Academic Integrity

Special Topics in Interactive Art and Computational Design (“IACD”) is a studio course in arts-computing. Students are expected to make extensive use of open-source libraries and freely-distributed code. In addition, the classroom is centered around peer instruction, in which students are expected to help each other learn, and even collaborate. Somehow — notwithstanding the above — students are expected to make original work. As a result, IACD has unique requirements and guidelines for academic integrity.

Use of Free and Open-Source Code.
Credit is perhaps the most important form of currency in the economies of commons-based peer production and open-source media arts. You must cite the source of any code you use. Please note the following expectations and guidelines:

  • When using others’ code, pay careful attention to the license under which it has been released, and be certain to fulfill the terms and requirements of those licenses. Descriptions of common licenses, and their requirements, can be found here and here. Some licenses may require permission (obtain it!) or even require you to purchase the author a beer.
  • The use of general, repurposable libraries (such as openFrameworks addons, Cinder Blocks, Max/MSP externals, or Processing Libraries) is strongly encouraged. The people who developed and contributed these components to the community worked hard, often for no pay; acknowledge them by citing their name and linking to their repository.
  • It sometimes happens that an artist places the entire source code for their sketch or artwork online, as a resource from which others can learn. Be very careful about approaching such code for possible re-use. If it is necessary to do so, it is best to extract components that solve a specific technical problem, rather than those parts which work to create a poetic experience. Your challenge, when working with others’ code, is to make it your own. It should be clear that downloading an artwork from e.g. OpenProcessing and simply changing the colors would be disgracefully lazy; doing so without citation is outright plagiarism.

Informal Collaboration.
Our course places a high value on civic responsibility that includes, but is not limited to, helping others learn. In this course, we strongly encourage you to give help (or ask others for help) in using various toolkits, algorithms, compilers, debuggers, libraries, or other facilities. Please note the following expectations:

  • Students who receive help from someone else are obliged to acknowledge that person in their project report, clarifying the nature of the help that was received.
  • We are all teachers. Students with advanced skills are expected to help others, yet refrain from doing another’s work for them. One can usually tell when one is about to cross the line. Ask yourself whether you are teaching someone to fish, or merely giving them the fish.

Formal Collaboration.
In the field of media arts, many projects require a diverse set of skills. For this reason, collaborations between students in the class are encouraged (for projects other than the intensive bootcamp).  Please note the following expectations:

  • Students who wish to collaborate should inform the professor as early as possible.
  • It is expected that all students in a collaboration will write code.
  • Collaborations are often restricted to pairs (not trios or quartets) of students.
  • Written reports for collaborative projects should describe how effort was distributed.

Per the qualifications above and in all other respects, the university policies and procedures on academic integrity will be applied rigorously. Please read the University Policy on Cheating and Plagiarism carefully to understand the penalties associated with academic dishonesty at Carnegie Mellon University. The professor reserves the right to determine an appropriate penalty based on the violation of academic dishonesty that occurs. Violations of the university policy can result in severe penalties including failing this course and possible expulsion from the university. If you have any questions about this policy and any work you are doing in the course, please feel free to contact the professor for help.