Remote Learning and the Honor Code: Tips for Students
Recommendations for Upholding the Honor Code in a Remote Teaching and Learning Environment
As the Stanford community adjusts to the new realities created by COVID-19 we recognize the unique challenges created by moving to a university-wide remote teaching and learning environment. To help aid students in adhering to the Honor Code within a remote learning environment, here are some suggestions for making this transition.
- Ensure you understand the expectations of each course and each assignment/exam. While this is a new experience for students as well as for instructors, the tenets of the Honor Code still apply. Students may only use resources/aid that is permitted in completing course assignments/exams, and instructors continue to have an obligation to avoid, as far as practicable, academic procedures that create temptations to violate the Honor Code. As such, it is crucial to understand the expectations for each course you are in and each assignment/exam. For example:
- Permitted vs. unpermitted collaboration. Understand when you are allowed to consult with other students about assignments and the boundaries of this collaboration. For example, when completing an individual assignment where peer collaboration is permitted, the expectation is still that your final assignment be solely in your own words and not shared with other students. Even when students put an equal amount of work into composing joint answers, collective responses are only appropriate for individual assignments when they are expressly permitted. Similarly, some courses allow a degree of collaboration but limit what can be discussed. In these situations, ensure you understand the line between permitted and unpermitted collaboration.
- Always cite your sources. If you use another’s ideas or words be sure to cite them. This includes concepts, structures, or computer code. Consult the course syllabus to understand citation expectations for each course and assignment. Ask questions if anything is unclear. Direct quotes must always be cited.
- Ask Questions: Ask the Professor and teaching staff for clarification if you are ever unsure about what constitutes a violation, citation expectations, or anything else related to the Honor Code.
- Understand what is permissible during open-book exams: One of the biggest differences between in-person and online courses is the prevalence of “open-book” take-home examinations. Open-book exams place no limitations on the materials or resources that a student may access during the exam. However, other people are not included in those materials/resources. Please note that open-book does not mean that you may consult another person (real or virtual), unless the professor explicitly states that collaboration is permitted.
- Do not consult websites such as translating services, tutoring services or question & answer sites: It is a violation of the Honor Code to use sites such as Google Translator, Stack Overflow, Quora, Chegg, online tutors, social media, or Q&A forums for the purpose of completing exams or homework assignments. This is akin to consulting another person, and is prohibited unless expressly permitted by the exam instructor.
- Engage with Campus Support Resources: COVID-19 and transitioning to a fully remote learning environment may create many new stressors. While most Stanford community members are learning, teaching, and working remotely, we are all still able to support each other. Below are some support resources that continue to be available to you throughout this remote quarter:
- Academic Support Resources
- Tutoring & Academic Support at Stanford is a repository of resources to help students with a myriad of academic issues, ranging from paper writing and citations, to course concepts, or getting your academic life more organized.
- The What is Plagiarism? page on the OCS website provides a number of resources for understanding and avoiding plagiarism.
- The Stanford University Libraries offer bibliography management tools (also known as citation or reference management tools) to help you organize your research sources and generate bibliographies in multiple citation formats.
- Personal Support Resources
- Engage with your teaching staff and classmates by video: Utilize video functionality while participating in remote classes and to connect with the teaching staff during office hours. Use virtual office hours to both ask questions about course content and clarify course/assignment expectations. You can also plan virtual study groups to connect with classmates (when collaboration is permitted).
- Treat a Zoom lecture like an in-person class: Come to Zoom classes prepared, don’t be on your phone, and be respectful to the teaching staff and your classmates. This means muting yourself when you’re not talking, using appropriate backgrounds, and only using the chat feature for professional and productive comments/questions.
- Report potential violations: Students have an obligation to take action if they are aware of other students violating the Honor Code. This may include reporting any potential violations you discover to the teaching staff and/or the Office of Community Standards (OCS).