Its possible that to them, the scores aren't important and its a more conducive (and realistic) learning environment if they work together to solve the problems rather than doing it alone. There are many advantages:
* rather than just giving up on a problem, you can talk it out and learn together
* you get the opportunity to teach the material that you think you know that others find hard (a good heuristic for problems you may have just barely understood, but gotten correct anyway). Teaching material is a great way to learn it, and expose any gaps you might have in your knowledge.
* instant feedback on problems while they are still fresh in your memory
Your final score will be calculated as 30% of the score on the top 6 of your 8 homework assignments, 30% your score on the midterm exam, and 40% your score on the final exam. For those completing the advanced track you will receive your final score as a percentage as well as your percentile ranking within all those who completed the advanced track, and this will appear on your statement of accomplishment. The statement of accomplishment will be sent via e-mail and signed by Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig. We hope to have them digitally signed to verify their authenticity. It will not be issued by Stanford University.
Why do people keep coming back to games like farmville and games are now rampart with side achievements with little point like collect 300 x in zone y? I think some people on some level would feel the need to use all means available to maximise scores purely as something that needs to be checked off like achievements in games.
People form study groups all the time, it's a great way to learn. Since it's a free online course all of the benefit is what you actually learn, there is no way to cheat. At least that's my point of view (I am not in any of the classes, but wouldn't hesitate to co-work on stuff if I was).
Again, maybe it's just me, but this is a free online course that everyone is doing for their own knowledge. There's no degree being granted and it doesn't count for anything. I wouldn't bother to read the rules and certainly not attempt to follow them. I would try and learn the material as best I could, however that is.