Optimization Course Expectations

Each student is responsible for learning the principles of engineering. The faculty are committed to assist in this process through classes, assignments, and exams. Unfortunately, due to time and other pressures, some students have made choices that were inappropriate and inconsistent with college expectations for that assignment or exam. It is important that students consciously and continually think about what actions are ethical and appropriate for assignments and exams.

In many cases, the learning process is enhanced greatly by working in groups or consulting with others. However, the guiding principle of honesty dictates that each student is personally accountable for their own work. The table below lists the different types of assignments, along with expectations regarding joint work.





  • Students are required to work together
  • A single assignment/report is submitted to represent collective work
  • Names of all active participants are included
  • All students are expected to do their fair share
  • Not contributing violates the principle of getting credit for your own work
  • Learning to work as a group is often a key part of the assignment.

Case Study, Design Project, Lab Project


  • Students are allowed, often encouraged, to discuss the assignment and explore solutions together
  • Students may check each other’s work and discuss their answers
  • Each student is required to submit an individual assignment that he/she alone wrote or typed on the computer
  • Practices prohibited in this assignment type are:
    • using all or parts of the same computer file for more than one student
    • dividing up tasks between students
    • copying or printing the same solution for more than one student
    • using unauthorized answer keys from previous years

Many, but not all, class homework assignments. Homework may range over all categories, but this is the most common one.


  • All of the work on an individual assignment is to be the student’s own thinking and writing
  • Students may not discuss the answers, approach or content of his/her work with anyone else
  • Students are not to get help from other students or use unauthorized (not provided by or explicitly permitted by the instructor) work from previous years.
  • Discussion of the assignment of any kind with someone else or receipt of outside help would be in violation of the assignment/exam expectations
  • Inappropriate behavior includes:
    • seemingly innocuous comments concerning the number of problems on the exam
    • difficulty of the problems
    • format of the exam
    • any aspect of the exam/assignment with any other student.
  • Take-Home Exams
  • In-Class Exams
  • Final Exam

One aspect of ethics that has surfaced in this class is the use of some used textbooks that have the answers to all of the homework problems written in the margins or elsewhere in the book. Use of such textbooks is a breach of ethics (you should know this already). If you purchased such a textbook, please exchange it and tell the bookstore not to sell such books. It is also a breach of ethics to write the answers to homework problems in the book for an open book, closed homework test.

Computer Policy

Computer accounts in the department are privileges to be used in conjunction with and in support of various classes and research projects. Violation of university and department computer patron policy in any form will result in immediate suspension of your account(s) and may result in suspension from the University. If an abuse involves violation of the honor code, you will be referred to the University Honor Code Office.


Most of you are either seniors or graduate students and are getting ready to begin career. I think it is important that you cultivate a habit of professionalism in your work, particularly homework. Homework will be graded down if sloppily done.

Academic Honesty

Receiving help from others is sometimes a "gray" area in terms of what is and is not appropriate, so I would like to state a policy for this class. Working with others can be an efficient means of learning. However, you are not to copy another's work. Homework study groups should not be larger than 3 people, and each member should contribute to the problem solutions and submit his/her own write-up. If we have an optimization assignment that is not a group assignment, you are to code your own model, interpret it, generate results from it and do your own write-up. For group projects, all students should contribute equally. As mentioned previously, you are not to refer to tests or homework assignments from previous semesters.