Mathematics Department Supplement to the Honor Code

While most students have a robust instinctual sense for how to conduct themselves with intellectual honesty, there is potential for confusion about the appropriate use of outside sources and collaboration on certain types of mathematics assignments.   This document is an attempt to clarify departmental policy around these issues.   This is meant to be a general statement covering most classes in the department, but any time you have a question about what is appropriate, you should start by talking to the professor teaching the course.

-        Unless otherwise instructed, you should refrain from using any outside sources on problem sets.

 

This includes textbooks (other than ones being used for the class), solutions manuals, web-based resources, and handouts or returned assignments from previous editions of the same class.  To learn mathematics you have to do mathematics, and having access to material not provided by the instructor can undermine the pedagogical intent of an assignment.  If you are struggling with an assignment, and feel you need access to other sources, talk to your professor about a proper way to proceed.

 

-        Typically, collaboration between students in the same class is allowed and encouraged on regular problem sets, provided you reference your collaborators and take responsibility for independently writing up your own solutions.  

 

Getting help from anyone outside of class (including parents, residential life staff, etc.) is generally not permitted and could be viewed as a form of academic dishonesty if accessed without the permission of the professor.   For each assignment, faculty should be explicit about what kinds of outside assistance are allowed (e.g., the calculus tutoring sessions supported by the CTLR) and students should always ask first if there is any uncertainty.

 

-        Unless otherwise instructed, exams should be completed entirely on your own.

 

If other resources are allowed, your instructor will be clear about what they are at the time the exam is handed out.  You are expected to keep to the approved list when completing your exam.

Generally speaking, students need to take responsibility, not just for themselves, but for the efficacy of the honor code college wide.  The college’s Honor Code was written and adopted in 1965, by the students themselves.  It was not designed to be a set of expectations to be enforced by the faculty, and the long-term success of the Honor Code depends critically on students encouraging each other to live up the expectations that it articulates.

Department of Mathematics

Warner Hall
303 College Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753