The Honor Code in COMP 15

The Honor Code plays two crucial roles at Carolina.

First, it makes students and teachers colleagues, not adversaries. Because of the Honor Code, teachers initially can assume that students do not want to cheat, steal, or otherwise make their way through their academic work at the expense of others. Therefore, it is not necessary to burden the academic process with meddlesome, distracting safeguards against potential improper conduct. That is not to say that we should take no precautions at all: we should still protect against invasions due to carelessness, incompetence, or casual opportunism.

Second, the Honor Code makes students each other's colleagues, not adversaries. Thus, when one student helps another student in a manner permitted under the Honor Code, learning takes place outside of the traditional instructor-student context and both students can benefit. One student's success does not require another student's failure.

It is incumbent on the instructor to make clear how the Honor Code applies to assignments in each course. Comp 15 programming assignments are rather different from the usual reading, research, and exercise assignments, and more discussion is required.

The purpose of assigned programs in Comp 15 is to lead you through a series of programming tasks of increasing complexity and difficulty, thereby providing you the opportunity to demonstrate your growing programming skill. The skill you are developing is your own personal skill, not the joint skills of a group of which you are a part. Furthermore, we want to assess your skills at programming, not your skills at soliciting and assembling advice and direction from others.

Therefore you are directed, under the Honor Code, to develop solutions to assigned programs as an individual effort. You may obtain assistance from the Comp 15 instructor or teaching assistant of any kind we are willing to provide. You may obtain assistance with computer system operations not related to an assigned program from any source at all, including classmates and ATN staff. But discussion concerning assigned problems with anyone other than the instructors and TAs must be carefully considered.

Here are some activities that involve Comp 15 students helping each other in ways that do not run afoul of Honor Code requirements.

  1. One student asks another about a detail of how a Haskell or Java construct works, and this construct is involved in a currently-assigned program. The students work together to answer the question in any of the following ways: they look together in the textbook; they look in documentation (on paper or on the Web); they write a program, completely separate from the assigned program, to test the operation of the construct; they speak to the instructor or TAs about the issue.

  2. One student asks another a clarifying question about the current program assignment. The question may be asked and answered without any Honor Code violation as long as the conversation does not involve the sharing of code or design structures intended for use in either student's assigned program.

  3. Some students work together to develop a program for an assignment in which collaboration is specifically permitted. The students turn in one copy of their product package, and this copy displays all of their names and indicates that it is joint work.

Rule of thumb: Any communication that is not about a current assigned program is allowed. Any communication about the assigned program that does not involve writing anything by either party, is allowed. Any communication about an assigned program that does involves writing by either party on paper or on a screen or the transfer of writing from one party to another via paper or magnetic media, is probably not allowed.

The following points describe activities that would lead immediately to prosecutable Honor Code violations. This is not an exhaustive list: the actions described here are illustrative, not comprehensive.

By the act of enrolling at Carolina, you have already agreed to abide by the Honor Code. The instructor and TA of COMP 15 take the Honor Code seriously; please take care to abide by the Honor Code.

(This document was adapted from a version authored by Kye Hedlund)

$ Revised: Aug 18 1999 by