Programming and Computer Science in Java:
General Statement on Ethics in Computer Courses
    David Kosbie, 2002-2003
Link to the course home page.

All students must read, understand, and always adhere to the following statements.

1.  The School District and School Rules
All students are required to read, understand, and always adhere to all pertinent school district and school rules regarding use of computers and related technology.  Ignorance of the rules is not an excuse for not adhering to them.  The following statements apply in addition to those rules.

2.  A Culture of Inclusive Computing
Computing now plays an important role in virtually every profession.  Artists, musicians, athletes, historians, authors, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and even computer scientists regard computers as an essential tool.  Computing is increasingly involved in all aspects of our lives.  Every new movie, every new song, every new book, every new car, every new anything it seems:  all were created at least in part with computers.  And now we are in the age of the web, MP3's, and instant messaging:  computing has arrived.  It is now part of our social fabric.  Yet the culture of computing in education is still light years behind the reality of computing in life.  Computing, in one way or another, is for everyone.  Every student, every faculty member, every administrator, every participant in our school's community:  all are invited and encouraged to be part of, to contribute to, and to benefit from our culture of computing.  Students in computer science courses play a special role in promoting the inclusiveness of computing.  When you see a fellow student or perhaps a teacher who has a computing problem, offer your help.  When you see an opportunity to include computing as a constructive tool for a class, a club, a team, or any other organization or activity, speak up.  Better yet, make it happen.  Not only will you receive class credit for your actions, but you will help move computing beyond the classroom and into the fabric of our community.  Where it belongs.

3. A Balanced Perspective on Computing and Life
The world of computing can be very alluring in the variety and complexity of interesting problems, conundrums, and recreations it offers.  Indeed, many computer scientists and professionals retain an unbridled enthusiasm for the subject, even after decades in the field.  Students also often share this enthusiasm, which of course is a very positive result.  However, this can be taken to inappropriate excess.  It is not acceptable for computing to overly dominate one's intellectual or social life.  Our school promotes interest and excellence in all areas, including computing.  But this also includes athletics, music, arts, sciences, humanities, community service, and socialization and recreation.  Students are expected to maintain a balanced perspective on computing and to promote and engage in a tapestry of diverse activities.

4.  Academic Honesty and Good Citizenship
In addition to the terms prescribed by the school district and this school, students must adhere to the following rules regarding academic honesty and good citizenship in computer science courses:

4.1.  Plagiarism
0.  The most important point:  Citation.  State clearly what is yours and what is not.  If you receive any help whatsoever from another person, you must state who helped and how, with no exceptions.  See point 5 below for more detail.
1.  On quizzes, exams, and where otherwise explicitly noted:  students must work entirely on their own, and may not work in any way with other students nor discuss any related matters with other students until after the quiz, exam, or assignment is completed by all students in the class.
2.  Except on quizzes, exams, and where otherwise explicitly noted, students in computing courses are generally expected to work together on homework, and indeed are graded in part on their ability to contribute in a team environment.  This is pedagogically motivated, as most real-world computing applications are themselves in a team environment.
3. However:  working together does not mean copying, which is definitely forbidden under all circumstances.
4.  Except on team projects, students also may not directly provide an answer to another student.  Students are encouraged to provide general guidance to each other, and may even work through related problems.  But they may not spell out detailed solutions to assigned problems.
5.  The most important point:  Citation.  In all cases, with no exceptions, students must clearly state when they received assistance, including assistance from other students, making very clear the nature of the assistance and, most important, precisely what is their own original work.  Again, doing so is expected and will not jeapordize the student's grade.  Failure to properly cite any assistance, however, is a very serious offense and will result in serious disciplinary consequences.
6. Examples:
6a.  You have a bug in your program.  What to do?  First, debug it yourself.  If after some time that fails, then it is acceptable to ask another student to help you debug it.  But:  when you find and fix the bug, you absolutely must put a comment in your code indicating who helped you, how long they helped, and the nature of the help, including finding the offending bug.
6b.  You have tried repeatedly but without success to write a working program.  Finally, in frustration, you study a friend's working version, though you do not directly copy it.  This is unacceptable (it violates rule 4 above, regarding general guidance versus direct answers), and will result in disciplinary action.

4.2.  Improper Duplication of Computer Software and Media
1.  Do not illegally copy software.  This is a serious offense and will not be tolerated.
2.  To the extent practicable, we will try to use free software, thus minimizing this issue.  But you must not assume software is free to copy unless you are explicitly told so.

4.3.  Improper Use of Computing Facilities
1.  Do not abuse the computing facilities.  This is a very serious offense and will not be tolerated.
2.  If you inadvertently visit an inappropriate site, immediately leave the site and do not ever return to it.  If you knowingly visit an inappropriate site, even briefly, you will face serious disciplinary consequences.
3.  Regarding games:  we will on occasion include games in our computing curriculum.  This is pedagogically motivated, as games provide a crucial learning platform for certain computing concepts, and they also represent a major form of social computing worthy of study.  However, this does not exempt you whatsoever from the general rule restricting game-playing on campus.  Games cannot be played, per se, but rather studied, and then only subject to the strictly-enforced rules that:  they are explicitly assigned material, they are limited to the computer lab (no exceptions), they are quiet and not distracting to other students, and they do not consume excessive computing resources nor excessive time.

Link to the course home page.