Faculty of Applied Science and Technology: School of Applied Computing

Academic Integrity

Sheridan Official Academic Integrity Policy

Sheridan Official Academic Honesty Procedures

The College policy on Academic Integrity is published in the the Student Handbook issued to each student (and made available on the web). It is essential that you understand the basis of the policy, the meanings of the terms it uses and how the policy applies to the special case of computer programming courses.

The College policy arises from our belief that the integrity of our academic program is critically important to our alumni, current students and future applicants. The reputation of the programs we offer and the credentials that we bestow are the 'currency' by which these stakeholders, yourself included, achieve career and economic success. All of us, students and faculty both, need to be assured that the credits earned by students are legitimate. Otherwise, the diplomas and what they stand for suffer. That hurts everyone.

What Does It Mean?

How should you apply the College's Policy on Academic Honesty to your own work in programming courses? This document aims to help you to take the best advantage of the academic resources available to you while at the same time maintain your academic integrity and that of the course itself.

Individual Credits Are Earned By Individuals

Clearly, a course credit (and ultimately a diploma) is granted to an individual student. This means that having the credit or diploma indicates to employers, institutions and others that the individual has achieved the required learning. The individual has the attitudes, knowledge and skill defined in the curriculum and he or she has demonstrated this through the many means of student evaluation that we apply. Note the focus on the individual.

This means that all of the stakeholders must be assured that the work submitted by students for credit (i.e., things that are marked: the assignments, projects, tests, exams, etc.) must reflect what the individual knows and can do without the support of other individuals.

Collaborative Learning

On the other hand, aside from evaluated work, we recognize that one of the best ways for students to learn is for them to work together collaboratively. There are plenty of learning tasks, both in the scheduled classroom meetings and outside of class that do not have anything to do with marks. For example, some students have found it helpful to complete textbook reading assignments together, asking each other questions, clarifying confusion for each other, and working up example programs based on the readings. We encourage you to collaborate on work that is not graded if you feel that it will help you to learn.

The College's commitment to collaborative learning is reflected in the Mobile Computing classrooms furnished with 'puddle' tables that make sharing learning tasks convenient. Occasionally your professor will set classroom tasks for you that require you to work together.

Not All Learning Tasks Are Suitable for Collaboration

As important as collaborative learning strategies are, you need to understand that not all the work you do in a programming course can or should be done by students working together. Work that is to be handed in for marking must not be completed with the help of other students unless the professor assigns a specific group work assignment.

You are honour-bound to preserve the independence of the work you produce.

The Do's and Don'ts

We want to help you to decide when it is acceptable to work with other students and when you should work independently, when you should get help from a resource such as a web page and when you should do the work yourself. Here are some do's and don'ts:


For work that is to be graded, the following actions are not allowed, since they result in work submitted that is not an individual's independent work.


We believe that this policy is clear enough that it can guide you as you work on course-related programming projects. In your interactions with fellow students, you should remain conscious of the limits to collaboration and, if you feel that you might be about to commit a violation (or if the other student asks you to), be sure to end the interaction and seek the help of the professor. If you have any doubt about the legality of your actions, you should should not continue until you have approached the professor for additional clarification.

A Note to Students Who Do Their Own Work

Occasionally, you will be asked by other students for help with their assignments. You have an obligation to yourself, the other students in the class and the College as a whole to help maintain the integrity of the course. Please direct any student asking for help to their professor.

We have had experiences in the past in which students have had their own work copied without their knowledge. You should make sure that you protect your independent work. For example, don't leave your computer unattended without password protection (particularly instant messaging and e-mail clients), be careful how you dispose of hard-copy work (code listings, draft assignments, sketches, etc.)

We do our best to encourage students to be sure that the work they submit for credit reflects their own efforts. When we evaluate student work we try very hard to detect unacceptable collaboration. Of course, there are cases in which it is not possible to collect sufficiently reliable evidence to proceed with a formal charge of academic dishonesty. To those students who do submit their own work legitimately, we assure you that we will be as vigilant as possible.

If you have any comments or suggestions about how we can improve the integrity of our courses and programs, we'd appreciate hearing from you. Contact your professor.