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It's "cheating" though in the sense that it's against a TOS on a website, but tons of things are against a TOS and almost no one reads them. They're pretending to be one, but Coursera is not a college, is not accredited and does not hand out degrees. This is a free online self-study course being taken by hundreds of thousands of people with varying degrees of seriousness. Some people may treat it like a college course and want the certificate (for what I am not sure), but I bet most people just want the knowledge. I signed up for a similar course once and never logged in because my schedule changed, should I get an F and have that publicized?

I have also worked through some iOS courses from Standford on iTunes U and I would not think twice about helping someone with one of the problems. Is that cheating?

If people sign up for a course like this and then turn in work they copied from the Internet, I definitely don't want to hire them. Even if they weren't after the certificate. That's like cheating at solitaire. It's just sad.

Also, do you have any evidence that the no-cheating, no-publishing-homework policy is buried in a TOS? If Coursera hasn't made it obvious enough, then sure, people could have made a mistake. But Odersky's a smart guy so his reaction makes me imagine he made the requirement obvious.

Much like I wouldn't hire a Stanford CS grad based on her certificate, I would recommend not hiring a Coursera "grad" based on a certificate either.

Nobody smart hires purely based on the certificate, but the question is what value one assigns to it. Anybody with a degree from a strong CS program is much more likely to get an interview from me. Ditto for anybody with a good online portfolio. I'd like to assign some value to Coursera courses, but we'll see.

As someone taking the course - yes, it was pretty obvious. And even if he had said nothing, it's common sense that uploading other's solutions as your own is frowned upon.

Right know there are actual students at EPFL who are taking the Functional Programming Principles in Scala course, using the same web site that random joes like me are using at the same time. So for me it's not an actual college, but it is for those students at EPFL. They have no choice but to enforce academic honestly rules, given that real students at a real institution are involved.

It makes sense for EPFL to use the course lectures and quizzes to help the students, but it makes absolutely no sense to use it for the grading part. It is trivially easy to make a second account, take a quiz, and just answer randomly to be able to see all the correct answers. It's absolutely absurd to not have a totally independent grading system.

The quiz questions in the course videos do not contribute to the grade for this course. Only the programming assignments count.

"in the sense that it's against a TOS on a website"

A website that is providing you with completely free content from some of the top universities. I think it's fair for them to dictate the terms.

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