Why computer science students cheat?

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#61 dawmail333  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 02 January 2011 - 02:42 AM

[offtopic]Say, any free versions of these tools around? Be quite helpful to make sure that my code isn't possibly seen as plagiarism...[/offtopic]

Yeah, I know the type.
It's the type that bugs me at science and maths: they don't learn concepts, but prefer to just memorize formulae/techniques etc.
A general rule of thumb, as I understand it: if you don't do well in Modelling and Problem Solving (unseen, potentially complex questions), you won't get anywhere in programming.
It makes sense, no? You can't just memorize each formulae in programming. Not only that, not every problem has a simple, clear technique to solve it.

Unfortunately, people think that anyone can program. It's not that we're an exclusivist club, it's simply that you have to be able to think in a certain manner, and so many people have never put in the effort to think that way.
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#62 Xeonen  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 02 January 2011 - 03:08 AM

The only problem I perceive from my experience with my brother who is a Software Engineering student, is that they don't study enough, don't give a shit and they merely try to understand concepts without practice.

In my humble opinion, a good computer science student requires to have five qualifications.

Brains for learning.
Accountability for teamwork.
Liability for self respect
Loyaltt for hours of sleepless nights.
Strenght of mind for debugging.
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#63 DivideByZero  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 20 February 2011 - 04:16 AM

I'm in an awkward situation these days with my class mates.
The problem is, I'd say around 90% of them cheat in our C++ module (seriously, 90%).
One of them that does it really obviously is a flat mate.
He's a nice guy and says he wants to be a programmer after our course, but we're in the second year now and he struggles with the most basic programming problems like "how do I write a class?".
So the other day in class, we were about to submit our weekly assignment.
And as usual, he was getting someone else to do the work for him.
So I told the guy to leave his keyboard alone and let him do his own work, which lead to him not being able to submit the assignment.
Although he hasn't said it to my face, I know he's really pissed off about that.
But I see it as this, I work my ass off everyday programming. I spend most of my spare time learning while everyone else plays fifa all day. Yet these people cheat and get the same grades as me.
Currently I have a 1st in every assignment, which is amazing. But the fact that people like my flatmate is able to get a first through cheating kinda makes the taste of victory sour.

So my question to you, how would you deal with my situation?
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#64 Xeonen  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 20 February 2011 - 06:45 AM

View PostDivideByZero, on 20 February 2011 - 01:16 PM, said:

I'm in an awkward situation these days with my class mates.
The problem is, I'd say around 90% of them cheat in our C++ module (seriously, 90%).
One of them that does it really obviously is a flat mate.
He's a nice guy and says he wants to be a programmer after our course, but we're in the second year now and he struggles with the most basic programming problems like "how do I write a class?".
So the other day in class, we were about to submit our weekly assignment.
And as usual, he was getting someone else to do the work for him.
So I told the guy to leave his keyboard alone and let him do his own work, which lead to him not being able to submit the assignment.
Although he hasn't said it to my face, I know he's really pissed off about that.
But I see it as this, I work my ass off everyday programming. I spend most of my spare time learning while everyone else plays fifa all day. Yet these people cheat and get the same grades as me.
Currently I have a 1st in every assignment, which is amazing. But the fact that people like my flatmate is able to get a first through cheating kinda makes the taste of victory sour.

So my question to you, how would you deal with my situation?



I had the same situation in vet school and I even given a list of cheaters as well as what questions they cheated on, never worked so all I did was quit school, apply to medicine school in another country.
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#65 Valek  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 20 February 2011 - 10:06 AM

View PostDivideByZero, on 20 February 2011 - 06:16 AM, said:

I'm in an awkward situation these days with my class mates.
The problem is, I'd say around 90% of them cheat in our C++ module (seriously, 90%).
One of them that does it really obviously is a flat mate.
He's a nice guy and says he wants to be a programmer after our course, but we're in the second year now and he struggles with the most basic programming problems like "how do I write a class?".
So the other day in class, we were about to submit our weekly assignment.
And as usual, he was getting someone else to do the work for him.
So I told the guy to leave his keyboard alone and let him do his own work, which lead to him not being able to submit the assignment.
Although he hasn't said it to my face, I know he's really pissed off about that.
But I see it as this, I work my ass off everyday programming. I spend most of my spare time learning while everyone else plays fifa all day. Yet these people cheat and get the same grades as me.
Currently I have a 1st in every assignment, which is amazing. But the fact that people like my flatmate is able to get a first through cheating kinda makes the taste of victory sour.

So my question to you, how would you deal with my situation?


Wait until you both enter the workforce. You'll get a job programming and will be able to walk your talk, so you're gonna look real good to your employer, and are likely to see yourself rising in that field.

Your flat mate will get a job programming, and it will become immediately apparent that he hasn't got a clue. His employer will likely fire him, and any job he tries to get programming in the future he'll either be released from due to a negative review from his previous employer(s), or for being caught lying about his work history when he doesn't put that bad experience down as a job he held.

tl;dr is the problem will sort itself out ;)
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#66 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 21 February 2011 - 08:25 AM

View PostValek, on 20 February 2011 - 12:06 PM, said:

Wait until you both enter the workforce. You'll get a job programming and will be able to walk your talk, so you're gonna look real good to your employer, and are likely to see yourself rising in that field.

Your flat mate will get a job programming, and it will become immediately apparent that he hasn't got a clue. His employer will likely fire him, and any job he tries to get programming in the future he'll either be released from due to a negative review from his previous employer(s), or for being caught lying about his work history when he doesn't put that bad experience down as a job he held.

tl;dr is the problem will sort itself out ;)


Unfortunately for DBZ, that doesn't do anything for him now and it means that although he may graduate with good grades, so will those who don't deserve to and he'll have a much harder time competing for the limited opportunities for freshly graduated devs. The larger problem (being a competent dev in a sea of incompetent devs who all have the same grades) remains and there's not much he can do to remedy that.

However, I didn't attend school for a CS degree or anything like that so I have a question: how is this cheating done? If you mean that they're turning in code assignments that they don't do themselves then I get that...but don't you guys have tests? Is the entire coursework nothing but assignments? If it's not (if there are tests) then perhaps an anonymous note to the instructor or the department head or perhaps even dean of the school explaining your concerns might be in order. I'd be kind of bent knowing that I'm doing the actual work but the value of my degree from their institution is going to be diminished because they'll be giving out that same degree to people who don't deserve it and won't support it's apparent worth in the post graduate marketplace with competent work...which will drag down your accomplishments even more. Consider what would happen if it got around to employers that XYZ School's graduates tend to be incompetent, lazy, entitled dumbasses.

The solution would be to explain the problem as you see it and then to suggest that the coursework consider weighting testing much more than assignments so as to reduce the chances that cheating will inflate the grades. Keep in mind, school is a business: they take in tuition money and provide teaching in return. They also get more tuition money for those they pass on to the next year. The school may have zero interest in the quality of the graduates they turn out (a very myopic but common view) so be prepared for them to be unresponsive or disinterested.

This post has been edited by Craig328: 21 February 2011 - 08:26 AM

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#67 DivideByZero  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:15 AM

View PostCraig328, on 21 February 2011 - 08:25 AM, said:

View PostValek, on 20 February 2011 - 12:06 PM, said:

Wait until you both enter the workforce. You'll get a job programming and will be able to walk your talk, so you're gonna look real good to your employer, and are likely to see yourself rising in that field.

Your flat mate will get a job programming, and it will become immediately apparent that he hasn't got a clue. His employer will likely fire him, and any job he tries to get programming in the future he'll either be released from due to a negative review from his previous employer(s), or for being caught lying about his work history when he doesn't put that bad experience down as a job he held.

tl;dr is the problem will sort itself out ;)


Unfortunately for DBZ, that doesn't do anything for him now and it means that although he may graduate with good grades, so will those who don't deserve to and he'll have a much harder time competing for the limited opportunities for freshly graduated devs. The larger problem (being a competent dev in a sea of incompetent devs who all have the same grades) remains and there's not much he can do to remedy that.

However, I didn't attend school for a CS degree or anything like that so I have a question: how is this cheating done? If you mean that they're turning in code assignments that they don't do themselves then I get that...but don't you guys have tests? Is the entire coursework nothing but assignments? If it's not (if there are tests) then perhaps an anonymous note to the instructor or the department head or perhaps even dean of the school explaining your concerns might be in order. I'd be kind of bent knowing that I'm doing the actual work but the value of my degree from their institution is going to be diminished because they'll be giving out that same degree to people who don't deserve it and won't support it's apparent worth in the post graduate marketplace with competent work...which will drag down your accomplishments even more. Consider what would happen if it got around to employers that XYZ School's graduates tend to be incompetent, lazy, entitled dumbasses.

The solution would be to explain the problem as you see it and then to suggest that the coursework consider weighting testing much more than assignments so as to reduce the chances that cheating will inflate the grades. Keep in mind, school is a business: they take in tuition money and provide teaching in return. They also get more tuition money for those they pass on to the next year. The school may have zero interest in the quality of the graduates they turn out (a very myopic but common view) so be prepared for them to be unresponsive or disinterested.


For the C++ module, we have 3 main assignments that make up 60% of the final grade, we have to complete atleast 10 out of 14 weekly assignments which is another 20%, then we have a final exam.
These guys have cheated their way into getting grades that only really good programmers should be getting, yet they struggle to do the basics STILL!
It's just really frustrating as they're not even ashamed of it, last friday one of the guys found some code online which was the exact same thing that we had to do for that weekly assignment, they all copied it and changed the names so that it met the requirements :@
And if they can't get the teacher to spoon feed them code, they copy this other guy in my class who is decent at programming :@

This post has been edited by DivideByZero: 21 February 2011 - 09:18 AM

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#68 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:20 AM

Your problem is that each of your assignments is worth just as much as your final exam. That's kind of a joke. That and they only require you to complete 10 of 14 assignments. You can choose to simply skip nearly 1/3 of your assignments?

Man, school has changed since I was there...
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#69 DivideByZero  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:25 AM

View PostCraig328, on 21 February 2011 - 09:20 AM, said:

Your problem is that each of your assignments is worth just as much as your final exam. That's kind of a joke. That and they only require you to complete 10 of 14 assignments. You can choose to simply skip nearly 1/3 of your assignments?

Man, school has changed since I was there...

I completely agree!

If we had two exams that made up for atleast 50%, I know I'd easily get a high first while the others would be lucky to get a 2.1 :/
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#70 Craig328  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 21 February 2011 - 09:31 AM

Well, like I said, my degree isn't in CS...but in a fair chunk of my courses, the midterm and final exams could make up as much as 70% of your final grade.

Fifty percent would be an excellent suggestion to the faculty at your school though. You should consider making the suggestion.
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#71 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 23 February 2011 - 02:43 PM

I always loved my math courses.

Usually any given semester consisted of 4 or 5 exams. Each making up an equal portion of your grade.

No final, no mid term. Unless you wanted to consider the last exam to be the final.

I also ever only had one teacher require homework in my math course (in highschool at that). Every math teacher I've had came with the same opinion: "math homework is just practicing problems, practicing problems is studying, and you can't pass the exam with out studying... or cheating. The latter of which homework won't stop." They would list suggested problems on the board at the end of class, and we usually reviewed the previous classes problems. But you weren't required to do all of them, and you were welcome to do as many more as you'd like. It was a method that worked, because for those who should have done the problems, their test scores reflected that. For those who didn't have to, it didn't really matter.

Shit when you have an exam with only 4 or 5 questions on the test, and the average student still needs 2 hours to complete said exam... I think they probably know they need to practice. I don't know who cheated in my math classes, and I bet anyone who did spent just as much time working at cheating, if not more, then if they had just practiced. And probably accidently learned stuff in the process.

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 23 February 2011 - 02:49 PM

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#72 pcfix_3  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 18 May 2011 - 02:42 PM

View PostPsychoCoder, on 19 April 2010 - 10:27 AM, said:

(Thanks @_KYA for the tweet/link)
This is an interesting article on why computer science student cheat. I found it an interesting read and think it could lead to a good discussion here on Dream.In.Code



I've been to a few classes and I didn't even think about cheating. I enjoyed the challenge presented to me with each assignment. That being said, I can see why some of the students cheat, but for the most part I agree that they should be punished in some way. Many times people take courses just to see if it's right for them, but that's not an excuse for cheating. Cheating is only denying yourself the opportunity to learn. Not to mention if they pass they will go on to be an annoyance to someone else and possibly end up getting fired from their first job or worse. My advice to someone even considering it would be to find a tutor, study harder, or drop out of the class. if you don't enjoy it, then maybe it's not for you. I haven't finished my degree yet, but I will soon and I enjoy all the things I have learned. C++ was my favorite, but it was tough to get through. Very fun though.
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#73 Oblivious  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:47 PM

Well, first I would like to say that I do not believe it is necessary to have a background in programming to be successful at a cpsc degree/career. Of course as you can imagine I am speaking from personal experience. With a rigorous college prep curriculum throughout lower, middle, and high school years, I barely had time for anything else. I did not own my OWN computer until 10th grade. I will refrain from my whole life story as I know it matters not =) After either not being satisfied with the challenge presented by or just not enjoying other majors, I decided to give in and listen to my father (who is a mainframe programmer) and take an intro class. I fell in love! It was finally something that I found interesting, challenging, could see myself doing the rest of my life, and on top of that I seemed to excel in it. While the "track" I have chosen is not the same as my father's, we seem to at least share one passion. I claim to be no expert (I'm working on it! =P) but I do believe I am an example that a female can hack it in this field, but also that as long as you have the work ethic and the drive, you can do it without prior experience. However, I do find that it is a disadvantage not having a background in it (Especially being a female I feel the need to prove myself; which I am not blaming on males but rather the collective preconception and my own competitiveness. =X lol) but at the same time a motivation to work harder.
That leads me to my next thought. I'm sure everyone who goes to college will have stories of cheaters no matter the major. In the particular college I go to as of late, they seem to have chosen the "easier" teachers to teach the bottleneck classes that usually sort out the good apples from the bad. I actually asked why this was happening as it of course annoyed me that these people were getting through but really just all around baffled me as to why they would need to do this. The answer came down to the simple fact that the more people they allow to fail out, the less people in the major, the less reason for the school to even offer the degree. Essentially it was the school (or maybe even public state law? not sure how that works) saying that their had to be a certain number of grads from each degree in order for it to remain a dept with funding. I am not saying this isn't faulty logic but in the end, it sucks either way for the people who want to do CPSC and actually do put in the effort. Not everyone can afford (be it monetarily or physically--i.e. family reasons) to go to a college of their choosing. I suppose in the end College is what you make of it. If someone chooses to cheat and float through it will be them that pays in the end.
Anyways, a friend just told me about this site and I think it is fantastic!

Jessica
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#74 Alderdragon  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:38 PM

That was an interesting article. I'm finishing my second semester for a B.S. Computer Science degree; I still have a long way to go, but here's my experience with cheating:

I first started programming in 12th grade--I managed to take Programming I, II, and AP Computer Science all in the same year (teacher was very understanding and pulled some strings for me). Prog I/II were taught in C#, AP was Java. For the first few months, I was very lost and confused, didn't understand what we were doing or how to do very much on my own, but I knew I was interested in it and kept trying to make stuff in my own free time.

We would always copy code from the teacher. Not only that, she encouraged us to share our code, even on graded assignments. This was probably the best decision she made: collaborating with the other students and seeing how they solved a problem or constructed an algorithm, then spending sometimes several hours discussing how they thought through the problem and resolved it, was an excellent way for me to learn. This may be "cheating" to some folks, but it wasn't to me.

Regardless, in my other classes, Programming I and II, the students didn't quite grasp the concepts at all. They just copied down the projects and compiled and ran their programs for the grade. A few of them took an interest in programming and would fiddle with the code, but 90% of them just wanted to get it over with (and would copy+paste their friend's code inevitably) so they could play a dinky flash game online. Most of the time spent in class was the teacher and I going around the room helping people correct their syntax errors.

My first semester of college, I took an introductory C++ course. Most of the kids in the class were taking it as an elective and copied off of each other. To them, it wasn't about understanding the concepts of problem solving or programming, it was just to crank out some code that did what the professor asked. He made it very clear that if we didn't do the programming assignments at the end of each chapter and really challenge ourselves to dissect the code in the book to understand what each line is accomplishing, we wouldn't fully understand it. Nevertheless, almost no one in the class bothered to do that and every time I entered the class I heard my peers complaining that "this makes no sense" etc. So annoying.

So I kind of rambled a bit... but that's my experience with cheating :P
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#75 kragor  Icon User is offline

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Re: Why computer science students cheat?

Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:47 PM

This is a very interesting topic.
While I would agree that in an academic setting some control is required. You can't learn anything from copy and pasting. I also believe that looking for help on the internet is part of an IT professionals job. We don't know everything about anything. And books are not the most effective means of learning for everyone.
I don't have any formal academic training or degrees. I work for a company that has made a mission of giving people a chance where normally there would be none. They require only that you score well on a cpab exam in order to seek employment with them. Training is done on an "On the Job Training" basis with most of the responsibility of learning new technologies being on your own shoulders. One of the first thing we are taught is how to learn...and teach ourselves. Then we are taught that Google is our best friend.
I often research something that I need to learn on the web. I don't copy and paste because that would not help me. But I do rely heavily on forum such as this one with experienced developers giving advice and tutorials. (Excellent tutorial on LINQ btw Physcocoder. I look forward to your more advanced explanations.) Anyway, I am not sure where my opinion falls in this discussion but here it is anyways. Looking for help is OK. Copy and paste is NOT.
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