Ethical Behavior

A simple test:

If your behavior were shown to the class, your family, the tas or the instructor would you be proud or ashamed?


The professor has an assignment involving recursion. You didn't understand recursion in the text or the lecture. Which of the following behaviors is dishonest?

  1. You have a friend explain his solution to the problem. You do not copy it.
  2. You have a friend go over the lecture notes on recursion.
  3. You have a friend get you started on the problem, by giving you some hints.
  4. You have a friend do some different problems involving recursion.

One way to judge is to see whether the work you present as a solution is your own, or was partly generated by someone else. In cases 1 and 3, the friend provided needed information. It is dishonest and could result in a grade of F, a letter in your file, and possible expulsion from ICS and even UCI. This type of unethical behavior would be difficult to spot, although the damage would eventually accumulate. By misrepresenting your knowledge you are fooling yourself. At some point you may find that computer science is inappropriate for you - then you will have wasted many years. Also employers will recognize your lack of ability and that is unlikely to make you very happy.