Students shopping one of Harvard’s most popular undergraduate courses will arrive in Sanders Theater tomorrow to a changed CS50.
One lawyer said Harvard is unlikely to face lawsuits from students accused of cheating in CS50 because the cases are “awfully hard” to prosecute.
Some CS50 staffers said the course’s recent expansion and online availability of answer keys likely contributed to high levels of academic dishonesty.
FAS Dean Michael D. Smith said he was reluctant “to get involved too deeply” in the Computer Science department, where he still teaches.
Former students and course staff said course policy was unclear about what constituted cheating, creating the potential for unintentional violations.
The vast majority of 115 academic dishonesty cases the College’s Honor Council heard last academic year occurred in courses offered in the Sciences Division or the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, according to the adjudicating body’s first-ever annual report.
Undergraduate members of the student-faculty body tasked with implementing the College’s first honor code are reaching out to their classmates in dining halls and lecture halls about the goals and philosophy of the young committee.
Administrators acknowledge that a question that logically follows the honor code’s introduction is whether Harvard will move to expand students’ role in disciplinary procedures later on.
“The vast majority of faculty really do care, and the vast majority of students care. Yet I think a good portion of the time, we miss each other in unintentional ways,” said Brett Flehinger, the Honor Council’s secretary.
A study co-authored by Steven D. Levitt suggests that assigning students randomly to seats during exams significantly reduces instances of cheating.
Undergraduate members of the Honor Council—the student-faculty body tasked with enforcing the honor code—are adjusting their schedules as the Council hears its first slate of academic integrity cases.
The Administrative Board has repeatedly pushed the database’s target release date back, amid concerns that the summaries could compromise the privacy of individual students.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences members voted unanimously in favor of legislation requiring students at the College to make an affirmation of integrity, and for the establishment of a new Theater, Dance, and Media concentration.