CSE 347 Policy on Collaboration and Academic Integrity

This document outlines the course policy on academic integrity and collaboration on homeworks. You must read and understand this document at the beginning of the course. Submitting your homework through Blackboard indicates that you have read and agreed to comply with the policy. If you are uncertain as to how to comply with this policy, please ask an instructor.

Written Solutions Must be the Student's Own Words

You are permitted, and indeed encouraged, to discuss ideas, approaches, and so forth with other students, up to and including working out a solution together. You may also use outside sources, including books, websites, and other literature to arrive at a solution. However, the solutions that you submit must be your own, original words. You may not copy verbatim nor paraphrase text from another student or source.

We strongly recommend taking the following measures to avoid unintentionally violating this policy.

Please note that we will run all submitted solutions through an automated process that checks for substantial similarity to other students' work and to published sources. This process has in the past caught violations of our policy.

Assistance Must Be Acknowledged

Each time you turn in a homework, you are required to list any sources of assistance you received in solving the problems. Please specify where you got help and what kind of help you received. For collaborations with other students, please list their names. For written sources, please provide a full reference -- author, title, publication date, URL, and so forth.

You may acknowledge assistance in your homework solutions themselves and/or use the comment field associated with the Blackboard turn-in page for each homework problem to record this information.

You need not acknowledge help received from the instructor or teaching assistants, or from the current semester's course materials or the textbook.


In cases where a student is found to have violated the course collaboration policy by submitting a solution with substantially the same text as another student's submission or some other source, the minimal penalty is loss of all credit for that solution (only). The penalty for impermissibly similar text applies even if the collaboration or source is acknowledged, and even if it occurred without conscious intent to deceive. If the source or collaborator is not acknowledged as part of the submission, more serious penalties will apply.

Depending on the severity of the violation, penalties may include partial or complete loss of credit for assignments, failure of the course, or such other disciplinary actions as are warranted and allowed by Washington University. Per CSE Department policy, incidents of known or suspected cheating will be reported to the School of Engineering (for undergrads and MS students) or the Graduate School (for PhD students) and may affect your ability to graduate.

The Spirit of the Policy

The goal of this policy is to promote collaboration and self-directed learning as part of the homework process, while still ensuring that the final product is reflective of each person's understanding. We've set some bright-line rules to promote this goal, but please consider more generally whether your homework practices are consistent with it.

If you are making progress on a problem, please don't just tell other students how to solve it or point them to a worked-out solution. Instead, try to communicate the principles by which they can move toward discovering their own solutions. If you ever feel uncomfortable discussing the homework, or you don't see how to help someone without simply giving away answers, please refer them to the instructors or other course staff rather than trying to sort things out on your own.

Keep in mind that your performance on exams, which are not collaborative, constitutes more than half your course grade, so it ultimately does you no good to let other people or sources "steal your struggle" by solving problems for you without developing your own skills. Conversely, you're not doing your fellow students a favor by handing them a solution. Collaboration should feel like a partnership -- even if one person has the first insight more often than another, everyone should contribute and should obtain lasting benefit from the experience.