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Policies for Current Students

The following policies and procedures apply to current computer science students:

This document incorporates by reference the University's "Code of Academic Conduct (Academic Honesty Policy)" as given in the Student Handbook and the University's " Information Technology Policy".

Academic Honesty in Computer Science

Computer Science students are expected to adhere to the University's Academic Honesty Policy and Acceptable Use Policy for Information Technologies. Beyond this, individual Computer Science instructors may establish specific rules governing academic honesty for their own courses and assignments. These rules can be more restrictive than policies set at the university level or at the departmental level. In the total absence of any specific rule or guidance from the instructor, the following departmental rule will apply by default:

It is acceptable for students to discuss the meaning of assignments, and the general approaches and strategies for handling those assignments. Any cooperation beyond that point is forbidden. It is the student's responsibility to ascertain from the instructor whether an activity will be considered honest or dishonest.

Instructors may define situations where this default rule does not apply, where students are encouraged or required to work and to learn in partnership with others, and even to incorporate the work of others, with proper acknowledgement.

A Computer Science instructor may suspect a student of academic dishonesty when ...

  • a student is unable to describe in detail the specific steps and techniques used to generate a solution to an assigned problem,
  • a student, who is required to collaborate with others, fails to shoulder an equitable portion of the burden of completing the collaborative assignment ... but ... still accepts credit for the work
  • a student submits as their own, work that is sufficiently similar to work submitted by a present or past student, or sufficiently similar to material available in a book or on the Internet.

    For programming assignments, if we say program (or subprogram) A is "sufficiently similar" to program (or subprogram) B, we mean that A can be converted into B by applying a series of simple mechanical transformations that do not change the behavior of the underlying algorithm. This definition should be understood as explicitly allowing the use of software similarity metrics to substantiate accusations of plagiarism.

Computer Science instructors want to distinguish between cases of outright dishonesty and cases of inadvertent failure. If your work has raised suspicion, please talk with your instructor and bring with you "snapshots" of your in-process work (earlier drafts of papers, earlier versions of programs).

Examples of Academic Honesty and Dishonesty in Computer Science

Disclaimer: These examples are necessarily sketchy and do not cover all the circumstances that may arise.

You are probably acting honestly if you ...

  • submit work done alone or with the advice and assistance of the instructor or the instructor's assistants
  • receive help on the use of a feature of the operating system, editor, compiler, or debugger
  • have permission to collaborate with other students on a project, carry your fair share of the workload and, when done, credit all collaborators for their contributions to the final work product
  • share knowledge with other students about syntax errors, editor short-cuts, coding tricks, or other language-specific information that makes programming easier
  • engage, with other students, in a general discussion of the nature of an assignment, the requirements for an assignment, or general strategies that could be used in completing the assignment

    Such "high-level" discussions become suspect as soon as any notes are taken that can be directly incorporated into an assignment.

  • submit an assignment to the professor for grading and, afterward, compare your solution to the solution of others who have also submitted their assignment for grading
  • copy and use code written by someone else while giving full credit to the original source and obeying the terms of the originator's copyright, copyleft or license (if any)

Unless specifically allowed or required by the instructor, you are probably acting dishonestly if you ...

  • submit an assignment that contains work originally done by persons other than yourself, without giving specific credit to these other sources
  • use fragments of source code from outside sources (including books, lecture notes, or Internet resources) without giving specific credit to the outside source
  • knowingly permit another person to submit portions of your work as his or her own work, without giving you credit
  • transform borrowed code or other material in order to disguise its true origin
  • fabricate compilation or execution results, representing a program that did not compile properly as one that did, or one that did not execute properly as one that did
  • collaborate with other persons on an assignment or project
  • steal or otherwise obtain solution manuals, examinations, answer keys, or program samples from the instructors' files or computer directories
  • refer to materials not available to all other students during an examination or during a laboratory exercise
  • communicate with another person during an examination or laboratory exercise
  • make the solutions for last semester's assignments available to next semester's students

Please be clear about this: Modifying or adapting material taken from an original source does not excuse you from the duty of crediting the source, nor is it likely to excuse you from the terms of any copyright, copyleft or license asserted by the originator.

Students will not be accused of plagiarism if they have made a good-faith effort to give full and complete credit where credit was due. However, even with proper credit, if a student was required to complete an assignment without external help or resources, then the instructor may nevertheless treat the work as tainted and assign a lower grade.

Rights and Procedures

You have rights, including the right to appeal any adverse decision made under this policy. This department follows the procedures given in the Condensed Procedures for Cases of Academic Dishonesty.

The Department of Computer Science accepts exam scores from the Advanced Placement (AP) program administered by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). These exams are given in high schools and are scored by the CEEB. CEEB offers two computer science exams: the A test and the AB test.

AB test

A student who scores a 4 or 5 on the AB test receives 3 hours of credit for CS 1010 and possible credit for CS 2020 based on exam booklet review and student conference with the department's undergraduate advisor.

A student who scores a 3 on the AB test receives 3 hours of credit for CS 1010.

A test

A student who scores a 4 or 5 on the A test receives 3 hours of credit for CS 1010.

A student who scores a 3 on the A test receives possible credit for CS 1010 based on exam booklet review and student conference with the department's undergraduate advisor.

The Student Code, as reprinted in the Student Affairs Handbook, states the following: "The student is responsible for knowing and meeting all course requirements, including tests, assignments, and class participation, as indicated by the course instructor. The instructor has no obligation to give make-up examinations or to review other class work missed by a student as a result of absence."

In general, computer science faculty members will not schedule make-up examinations and will not extend due dates for assignments except for the most serious of reasons (such as confinement in the hospital).

Undergraduate Students: Requests for class overrides (e.g. entry into full classes or waiving a prerequisite) are handled by the department, not by the instructor of the class.

If a student desires entry into a computer science course, s/he should contact the department in Hayes 221. If the request is approved, the student is registered for the class immediately. If the request cannot be approved immediately, the student can be put onto a waiting list.

Graduate Students: Graduate students desiring a class override should fill out the form available in the department office (Hayes 221) or online. Computer science graduate students will be accommodated if possible. Graduate students from other departments will be considered after all requests from computer science students have been processed. Graduate students from other departments will need to obtain the signature of their graduate advisor.

Students who wish to withdraw from a course should be sure to do so through the Registrar before the announced deadline. The form is available from the Registrar or from the Department of Computer Science. The student should fill out the form, obtain the instructor's signature, and then take the form to his/her college office.

Missing the deadline, or failing to withdraw officially, means that the student will receive the grade of WF. Students should be aware that the WF grade will be included in their grade point averages, even for students registered on an S/U basis.

The Department of Computer Science will try to facilitate contacts between students needing computer science tutors and students (typically CS majors) willing to serve as tutors. Tutors are compensated at a rate agreed to by the parties involved. The rate should be greater than the current minimum wage. Other information of interest can be found in the departmental tutoring guidelines.

If you need a tutor or would like to serve as a tutor, please come to the Department of Computer Science office (Hayes 221).

Employment through the University's Cooperative Education Program

In general, three hours of credit for CS 3900 or CS 5890 are awarded after completing a semester of full-time employment arranged through the University's Cooperative Education Program. Credit is awarded in a semester following the completion of the work, assuming that a favorable evaluation is received from the employer. The grade for the course is always "S". The student must fill out a form to indicate the semester in which credit is desired. The form is available online or in the Department of Computer Science office, 221 Hayes Hall. Undergraduate students may obtain up to six hours of credit for CS 3900 for employment arranged through Cooperative Education, three hours per semester for two semesters. Graduate students are limited to three hours of credit for CS 5890. Registration must be completed prior to the ADD deadline for the semester. No late adds are permitted.

Employment arranged by the student

Academic credit is given for co-ops and internships using course numbers CS 3900 for undergraduates and CS 5890 for graduate students. Academic credit is allowed for job experiences related to the development of the student as a computer scientist. After the student has completed work which s/he feels is worthy of computer science academic credit, s/he may apply to the Department of Computer Science for credit certification. Work of a highly routine or automatic nature, such as data entry or operations, is not certified for credit. Normally, the work should involve the design or implementation of some type of programming system, whether in an application area or in the area of system development.

When such work has been completed, a written report must be submitted summarizing the work done. The report must be specific as to the nature of the work. The amount of project design done by the student should be clearly indicated. An indication should be given of how many and which programming languages were used in working on the project. The amount of interaction with the operating system should also be specified. (Was it necessary to know a great deal about the operating system being used? How important was familiarity with the job control language?) Also, give some indication of the relative size of the project. In addition, the student is requested to submit listings of non-proprietary programs which were written entirely or mostly by the student. Finally, the student should submit the name and phone number of the immediate supervisor for the work performed. A letter or evaluation from the supervisor would be helpful. The student must also submit a form indicating the semester(s) in which credit is desired. The form is available online or in the Department of Computer Science office, 221 Hayes Hall.

The Undergraduate Committee of the department evaluates the material submitted by the student. They are authorized by the department to confer between 0 and 3 semester hours of credit for the work completed. The documentation which the student has submitted is studied. If further clarification is needed, both the student and the supervisor of the work may be contacted. The committee attempts to determine how significant the project was in contributing to the development of the student as a computer scientist.

In order to receive all three semester hours of credit, the project must have involved a significant amount of project design on the part of the student. Implementation of a project whose design was already complete will generally earn a maximum of two semester hours credit, regardless of the size or nature of the project.

After the deliberations of the committee, the student is notified of the number of hours of credit awarded. The department will register the student for CS 3900 or CS 5890. The course may be added to the student's class schedule for a semester, or credit may be obtained "by examination," which requires only the payment of a $50 fee. The grade given for this course is always S (satisfactory). Naturally, if the work was unsatisfactory, the student would not register for credit by examination.

This course may be repeated until a total of three semester hours of credit is received for Computer Science Practicum. At most three hours may be applied toward undergraduate degree requirements. CS 5890 credit is elective credit for graduate students and does not apply to degree requirements.

The process outlined above must be completed prior to the ADD deadline of the semester. No late adds are permitted.

The Department of Computer Science provides the opportunity for credit by examination for several undergraduate courses.

Eligibility

The University regulations regarding credit by examination are as follows:

  • The student must be currently enrolled for at least two hours of credit.
  • The student must not have been previously enrolled in the course.
  • The student must present sufficient evidence of prior study or experience in the examination area.
  • The course cannot be a prerequisite for any course the student has completed.
  • The examination must be completed within four weeks of approval.
  • This option may not be repeated for a given course.
  • A fee is assessed for a credit-by-exam course. (See University policy for fee amount.)
  • Credit by Examinations are graded on an S/U basis.

Courses

Credit-by-exam is available for the following computer science courses:

  • CS 1000 (written exam)
  • CS 1010 (written exam)
  • CS 2010 (written exam)
  • CS 2020 (written exam plus a programming project)
  • CS 3600 (written exam)

Procedure

If you wish to explore the possibility of receiving credit by examination for a particular course, contact the department's Undergraduate Advisor. If the Undergraduate Advisor recommends that you proceed with the credit by examination process, obtain the appropriate request forms from Registration and Records. Once you have filled in the information requested on the forms, take them to the Department of Computer Science for the signature of the department Chair, and to the Office of the College of Arts and Sciences for the signature of the College Dean. Then go to the Office of the Bursar to pay the fee. Completed forms should then be submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Finally, contact the Undergraduate Advisor to make arrangements for taking the examination.

During Fall and Spring semesters, the last day to drop a class without the instructor's signature, add a class or change the grade option is the seventh calendar day of the term. During any Summer term the deadline is the third calendar day of that term. Because of the nature of computer science courses, the department is seldom able to accommodate requests for late adds.

In accordance with the University policy, if the student has a documented disability and requires accommodations to obtain equal access in this course, he or she should contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester and make this need known. Students with disabilities must verify their eligibility through the Office of Disability Services for Students, 413 South Hall, 419-372-8495.

In accordance with University policy, all final examinations in computer science courses are given during final exam week at the time designated by the Registrar.

Rescheduling a final exam for an individual student requires the approval of your instructor and the department's Undergraduate Advisor. If you wish to request an alternate examination time, contact the department secretary in Hayes 221 for the appropriate request form or it is available online. Your form will be processed and returned to your course instructor. Your request is automatically approved if you have three final exams scheduled in the same 24-hour period. If your request is approved, make arrangements with your course instructor for an alternate exam time. The department's Undergraduate Advisor provides course instructors with a list of alternate exam times and locations. Your alternate time will typically be after the time scheduled for the class.

Approved by CS faculty on October 26, 2010

An undergraduate student* who wishes to appeal a grade received in a computer science course must follow the College of Arts and Sciences grade dispute policy.

Should mediation be unsuccessful (step 2 of college policy) the student may appeal to the Computer Science departmental appeals committee.

The department's undergraduate committee will normally fill the role of grade appeals committee; however if the grade appeal involves a member of the undergraduate committee or at least three members of the undergraduate committee are unavailable, then the department chair will temporarily appoint additional faculty to the grade appeals committee to bring the committee size to at least 3 members.

The following procedure will be used by the department's undergraduate grade appeals committee.

  1. A student must submit to the Appeals Committee a written statement documenting that the college procedure has been followed and including an explanation why the grade received is unsatisfactory.
  2. The committee will request all information that it deems relevant to resolve the issue, which may include:
    • papers used in determining the grade.
    • class distribution of grades and the method used in determining grades for the class.
  3. The committee will evaluate the student's appeal by reviewing the submitted material. If deemed necessary, the committee may call a meeting with either the student or the instructor.
  4. The committee will recommend to the involved faculty member that the grade be raised, be lowered, or remain unchanged. This recommendation will also be communicated to the student submitting the appeal, the Chair of the Computer Science Department, and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The student may appeal this decision to the College of Arts and Sciences by following step 3 of the College of Arts and Sciences grade dispute policy.

* A graduate student must follow the graduate grade dispute policy.

The lockers in the basement hallway of Hayes Hall are available for reservation by computer science students. A student can reserve a locker by contacting the Department of Computer Science secretary in Hayes 221. Students supply their own locks for the lockers. A locker reservation period ends at the end of the Spring semester. All lockers must be emptied and the locks must be removed no later than the end of finals week of the Spring semester. If a lock is not removed by this time, the lock will be cut and the locker emptied. Students may reserve lockers starting on the first day of the first summer term.

Grades of Incomplete ("INC") are seldom given in computer science courses. Students are expected to complete all assigned work during the semester the course is taken. If this is not done, it is usually necessary to retake the course at some future time.

Independent projects in computer science are intended to be a means of exploring topics or creating experiences not included in the regular course offerings. Courses in the curriculum cannot be offered as independent project sections. All independent project courses are graded on an S/U basis.

The following are the independent project courses:

  • CS 4900 - independent project course for undergraduates
  • CS 5850 - independent project course for graduate students including graduates from programs outside computer science
  • CS 6910 - Master's project course for computer science graduate students
  • CS 6990 - Master's thesis course for computer science graduate students

Independent project courses are generally 2 or 3 semester hours, although projects of 1 or 4 semester hours can be approved.

Registering for an Independent Project Course

The student and faculty project advisor request registration for an independent project course by completing the Independent Project Request form. This form is available from the department secretary in Hayes 221 or online. There are sections on the form for both the student and the faculty project advisor to complete. Since one of the purposes of this form is to ensure that the faculty member and the student agree as to the purpose and scope of the project, a detailed description of the project and timetable is required. Projects requiring access to departmental computing resources must indicate the resources that are required.

The student should obtain the required signatures and return the completed project form to the department secretary. The department will register the student for the independent project section and file it in the student's folder (for CS graduate students) or return the form to the faculty project advisor (for others).

It is the policy of the University and the Department of Computer Science to make every reasonable effort allowing students to observe their religious holidays without academic penalty. In such cases, it is the obligation of the student to provide the instructor with reasonable notice of the dates of religious holidays on which he or she will be absent. Absence from classes or examinations for religious reasons does not relieve the student of responsibility for completing required work missed. Following the necessary notification, the student should consult with the instructor to determine what appropriate alternative opportunity will be provided, allowing the student to fully complete his or her academic responsibilities.

All written work which is submitted should use correct grammar and spelling. This applies also to documentation within computer programs. Any work submitted which is not perfect in this respect will not receive a perfect grade.