Math 31: Topics in Algebra
Summer 2013
Homework Collaboration
The following are examples designed to help give you a better idea of my feelings on
collaboration. The scenarios in the first two examples would both be considered
acceptable.

Bob and Alice decide to work on this week's homework together. Neither student has
looked at the first problem yet. They come up with a sketch of a proof together, and
then they each write up their own version of the complete proof. Alice states in her
solution that she worked with Bob, and vice versa.

Bob and Alice have both worked on the second problem, but they are somewhat stuck.
Alice knows how to start, but she runs into trouble about halfway through the
solution. She explains what she has done to Bob, and he figures out how to finish the
problem. They then write up complete solutions separately, with Bob giving Alice
credit for the first part of the argument, and Alice citing Bob for the second part.
The next two examples would be deemed unacceptable.

Bob and Alice come up with a solution to problem 3 together, and they write up a full
proof on the board. They both copy down the proof, giving the appropriate citations to
each other, and hand it in. (This would have been acceptable if each student had
simply gone home and written up their own versions of the proof, giving the
appropriate citations.)

Neither student has looked at the fourth problem. Upon reading it, Alice immediately
sees how to to it, and she proceeds to write up a full solution on the chalkboard. Bob
copies down the proof and hands it in, and mentions that he obtained his ideas from
Alice. (Again, this would be acceptable if Bob simply went home and wrote up his own
proof instead, using the ideas that he got from Alice.)