Collaboration Policy

by Eftychios Sifakis on September 10, 2020

Computer graphics is (usually) a team sport. In fact, learning computer graphics (and, arguably, learning in general) is best done in collaboration with others. Unfortunately, in a university class setting, we have the unfortunate constraint that we must grade individuals independently, so we need to have people work independently on graded assignments so that we can assess them. Therefore, there is a fine line between “collaboration” and “academic misconduct”.

For CS559, we want to encourage collaboration. However, we also need to make sure that each individual gets appropriate credit for their work.

Students are encouraged to discuss class topics and assignments with other students, subject to the following rules.

If you are unsure if something is collaboration or academic misconduct, please ask the instructor or TA for clarification.
No collaboration is allowed on the exams.
Assignments and projects must be substantively from the person claiming to have done it. It’s OK to ask for help, but most of the work should be your own.
Ultimately, each student is responsible for the material. Projects, assignments and exams will require you to understand the assignments, so be careful not to rely on help since at some point you might need to do it your self.
Collaboration must be a two way street. The person giving help must OK it. (e.g. don’t look at someone else’s work without their permission).
Every student must turn in their own assignment, and is responsible for it, unless it is explicitly a group project. For group projects, specific instructions will be given (generally it is turned in once, and other group members give pointers).
Projects must be “substantially” written by the student handing it in. In particular, the “meat” of the project must be completed by the student handing in the project.
Any code that you didn’t write must be given proper attribution. If you grab a piece of code from the web (including the class sample code!), another student, some book, … – YOU MUST SAY SO! It is OK to use pieces of sample code – providing that you give proper credit to the author.
We will give you large amounts of example code to work with for various assignments and projects. Be sure to give it proper attribution.
If you use an external library as part of an assignment or project, make it clear (in a README file or the notes with your submission) what it is, and where you got it from. You must write key parts of the assignment yourself.
With JavaScript, you can do “View Source” in the web browser to see how programs you find (including our sample solutions) work. While we encourage you to use this to learn, we discourage you from just copying too much stuff. We urge you not to snoop to find answers to things we want you to figure out yourself, or to steal large pieces of code. Again, this is a fine line: use your judgment, or ask.

It is OK to ask a classmate for help on one of the questions on a written assignment. It is not OK to “borrow” their assignment and copy it without their permission. It is not OK to just copy it without understanding it (since you won’t learn the material).
It is OK to ask a classmate for help looking over your code to find a bug. It is not OK to use a piece of their code without giving them proper attribution, or if its an important part of a project.
It is OK to use the provided example code, or a data structure implementation you find on the web PROVIDED THAT YOU GIVE PROPER ATTRIBUTION. It is not OK to use a piece of code on the web for a central piece of an assignment (like a required image processing routine)
If you ever have a question, ask.

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