Academic Integrity Seminar


The purpose of AI Seminar is to provide students a structured opportunity to learn from their experience, develop their ethical decision-making skills, and learn more about academic integrity and cheating at UCSD. 

Learning Objectives 

The participants in AI Seminar will:


  • underlying ethical and moral principles of academic integrity
  • the importance of academic integrity to all stakeholders (self, instructor, UCSD, and society)
  • one’s own beliefs about “legitimate academic work” and how these align (or do not align) with academic integrity expectations at UCSD


  • the contributing factors to academic misconduct on campus
  • one’s personal experience---what led to the decision to act and what can be learned
  • ethical decision making strategies and the resolution of “right versus right” dilemmas 


  • a personal goal statement/vision for engaging in academic work with integrity
  • a strategic plan for addressing weaknesses that lead to integrity violations
  • a list of ethical/honest solutions to common ethical dilemmas

To successfully reach these Learning Objectives and complete this Seminar, carefully read the information in each of the following sections:

1. Seminar Format

The format of this seminar is structured to address individual student needs/unique situations while attending to larger/common organizational concerns with academic misconduct. Students have the opportunity to actively develop notions of ethics in relation to academic integrity by reflecting on ethical scenarios while connecting them to broader ethical conceptualizations. We will accomplish this through:

  • a one-on-one peer advisor consultation via Zoom (see Step 2 below)
  • four class meetings (50 minutes per week for 4 weeks)
  • out-of-class assignments, allowing students time for reflection and learning.

2. Seminar Expectations and Standards

In order for the seminar process to function well, the following rules and expectations must be respected and observed by all students, Peer Educators, and Instructors.

  1. Punctuality. Respecting time boundaries is a key component of this seminar process. As meeting times are limited and schedules are precisely planned to maximize learning opportunities, it is expected that you be on time to all meetings. 
  2. No cell phones, laptops, or other communication devices should be on during seminar or one-on-one meetings. Staying present to other individuals and/or groups without external distraction is fundamental to ensuring that all members have the opportunity to learn from one another.
  3. Confidentiality. Although individuals are not obligated to share personal information about themselves or their violation, the seminar is designed as a safe space wherein individuals can feel free to discuss information that is considered personal and/or private. Thus, by participating in this seminar, you may learn confidential and personal information about other students. Communicating such information in any way that it may be attributed to an individual is not permitted. However, you should feel free to share what you learn or insights you’ve gained.
  4. Participation and Respect. All individuals, including students and the instructional team, have experiences and opinions that enrich learning in the seminar process. Each individual’s participation may vary; you are expected to participate as works for you in the seminar process through small group discussions, large group discussions, and one-on-one meetings.  The goal is not to speak for the sake of speaking, but rather to enrich the learning process through consistent participation. You will find that if you are open to participation, you will feel activated to discuss various topics at various times in an instinctive manner. Participation also relies on the expectation of respect for others ideas, opinions, and values.  Such respect may come in the form of sharing time in discussions for all individuals to speak, as well as listening and learning from differing viewpoints.
  5. Meeting Deadlines. Seminar assignments are designed with the intent of reaching specific learning outcomes, wherein deadlines are set at key points within the seminar process. Time management and meeting all deadlines is required.  If for any reason, you cannot meet a deadline, please contact the instructor immediately. 

3. Enroll in a Section

After you complete all of the AI Training Universal Pre-Requisites, you will be able to enroll in a seminar section. This can be done in the seminar module on Canvas. If you enroll in a section before completing your pre-requisites, you will be dropped from the seminar and asked to re-enroll after you have completed them.

You will not be able to enroll in a seminar section until you have completed the AI Training Universal Pre-Requisites

NOTE: when choosing your Seminar section, make sure the first meeting of the section occurs AFTER your scheduled 1:1 Universal Pre-Requisite meeting. 

4. Attend Class Meeting #1

For exact date, time, and Zoom link, see the seminar schedule (on Canvas) for your section.

You are not required to bring any materials to your first section meeting. However, make sure you are familiar with the Expectation and Standards (Step 2), especially make sure to arrive ON TIME.

5. Attend Class Meeting #2

For exact date, time, and Zoom link, see the seminar schedule (on Canvas) for your section.

Make sure to bring the handouts that were distributed during Meeting #1 to Meeting #2. Get familiar with them as they will be discussed in this section.  

6. Write Your Ethical Dilemma Draft


This assignment offers you the opportunity to explore the ethical decision-making process introduced in the seminar and apply the steps to a current ethical dilemma that you are facing.


This assignment has TWO DEADLINE DATES:

  1. The DRAFT is due uploaded to Canvas by 11:59pm the night before our third seminar meeting (For exact date and time see the seminar schedule for your section). Instructions are below.
  2. The FINAL is due one week after your final Seminar meeting (for exact date, see Schedule & Deadlines document) Instructions are below.

You must upload your draft to Canvas by 11:59pm the night before your third meeting.

It is ok to use notes and bullet points, but you must express complete thoughts. The important thing is to work through all of the information in a way that others can understand. Include details and fully answer ALL parts of the assignment.

Step 1: Choose your Ethical Dilemmas

Think of an ethical dilemma that you are currently involved in (this is not about your integrity violation and cannot be a situation that you have already resolved!). An ethical dilemma is a conflict between two (or more) “rights” (e.g. honesty, trust, responsibility, respect, comfort, security, happiness, freedom). We all face multiple ethical dilemmas throughout our lives and there is no doubt that you are facing some right now! These may be short, immediate issues, or on-going, spread over years. They may be small or large.

If you are having trouble coming up with something, schedule a preliminary meeting with a peer educator to talk about ideas for you to write about.

The situation you choose should be one that is not easy to work through. You should not be sure what to do. The point of this assignment is to practice thinking through the dilemma and to get consultation on what you should do---if it isn’t difficult, it wouldn’t be a dilemma and you wouldn’t need consultation.

Make sure it is a current dilemma involving you, where you are conflicted between multiple right options and there is not a clear right answer

Step 2: Describe the dilemma

  • Why is it an ethical dilemma? Identify and discuss all conflicting values, principles, and/or interests involved.   
  • Discuss any rules or behavioral standards that could be violated by taking one action or another.  
  • What are the contributing factors that led to the situation?

Step 3: Identify the stakeholders (those involved in and potentially affected by the dilemma)

  • Who is involved (hint: it is probably more people than you think at first!) Think about the ripple effect of choices and actions in regard to this dilemma. List all the possible stakeholders.  
  • Next to each stakeholder, explain why that person could be affected (both positively and negatively) by this situation.

Step 4: List possible options for resolving your ethical dilemmas.

  • Think up as many choices for action as you can. What could you do to resolve the situation?
    List at least 6 or 7 options here.

Step 5: Review your Options

  • Of all the options for action you listed, identify and discuss 2 or 3 that might be the “right” course of action. For each action, discuss the following:
    • What would the possible consequences, both positive and negative, be and which stakeholders could be affected?
    • What values or principles would this choice likely undermine or uphold (e.g. honesty, trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, or fairness)? How would these values be upheld or undermined?
    • What rules, standards, codes of ethics, policies, and/or guidelines might each choice uphold or violate?

Step 6: Write down at least 5 questions you want to ask your Peer Educator and your group that may help you navigate the ethical dilemma.

During Meeting 3, your Peer Educator and group will help you think through your dilemma, answer your questions, and develop your ideas. This process will help you think more clearly and carefully about your situation, will help you revise your draft, and will help you choose the “right” course of action.

Think about:

  • What would help you clarify the situation?
  • What issues would you like input on? 

Go beyond questions such as “what should I do?”. Instead, focus on questions that serve to uncover new perspectives and ways of navigating your dilemma (e.g. What do you think this dilemma uncovers about my values/perspective? Do you think I have any “blind spots” when discussing this dilemma? Have I missed any stakeholders? Are there options that I am not seeing? Etc.). 

Step 7: Upload your draft to Canvas by 11:59pm the night before our 3rd seminar meeting (for exact date and time see the seminar schedule for your section on Canvas).

You will be discussing the draft of your assignment in our third seminar meeting. It is your responsibility to use that opportunity to get all the feedback you would like on your dilemma and your assignment.  

After your discussion in Meeting 3…

Step 8: Revise your draft based on feedback and insights gained in seminar. Add a discussion of the “right” course of action that you will take.

Remember, in an ethical dilemma, the “right” course of action often does (at least) one of the following:

  • Elicits the greatest good and the least harm 
  • Is congruent with a guiding framework which can be applied universally (to all situations)
  • Serves the common good of the community involved
  • Is most fair to all involved

In your discussion of your choice of action, include the following:

  • Identify which action you have decided is the “right” course of action that you will take. 
  • Reflect on and discuss what thoughts, interactions, and learnings have led you to your “right” course of action.  Why do you believe it is the best option? 
  • In an ethical dilemma, the “right” choice isn’t easy to make and often comes with some negative repercussions.  Describe those repercussions (e.g. What frustrations, challenges, or obstacles do you foresee in choosing the “right” course of action? What actions can you take to mitigate them?)
  • What reasons/motivations do you have for choosing the “right” course of action despite such obstacles? 

Step 9: Submit your final draft on Canvas

Your ethical dilemma assignment must be submitted through Canvas no later than 11:59 pm one week after your final seminar meeting. If you have any concerns about your ability to meet this deadline, please contact the seminar instructor. 

Instructions for the FINAL PRODUCT:

  • The final of this assignment is to be submitted through Canvas. Links can be found in the module for the AI Seminar. 
  • Your final assignment must be uploaded by 11:59PM one week after your final seminar meeting.
  • For exact due date, see Schedule & Deadlines document posted on Canvas.
  • This assignment does not have to be completely narrated. Some steps are better expressed as bullet points (e.g., step 3 & 4), and you may keep them as such in your final draft.
  • There is no maximum page limit for your case analysis, but if you wrote it in essay form, we suspect it will take you at least 2 pages, double-spaced, Times New Roman font (12pt) to accomplish the learning objectives. If you use bullet points, your assignment may be longer.

Sources used in crafting this assignment:

Johnson, C.E. (2007). Ethics in the workplace: Tools and tactics for organizational transformation. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Kidder, R. (1995). How good people make tough decisions: Resolving the dilemmas of ethical living. NY: Simon & Schuster.

Rest, J.R. (1986). Moral development: Advances in research and theory. New York: Praeger.

7. Attend Class Meeting #3

Bring 2 hard copies of this DRAFT to our 3rd seminar meeting (for exact date and time see the seminar schedule for your section).

During the seminar, your peer educator and your discussion group will help you to think through your cases, answer your questions, and develop your ideas. This process will help you to decide which dilemma to write about and also help you to think more clearly and carefully about your situation.

8. Write Your Recognizing and Responding to Justifications Draft


This assignment offers you the opportunity to think more deeply about an incident, an unethical choice, in your life; either your AI incident or a time in your life when you violated one of the core principles of integrity (honesty, respect, responsibility, fairness and trustworthiness).  You will look at the contributing factors including personal weaknesses and external obstacles as well as justifications for the incident. You will also respond to those justifications while drawing on your personal values and the values associated with integrity.


  • You can use bullet point or lists in your assignment; you do not have to write everything in full essay form.  However, you will need to express your thoughts fully and completely.
  • To begin, decide what incident of unethical behavior in your life you would like to explore further: your academic integrity violation or a different past incident in which you violated a core principle of integrity. Next, write about the following prompts in relation to that incident.
  • You MUST bring TWO PRINTED copies of your assignment to our fourth seminar meeting.
  • Submit your revised assignment through Canvas by 11:59 pm one week after your final seminar meeting. For exact due date, see Schedule & Deadlines document posted on Canvas.

Your DRAFT is due at the fourth Seminar meeting.  

You must have 2 copies of your assignment PRINTED OUT.

A.  Contributing Factors
Looking at the incident, what external frustrations, challenges or obstacles (ie. circumstances beyond your control) might have contributed to your choice(s) and interfered with your ethical decision-making?  Detail at least two.

Thinking about yourself, what weaknesses did/do you have that may have contributed to your choice(s) and interfered with your ethical decision-making? Detail at least two.

B. Justifications
When we make a choice that is inconsistent with our core beliefs and values, we often try to justify the behavior to make ourselves feel better.

How did you justify your choices and lack of ethical decision-making?  What did you say to yourself before, during and after the incident to make yourself feel better or correct in your course of action (ie. “I needed a good grade because I want to get into grad school”, “It is none of my business so I won’t get involved”)? 

List at least three.  Write several sentences for each justification, exploring them in detail, explaining how each is connected to the action.  

Do these justifications sound familiar to you?  Have you used these before in other situations (is there a pattern)?  If not, write about at least two other justifications that you have more typically used to try to excuse choices or behavior.

A.  Responding to Justifications
Thinking about your core beliefs and values as well as the values associated with integrity, respond to at least three of your most common justifications, writing at least a paragraph for each.

  • Are there assumptions or falsehoods underlying those justifications?
  • If there are truths in the justifications (ie. You do want to get into grad school), why does that not excuse or justify the behavior/choice?
  • What could you have done instead?
  • What can you do in the future to confront justifications before they lead you to an unethical choice?

You MUST bring 2 printed copies to our fourth seminar meeting.  You must upload your revised assignment to Canvas by 11:59 pm one week after our final meeting. 

9. Attend Class Meeting #4

Bring 2 printed copies of your Recognizing and Responding to Justifications Draft to your 4th seminar meeting (For exact date, time, and Zoom link, see the seminar schedule (on Canvas) for your section).

10. Write & Submit Your Apply Your Learnings Assignment

There are two purposes to this assignment:

  1. to provide you a structured opportunity to actively experiment with your new knowledge and understanding of academic integrity
  2. to practice writing and talking about your academic integrity violation for such things as graduate and professional school applications.

First, consider applications you might be completing in the future which may require you to talk about your academic integrity violation (e.g., dental, medical, pharmacy, graduate school applications). Second, compose an essay that does the following four things:

  1. Conveys critical information points about your violation (i.e., what happened/what mistake did you make, what led to this error, what were the harms/negative impacts to others, what happened/how it was resolved); 
  2. Includes a constructive analysis of the situation, paying particular attention to what you could have done differently; 
  3. Includes what you have learned as a result of the violation and participation in the AI Seminar and relate those learnings to your future (i.e., how it will make you a better doctor, dentist, accountant, engineer, or your profession of choice). 

    Remember to be as specific as possible. It may help to incorporate a particular example of how you have already changed and connect it to how it will make you better in your chosen profession. 

  4. Articulates how your experience can actually benefit the employer/school to which you are applying (i.e., how will what you learned from this experience help your future school and/or profession?; what will your specific contribution be?). 

Note: While you can’t predict the future, it is recommended that you continue to write as concretely as possible. It may help to think of examples of the most likely ways that your experience will assist your contributions to future academic and professional communities.  

The Seminar Instructor will give you feedback should you ever want to actually modify this essay for use in the future.

FINAL NOTES: In order for you to facilitate your meeting of the specified learning objectives, the final submission of this Essay would have to be at least 500 words (much longer than an actual application essay might be), but you use as many words as you need to use to convey your learnings and yourself in a convincing and compelling way.


Late/No-Show Policy

Because much of the learning happens during the meetings, timeliness & attendance at the Seminar meetings is mandatory! If you enroll in the seminar but do not show or arrive late to the Section Meetings or One-on-One Meetings, you will FAIL Seminar.

It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to take note of your meeting dates, times and locations (NOTE: responsibility is one of the five fundamental values of academic integrity). If you cannot meet these responsibilities, you must contact the AI Office or AI Seminar Instructor to communicate what is going on.

Assignments/Assessments Policy

Because learning occurs through the assignments and assessments, timely completion of them is mandatory!

If you fail to submit any assignments or assessments by the deadline, you will FAIL Seminar.

It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to download the Seminar syllabus from Canvastake note of when assignments and assessments are due and submit them on time. If you cannot meet these responsibilities, you must contact the AI Office or AI Seminar Instructor to communicate what is going on.


There are only two grades for this seminar--- Pass or Fail. 

PASS: complete the prerequisites, attend all seminar meetings on time, submit all assignments by the deadline and with clear thought and engagement, participate in the seminar activities and discussions, and meet all outlined seminar expectations, standards and policies.

FAIL: failure to do any of the above. If you fail, $50 will be charged to your student account and additional sanctions may be imposed.

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