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In line with MIT's policy on Academic Integrity, here are our expectations regarding collaboration and sharing of work.
The primary goal of all of the course materials is educational (with the exception of the quizzes, which are used for assessment). We ask you to work through these materials because we feel that the experience will cement the basic technical ideas and lead you to think about bigger conceptual issues. It is your responsibility to take advantage of the opportunity to do this; working too closely with others will rob you of the chance to engage deeply with the material and may lead to poorer understanding and, ultimately, worse performance on the quizzes.
We encourage you to help each other with work in this class, but there are limits to what you can do, to ensure that everybody has a good individual learning experience. This section describes those limits.
Laboratories (which double as problem sets) are intended to be primarily individual efforts. You are encouraged to discuss approaches with other students, but your code and your write-up must be your own.
You may not use materials produced as course work by other students, whether in this term or previous terms, nor may you provide work for other students to use.
It's fine to use material from external sources like StackOverflow, but only with proper attribution1 and only if the assignment allows it. In particular, if the assignment says "implement X," then you must create your own X, not reuse one from an external source.
NOT OKAYTest cases are part of the material for the laboratory, and part of the learning experience of the course. You are copying if you use somebody else's test cases, even if temporarily.
Note that in the examples marked inappropriate above, both people are held responsible for the violation in academic honesty. Copying work, or knowingly making work available for copying, in contravention of this policy is a serious offense that may incur reduced grades, failing the course, and disciplinary action. Repeat violators of this policy really do get expelled from MIT sometimes. In the interests of fairness to all students, we take this policy seriously, and a suite of algorithms will be run to detect plagiarism in code.
2) Public Sharing of Work
People often want to share their code publicly, e.g., on GitHub, in order to show off a portfolio of code they've written to potential employers. Building a portfolio is a great idea, but 6.009 is not a good class to use for it, because the laboratories are fixed by the course staff, not chosen by you. Personal projects, hackathons, and IAP contests are much better ways to build up your portfolio.
The policy for public sharing of 6.009 code is described below.
Copyright for the starter laboratory is held by the 6.009 course staff and does not allow redistribution of derived works without prior permission. Your solutions are a derived work, so you may not distribute your laboratory solutions publicly. This means you cannot post them on GitHub, in a public Dropbox folder, or on a public server accessible to others.
Keep in mind that when work on an individual laboratory is copied, both the provider and the consumer of copied materials are violating academic honesty standards, as described above.
Not Sure? Ask!
These policies are in place with the primary goal of helping you learn more
effectively. If you have any questions about why the policies are structured
as they are, or if a certain type of collaboration is allowed, just ask! You
can do so by posting a private question on Piazza, or by sending e-mail to the instructors