Cheating vs. collaboration: Fine line for computer-science students

A recent article entitled “Why computer science students cheat” hit a raw nerve for undergraduates, software professionals, and hiring executives, Network World reports. The article discussed how more college students are caught cheating in introductory computer-science courses than in any other course on campus, thanks to automated tools that professors use to detect unauthorized code reuse and excessive collaboration. The article explored the implications of this trend for hiring managers, who are looking for ethical employees who also can function in teams. The article prompted more than 50 comments on Network World’s web site and 670 at Slashdot. The comments show IT professionals are split on the idea of whether computer-science students who work in groups to complete their homework should be punished for cheating or rewarded for collaborating. One camp said that computer-science students who collaborate on homework shouldn’t be accused of cheating because they will work in teams when they are in the workforce. Another camp, however, argued that computer-science students should do their own homework so they learn the underlying concepts and are better prepared for the workplace…

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