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Remote Teaching and the Honor Code: Tips for Faculty and Teaching Assistants

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Recommendations for Upholding the Honor Code in a Remote Teaching and Learning Environment

The Tips for Faculty and Teaching Assistants section of the OCS website includes suggestions for best practices and information about what is/is not permitted under the Honor Code. Much of this information applies to the remote teaching and learning environment.

The remote teaching and learning environment also presents unique challenges. To help aid the transition to remote learning for both instructors and students, here are some suggestions that teaching staff can utilize while making this transition:

  • Set clear expectations:  While this is a new experience for students and instructors, the tenets of the Honor Code still apply. Students may only use resources/aid that is permitted in completing course assignments, 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 clearly set forth your expectations for the course and each assignment. For example:

    • Define permitted vs. unpermitted collaboration. When students are allowed to consult with each other about assignments, but are not allowed to submit group work for credit, be as clear as possible both orally and in writing about where the boundary lies between permitted and unpermitted collaboration or consultation. Clarify if/when the final work product must be exclusively the individual student’s own work and not shared with any other students.

    • Clarify your citation expectations for each assignment/exam. Clearly state these expectations in your syllabus and directions for each assignment/exam.

    • Discuss plagiarism. Do not assume your students know how to cite properly. Many upperclassmen and even graduate students have been found guilty of plagiarizing. It is important to discuss plagiarism and to provide examples of adequate and inadequate acknowledgment of sources. If you are in a technical field it is important to emphasize that using the concepts, structures, or computer code of another without acknowledgment is also plagiarism.

  • Discuss the Honor Code and its importance: Share some personal thoughts about why you value academic integrity. Link your support of the Honor Code to its importance in your discipline and profession. The most profound discussions often involve personal stories about your experiences with the Honor Code or issues of academic integrity.

  • Set consistent shared expectations: Communicate with teaching staff including teaching assistants and section leaders to ensure that there is consistent communication and shared expectations for students. Give clear, advance notice if you will be using plagiarism detection software.

  • Be available for questions: We suggest holding virtual office hours so that students can regularly connect with you for questions about course/assignment expectations.  Be open to student suggestions on how to improve requirements and procedures.

  • Reduce temptations to violate the Honor code: Avoid assignments or exam problems where students have access to past solutions.

  • Report potential violations: It is impermissible to engage in penalty grading as an alternative to reporting a potential Honor Code violation. Report any potential violations you discover to the Office of Community Standards (OCS). Similarly, remind students of their obligation to take action if they are aware of other students violating the Honor Code. This may include reporting a problem to the teaching staff or directly to the OCS.

If you have questions about administering remote examinations, please refer to the Teach Anywhere website for guidance.