/agreement,by many a leading software companies.

Few examples-

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Israeli technology group Emblaze (EBLZ.L) accused Microsoft (MSFT.O) of infringing its U.S. patent for media streaming technology, having also accused Apple (AAPL.O), and offered to license the technology to both.

Emblaze, whose companies include Magic Software (MGIC.TA) (MGIC.O) and Matrix IT (MTRX.O), said on Wednesday Microsoft's IIS Smooth Streaming system and Apple's HTTP Live Streaming Application used its technology.

It said it had notified Microsoft, which had until March 15 to reply, and had previously served a similar notice to Apple.

"While we are happy to license our technology to third parties, we will vigorously defend our rights and our competitive position," Emblaze Chairman Naftali Shani said.

Microsoft uses Smooth Streaming to deliver multimedia, graphics and animation, including high-definition video via its Silverlight software.

Microsoft declined to comment on the matter, while Apple had no immediate comment.

Apple uses HTTP Live Streaming in its iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, as well as its OS X Snow Leopard operating system, Emblaze said in a statement.

Netex scores million-dollar internet patent

Giants such as Google, Yahoo will have to pay royalties to company owned by 28-year old Israeli in order to use its internet search option,7340,L-3773202,...

By KonradK on 2/14/2010 7:16:09 PM , Rating: 2
Using a calculator is OK, but not before understanding of adding, substracting, multiplication etc. And not instead.

Misleading statistics?
By jeff4321 on 2/14/2010 9:57:05 PM , Rating: 2
Because the C.S. program automates plagiarism detection, does it just mean that cheaters are getting caught more often rather than there being more cheaters in the C.S. program relative to the other departments?

Wrong Title And Conclusion
By mindless1 on 2/14/2010 10:52:56 PM , Rating: 2
What the article /should/ have been about is that their CS dept has automateds methods to check for cheating and this results in higher detection rates than manual methods in other courses of study.

Any other conclusion crossing different disciplines of study would be a gross error and a shameful thing for a university group to pretend they have demonstrated. WTF are they (failing to) teach kids these days?

I 'borrow' code..
By greywood on 2/15/2010 11:38:41 AM , Rating: 2
Having been a working programmer for over 40 years, I borrow code all the time - shamelessly. I do it for two reasons: (1) because I need to meet development deadlines and (2) why expend the time and effort to re-invent a perfectly good "wheel".

But, I also have to make quite sure that the borrowed code works right and integrates well with my own, and that the results produced are correct. Because, if I don't deliver correct code then I haven't "delivered" at all.

By luckyreygabriel on 2/16/2010 4:04:48 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a new student at UIC and i'm taking a course called IT.
Which also has programming..

Regarding the case at stanford, the problem would only exist if the professors aren't that strict enough with their students..anytime, a student can copy a code, especially in lab exercises.

More importantly, programming is easy when you are paying attention, students that are too lazy to listen even for just 1 session could critically loosen their understanding about programming...everything's connected.

I'm a freshmen yet i try to understand programming beyond my limits.
It's very frustrating when you don't pay attention at ALL!

umm....just passin by...

got curious about the issue..hehehe..

oh by the way,

i thought stanford has high standards!

i expected too much!

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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