Reader Kyle Brady writes in to tell us his own story about how he fought back against one of his Computer Science professors, who threatened to fail him
because he posted the code he wrote online. Kyle is a CS student, and only posted the code after the assignments were due (so it wasn't helping other students). He did so because he figured it might help him find a job to show examples of his coding skills and also because he believes in the value of sharing code. But his professor claimed that it was a violation of school policies, potentially "cheating" and that he could fail Kyle. Kyle responded by going through the school's Academic Integrity Policy, and not finding anything that he violated. When the professor did not agree with Kyle's response (to put it mildly), Kyle contacted the CS department head and explained his position. The department head researched the situation and finally agreed with Kyle that there was no violation of academic policy -- and, more importantly, that professors could not bar students from posting their code online or penalize students from doing so.
I have to admit that I'm rather surprised that a separate issue did not come up. That is, many schools make students sign something saying that any code they create as a student has the copyright automatically assigned to the school. This has resulted in conflicts
, as students are surprised to learn that they can't do anything with the code they created as students. I don't know if SJSU does this or not, but you could see a school claiming that since it holds the copyright on such code, that it could prevent students from posting the content. Luckily, that does not appear to be the case in this situation.