Department Collaboration Policy

Plagiarism, cheating, and falsification of information are violations of academic integrity that will not be tolerated. Please check the Bowdoin Academic Honor Code for official definitions of these practices. This document explains specific guidelines for computer science.

Levels of Collaboration

The department employs four 'levels' of collaboration, where each level defines a set of allowed (and disallowed) behaviors. Higher levels are more restrictive, while lower levels are more permissive. Assignments in a course will typically employ a range of different levels. Our goal is to provide you extensive opportunities for collaboration (as is the norm in 'the real world') while still ensuring that you become an independent programmer capable of doing significant work on your own.

Specific courses may have additional rules or guidelines that supplement the standard policy described below (such as governing the mechanics of group work). Be sure to get this information from your professor.

In the interest of fairness to all students, violations of the collaboration policy are grounds to initiate an action that would come before the Judicial Board. Remember that you are responsible for reading, understanding, and adhering to the policy. If you have any questions about any aspects of the policy, please do not hesitate to ask for clarification.

Levels of Collaboration

Posting of Work Online

The department recognizes that students often wish to post completed work online for professional purposes, e.g., on a public GitHub repository or on a personal website. However, such work is readily found by web searches, and therefore may be problematic for future iterations of a course that may reuse prior assignments.

As a general rule, you should not publicly post any work online that could be inappropriately reused by future students. Such work would include regular labs, homeworks, and so forth. Note that an exception exists for projects that are primarily self-designed, e.g., a final project in a course in which you choose your own topic and are not following a provided specification. For such a project, if it is unlikely that a future student would be able to make inappropriate use of your work, then it is acceptable to post online.

If a student is found to have submitted work substantially similar to work that you have publicly posted online, you may be considered a party to any resulting Judicial Board action and subject to sanctions, regardless of whether you knowingly shared your work with other students.

Note that alternatives to public posting are readily available; for example, GitHub provides private repositories that can be shared only with desired parties (such as prospective employers). You are not prohibited from posting work to GitHub or the web entirely, but merely from doing so in a way that is globally accessible.

This policy was last updated August 2019.