I am working my way through an Masters and as assignments are completed and results have come back, I would like to put them online as a way of contributing back to the community.

However generally I do not see people doing this. Is there an etiquette or other implications that I am not considering?

  • 4
    Just curious, in what way do you think you are contributing to the community? Which community? Jun 1, 2014 at 9:27
  • I would speak to someone at your university. I know where I currently do my Masters, this is frowned on. If I were to do this, I would be considered to be "aiding plagiarism" and could be booted from the degree. Once you graduate however, this matters less.
    – Carl
    Jun 2, 2014 at 6:49
  • @DaveClarke We were asked to research current issues in networking, my assignments is kind of a current state of the research and development of the bufferbloat problem. My paper focuses on how we got to where we are and the 3 main current developments: uTP for Bittorrent, fq_codel and Microsofts ctcp. Through all my research, I never came across a document that covered all three groups. Jun 2, 2014 at 9:10

2 Answers 2


In my alma mater, this is indeed common. The student representatives actually maintain a repository of exam answers and assignment solutions for all large classes. Contributing to such a repository seems better than putting it online on your own web page or GitHub, because you need to think about how the students coming after you actually find your material.

As for other implications: the only thing that I can think of is that lecturers are sometimes not all that happy about this practice, as it makes re-using assignments from previous years more difficult. However, that's not actually that big of a deal, as most lecturers will assume that the solutions to re-used assignments are somewhere out there anyway, and adapt grading respectively.


One point to be considered is that the task might be recycled in the future and putting your solution online might be regarded as helping unknown future asignees cheating. Whether and to which extent this is an issue depends very much on the nature of the task and, of course, whether you have to expect the task to be recycled at all.

The only comparable case from my own studies were reports from the advanced physics lab course, where every student has been given the same tasks for years. Nontheless, there were quite a few past reports to be found online (mine among them) but stupid copying from them was quite risky as the tutors also were aware of this (and sometimes even were the authors of said old reports). Rather, old reports were often a much better preparation for the course than the actual manuals as the latter were usually didactically awful and at times even incorrect. I even “cited” an old report once or twice because it was the only available source for some crucial information. And even if the manual was good, having a different explanation of the same thing is beneficial to understanding it as it also depends on the reader what is a god explanation for him or her. All in all, I would say that the existence of old reports had a huge positive pedagogical effect on me and others.

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