Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

Main quad, near the Oval. Credit: YAYImages / Deposit Photos

BCA Guidance for the Remote Teaching and Learning Environment

Main content start

BCA Guidance Regarding the Honor Code During the Remote Teaching and Learning Environment

The following are clarifications from the Board on Conduct Affairs (BCA)* on the operation of classes under the Honor Code in the remote teaching and learning environment. The BCA recognizes that this is an evolving situation and will be providing ongoing guidance as the University adapts to these new norms. The BCA believes it is, at all times, important for instructors and students to clearly discuss how assignments and exams will operate, including what is and is not permissible. The BCA remains open to your feedback.

8 color Neighborhood gradient.


*Formerly Board on Judicial Affairs (BJA)


1. Does open book also mean open internet? What is the difference between open resource and collaboration?

All assignments and exams conducted online must be open resource, meaning open-book and open-note. This includes informational resources available online. The focus here is the type of content used, not the medium through which the content is found. Permitted informational resources only includes material a reasonable student would have found to be helpful when trying to understand class material or preparing for an assignment or exam. This does not include material that becomes useful once the assignment or exam begins and questions are known.

In all cases, it is not permissible for students to enter exam questions into any software, apps, or websites. Accessing resources that directly explain how to answer questions from the actual assignment or exam is a violation of the Honor Code. This includes language translation software, apps, or websites for language classes (e.g., Google Translate, etc.), equation solution finders, and software, apps, or websites where other people have provided answers to specific questions (e.g., Chegg’s Expert Q&A, etc.). Students remain responsible for monitoring their own conduct and the conduct of their fellow students in this regard.

Answers to assignment or exam questions must be written in the student’s own words, or else be cited, otherwise it is plagiarism. Use of all sources, including internet resources, must be cited. Similarly, consulting or collaborating with other people is not permitted and does not fall within the definition of an open-book or informational resource unless specifically permitted by the instructor. See also, information resources available in an open-book exam on the Teach Anywhere website.

2. Is it permissible to have a time period for the test less than the release date to the due date if it’s electronically tracked?

Yes, this is permissible if the exam has electronic timestamping and students are aware that their exam start and end time will be tracked electronically. If you have questions related to test period times for students with Office of Accessible Education (OAE) accommodations, please refer to OAE’s guidelinesSee also, information on timed take-home exams on the Teach Anywhere website.

3. Is there a distinction between remote exams and take-home exams?

All exams administered in the remote teaching and learning environment are considered take-home exams and must be open book, which includes the open use of the internet. When applicable, we encourage instructors to communicate when a test's format or time constraints make it inadvisable to search related content on the internet and/or when use of the internet may be detrimental to the quality of the student's answers.

4. If a faculty member is not upholding the Honor Code, what should students do?

The first step would be to raise this concern with the course instructional staff and let them know something about the course is not in line with the Honor Code.

If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved at the course level or the student does not feel comfortable bringing this to the course instructional staff, they should raise the concern with their department chair/program director or the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) or director of graduate studies (DGS). If the student is not familiar with who holds these positions in their department, the information is available on the department’s website or on the Stanford Bulletin for their department.

If the issue is not satisfactorily resolved at the department/program level the student should raise the concern with the school dean’s office.

The Office of Community Standards (OCS) is also available for consultation.

5. Does the Honor Code prohibit faculty/teaching staff from requiring cameras to remain on during in-class written assessments?

The Board on Judicial Affairs advises faculty to avoid requiring students to keep their cameras on during this period of remote learning. We recognize that faculty may want to require students' cameras to be turned on during assessments. We acknowledge that such a requirement is unlikely to violate the Honor Code's prohibition on proctoring or "unusual and unreasonable precautions."  Yet, we discourage such a requirement for three reasons. First, we accept the guidance from experts at the Stanford Center on Teaching and Learning and Stanford Teaching Commons -- all of whom note multiple reasons that the choice to use video or not should be at the student’s discretion, not the instructor’s. Second, we believe there will be concerns about protecting the privacy of students with accommodations should such a requirement be implemented. Finally, we deeply value the feedback from our student members of the BCA who have concurred that students have legitimate concerns with requirements to keep their cameras on and it is more equitable to give students the choice about when to turn them on or off.