A lecturer of the programming course said: "In this course you can't use Google. If we find you are cheated, you will fail the course".

What kind of rights there are if I accidentally write something that is already published on the internet and I don't know it? The problems seems to be so basic level that there is a positive probability that if you have done programming before, you can find similar or even identical code from the Internet.


I doubt that this would be a problem, provided that you don't cheat. But your work will probably be put through a plagiarism checker and get a score. How that is handled is up to the instructor.

But if you really need assurance, then do the work under the eye of a mutually trusted individual who will attest to your following the rules. A proctor, in other words.

Some people need such assurance, I think, perhaps because they aren't naturally trusted for some reasons. But for most people it isn't needed. Paranoia isn't essential in normal relationships. Cheating, when caught, is usually pretty obvious.

  • In suspicious cases, we had short and informal "please talk about your design decisions" conversations. Cheaters usually broke down in less than 30 seconds. No need for a cross-examination. – jvb Jan 25 '20 at 19:02

If your lecturer is a reasonable person, he or she would base their decision to call out any plagiarism on how many results they find on google. For example, if a string of code has 10k similar results, it is much more likely you came up with the code yourself than if the search only finds 50 or so results.

Of course, I question why they are stopping you from googling code, as most coders will not try to reinvent the wheel and will look on google, ask questions on forums, ask colleagues, etc. when they can't figure out a solution. Technically if you reference the original author of a specific part of your code then it will not be plagiarism. However, you lecturer is likely asking for original work, so that won't get you far.

Ultimately, the burden of proof is on the lecturer. If it goes through an appeal process, then the most likely determiner that you cheated would be a calculation on the probability of you reaching the same piece of code as someone else. In that sense, it is not dissimilar to plagiarism of text. What are the odds someone else on the internet has written this exact phrase? What about this one?

Honestly, I would not worry. Do your work in good faith so if you get accused of plagiarism you will have probability on your side. You may also want to consider keeping a changelog of all your code so you can prove it wasn't just pasted in but was changed, optimised, etc.

And if you want to cheat (which I do not recommend because it ends up hurting your career), just contract a professional coder and make them sign a non-disclosure agreement. Goes to show that the real problem here is the assessment methods of your lecturer.


It's not clear what you are asking.

You can use duck duck go or yahoo.com or any other search engine on a browser like Vivaldi or Opera, or IE and keep your log to prove you didn't use google.

Doing that you are following the directive of not using Google. ¿Is that it? otherwise please reword your question to be more specific, please.

  • 3
    Your point would be better suited for a comment to the question. The OP used a direct quote from the lecturer which can be safely understood such that solutions can be found online, but it is not permitted to use them. – Snijderfrey Jan 14 '20 at 17:12
  • You could also say OP should not use Google DNS if you want to be even more obtuse. – user104967 Jan 14 '20 at 21:59
  • @user104967 That wouldn't be obtuse, that would be even more precise. Thank you for the suggestion. – deags Jan 16 '20 at 4:18
  • @Snijderfrey OPs direct quote has been addressed directly with an objective answer. As an IT person, I can clearly see that 'using Google=NOT, ELSE=TRUE' . That's why I mentioned the question could be rephrased. If its is about programming this is a clear answer. In programming, you don't imply vaguely. If anything, OPs question is can be misinterpreted by stuff that do not answer the concrete question. – deags Jan 16 '20 at 4:23
  • Don´t worry, I got your point. Let me just cite from the tour page of academia SE: "Use comments to ask for more information or clarify a question or answer." – Snijderfrey Jan 16 '20 at 14:10

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