Email from Gary Gillespie on Student Cheating

Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 09:17:18 -0700
From: Gary Gillespie <>
Subject: Academic Dishonesty 

I would have liked to have sent this response sooner, but my computer at 
home has been down, and I'm still getting caught up with the recent email.

I agree with all that's been said, and I'd like to offer a few suggestions 
that I use to encourage academic integrity.  Violation as dropped off 
dramatically in CSE 12.  I just had one case in Spring and one case in 
Fall, down from almost 10% a couple of years ago.  I'm very glad that my 
hearings are behind me (5 of them in 1997/98).  I hope to avoid them in the 
future.  I've found that in my cases, the hearing were due mainly to the 
students saying that they were unaware of the rules.

I hope what follows helps us all (students included) to avoid the 
unpleasant aspects of academic integrity violations.

Here's what I do:

On the first day of class:
         0.  Prelude:  I tell the students selfishly that I'd rather spend 
30 minutes on prevention on the first day of class with all students than 
hours throughout the quarter individually with particular students in 
         1.  The Academic Integrity Agreement:  I pass out two forms for 
each student, one to keep and one to return.  We read the form aloud in 
class and discuss each point.  I tell them that they need to sign and 
return one copy sometime before the quarter ends before they can pass the 
         2.  Meeting expectations of others:  I tell students that the 
course is about skills as much as it about knowledge.  I tell them that 
future instructors and future employers will expect that they will attain a 
certain proficiency in problem solving.  I tell them that using 
unauthorized aids (like their friend's completed assignment) will prevent 
them from meeting the proficiencies that others will expect.  I tell them 
that meeting or not meeting these expectations relate directly to getting 
internships, retaining employment, and success in their future course work.
         3.  Setting expectations for themselves:  I tell students that in 
the large scheme of things, the material of CSE 12 is really very 
basic.  They should expect for themselves to attain the skills and 
knowledge in the manner as all other students in the course.
         4.  Enforcement:  I tell students that we electronically compare 
there submissions with those submissions of other students from current and 
past quarters.  I remind them of the powers of computers to easily make 
such comparisons.  I tell them that the consequence for violating academic 
standards is an "F" in the course and being reported to the Dean of their 
college.  Most students fear the unknown of being sent to the Dean.  For a 
senior level course (like Compilers), I add that the Dean is more 
intolerant of violations by seniors and that the more likely consequence is 
         5.  Visualization of consequences:  I tell students to imagine 
themselves as a senior level students with a job offer or graduate school 
acceptance with a set start date that is contingent upon a diploma.  Them I 
tell them to imagine having to decline or postpone their plans due to their 
expected failure to graduate when expected due to unexpectedly being caught 
         6.  Reputation:  I tell students that much of the value of a 
degree from UCSD comes from its reputation earned through the reputation of 
its graduates.  I tell them that since their goal is a degree from UCSD, 
then we are all a part of maintaining high standards of excellence.
         7.  Cheating in the real world:  I remind students of examples in 
the media such as Microsoft, having to devote much time, energy and money 
to preserve its reputation in the light of charges of illegal 
practices.  Jobs may be lost, careers may be ruined.
         8.  Summary:  I tell students that cheating is engaging in 
reckless behavior where the risks are very high for gains that are just not 
worth it.  Additionally, those gains are just hurting themselves when they 
don't learn the skills and material.  It's a lose-lose situation.  I tell 
them that anyone caught in violation is lacking in judgement, and as such 
they need to experience the consequences first hand so that they can learn 
from their mistakes to use better judgement in the future.

During the quarter:
         1.  The turnin program:  I have my own turnin program that asks 
for confirmation by the student that the submission was completed following 
the policies described in the Academic Integrity Agreement.  A log is kept 
in the student account in a hidden file containing a history of responses 
noting the assignment, date and time, as well as their response.  Anyone 
answering "n" will generate an email message sent to the Instructor of the 
course.  Most of the time, the student just changes their mind in their 
submission, and the "n" response is not really an indicator of 
anything.  Also, most of the time the log serves as a great history to 
investigate problems that students have with the turning procedure, or in 
insuring that they have run the turnin procedure before the deadline 
time.  The ACS should really include such a capability in their tools that 
they supply.
         2.  Awareness:  If someone is caught in violation during the 
quarter, I announce to all students that a violation occurred without going 
into any of the details other than to bring awareness that we are still 
enforcing the rules.  Of course, no student is identified.

Just before the final exam:
         On the other side:  Since I know that all students are present on 
this day, I tell students that even after they leave the course, their 
Academic Integrity Agreement is still in force.  I remind them of the 
archive of old assignments that we keep, and if their assignment is 
resubmitted in a future quarter, they will still be in violation and they 
will still go to see the Dean of their college.  I tell them that providing 
their work to others is still very risky behavior to themselves and to 
their friends that they want to "help."

Maintained by Joseph Goguen
Last modified: Sun Jan 28 21:27:09 PST 2001