Quickly transitioning to a remote teaching and learning environment is challenging for educators (instructors & IAs) and students alike. Stress, along with the remote assessments, can increase the temptations and opportunities for integrity violations.

This means that even good students - even you - might be tempted to cheat during this particular and unique situation in which we all find ourselves. Just ask the 1042 (and counting) students who have already been reported this year for integrity violations.

It is up to YOU to maintain your integrity during this time.

But we are here for you!

The AI Office has developed and compiled some resources to help our UC San Diego students transition, survive and thrive in the remote instruction environment with integrity.

Tip 1. Understand How to Learn Remotely

Learning in a remote environment shares some similarities, but also some differences, with learning in the in-person environment. Don't assume it will be the same and simply use the same strategies that worked for you before. And don't assume it will be different - aka easier - and thus disengage from the environment.
Instead, use this as an opportunity to revisit and perhaps even re-invent the way you study and learn. 
The AI Office likes and endorses the strategies offered to you by The Commons. Check them out, but briefly they are:
  1. Watch the Video on their site for 3 keys to success: how to learn from video lectures, how to study for online/remote exams, and understanding the pass/no pass option
  2. identify your learning spaces
  3. know your course
  4. stay organized
  5. build your learning community
  6. stay engaged

Tip 2. Use UC San Diego Resources

The Academic Integrity Office wants you to STAY AWAY from non-UC San Diego resources/websites/tutoring companies that advertise themselves to you as being "helpful", or "caring" about you, or "learning platforms". They are none of those things. Most of these sites are predatory - they don't care about you or your learning. They want your business and they have been known to use the personal information you give them for their own profit - they have even been known to extort/threaten the very students who are their customers!
You are very fortunate at UC San Diego as our campus is rich with resources for you. Through the Commons, the Library, OASIS, Academic Success Coaches, and many, many other units, VIRTUAL services are available to you.
Here are just some of the campus VIRTUAL resources that exist to help you learn and thrive in your academic studies:
  1. Your course instructor and IAs. They are your first resource. So many instructors and IAs mention that students don't take advantage of their assistance - whether in "office hours" or by appointment/request. Reach out to them first if you're struggling
  2. Personalized Learning Strategies Tutoring - available virtually through the Commons
  3. Learning Strategies Workshops - available virtually through the Commons
  4. Content Tutoring - available virtually through the Commons
  5. Supplemental Instruction & Study Groups - available virtually through the Commons
  6. Writing Consultations & Workshops - available virtually through the Commons
  7. Student Success Coaching - available virtually from the Student Success Coaching Program
  8. OASIS 1:1 Mentor Sesssions & Academic Resource Workshops - available from OASIS
  9. Check with your academic department for any online/virtual tutoring options available

Tip 3. Remember Your Values

What core values guide your everyday decisions and actions?
What values are you most proud of or would want others to know?
Wat values would you want people to think of when they think of you?
Learning in a remote environment won't be easy. Keeping a tight focus on your core values will help you stay true to who you are. Go deep when you think about these values. We're not talking about things like "success" or "graduating" - those are extrinsic or performance-oriented goals. What are the values underlining those things? For example, for some the value is "caring" because success and graduation means that they are better positioned to care for their loved ones. For others, the value is "learning" because success and graduation means that they have learned something.
Write down the 4-5 values that are most important to you and remember them when you are in situations that are difficult or challenging.

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Tip 4. Focus on Learning

It is tempting to focus solely on passing a class or getting a degree while you are in University. After all, grades matter. However, grades and degrees only matter, they only have value in society, because they are meant to be SYMBOLS of something else - something more fundamental: learning, knowledge, skills, qualities, and capabilities. Without these underlying fundamentals, grades and degrees are empty and meaningless.

During this period of remote instruction, and when you come back to in-person instruction, focus on LEARNING and on mastering the content and the skills you can gain while being a student (e.g., time management, self-discipline, organization, communication, teamwork, written communication, oral communication). 

If you focus on learning, you will:

  • resist the temptation to reach out to online sites/outside services that promise things that are too good to be true (e.g., We promise to get you an A! We will help you write your paper and pass your course! Tell us your assignment and we'll get it done for you in 24 hours!)
  • reach out to your Instructor and/or IAs when you are struggling because they know the content and assessment standards best
  • use the UC San Diego resources established to help you learn and help you develop learning strategies
  • be satisfied with your successs and your failures, and not so focused on every single grade point
  • be less tempted to cheat to get that one more grade.

Tip 5. Know your Limits & Communicate

You are not a super hero - you are human.

The Spring quarter will be difficult, not just because it is remote, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic going on around us while we all still attempt to be students, instructors, IAs, and staff members. This will be hard on all of us.

Know your limits. Attend to self-care. Tune into what your mind and body are telling you. Build in leisure and stress-reducing activities. Again, UC San Diego has you covered!

Know your limits and communicate to your Instructor and your IAs.

  • If you need to, ask for an #integrityextension - it's better to ask for an extension to complete an assessment than to cheat to get it done on time.
  • reach out to admit you are struggling and ask for help - we know it can be difficult to do this, but it is better to ask them for help then to go to non-UCSD services (that might lead to you being alleged with an integrity violation)

Remember that a "bad grade" earned honestly is much easier to overcome than a "bad grade" earned by cheating.

Tip 6: Know What Is and Isn't Cheating

It is YOUR responsibility to understand what is, and isn't, cheating in each and every one of your classes. NOTE: the rules might be different from class to class and even assignment to assignment.

  1. Read the syllabus and course page(s) very carefully. Note what the Instructor tells you about cheating, plagiarism and integrity and ASK QUESTIONS if it isn't clear
  2. Get a refresher on the values of UC San Diego. Take the Integrity Tutorial that you took in your first quarter here.
  3. Remind yourself about proper citation and attribution practices when writing. Take the Library's Plagiarism Prevention Tutorial
  4. Not sure how to collaborate with integrity? Take the Collaboration with Integrity Tutorial offered by the Academic Integrity Office.
  5. Still not sure? Don't ask Reddit or WeChat or any other social media site. Ask us! You can always ask AI Office - no judgement. We're happy to give you advice. Just email us at aio@ucsd.edu or "walk into" our virtual front desk at https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/476444527

 

Tip 7. Create Boundaries & Rules for your Study Groups

In any instructional environment, whether remote or in-person, you will form study groups or other helpful groups with your fellow students. This can be great for learning!
However, such groups can also, unintentionally, lead to integrity violations. We recommend that if you set up such study or learning support groups amongst your friends that you set clear boundaries for what you will, and will not, do for each other. And, we recommend that you remind everyone that the purpose of the group is to help each other LEARN.
So, here are some boundaries we recommend:
  1. we will not share our assignments, exams, essays, homework, or answers to any assessment with each other
  2. we will not complete assignments or exams together when we were asked to complete them individually
  3. we will be fully transparent with our professors and communicate to them who are study group mates are so they can check for themselves that we worked together with integrity
  4. we will teach each other the material and we will share our knowledge, but not about the specific assignment or exam questions (unless we are allowed to collaborate, and then we will be transparent about that collaboration with our instructor).

Tip 8. Stay Away from Online "Help" Sites

We already said this above under Tip #2 but it bears repeating - stay away from onine sites like Quizlet, StudyBlue, Chegg, CourseHero, Studypool, etc., etc. Any site that offers you a platform for sharing material that isn't yours to share (e.g., professor's lectures, homeworks, assignments or exams; textbook solutions; article or book chapters) or "tutors" who will "help" you complete your academic work, is BAD FOR YOU. Not only do they not help you learn, but they can result in an academic integrity violation. Hundreds of students were reported after WI20 final exams for using these sites - not only before the exams themselves, but DURING the exams. In addition, students reported to the AI Office that they felt cheated by their own classmates who used these sites and thus bent the curve, negatively impacting every honest student's grades.

Do not let your temptation for a "good grade" negate your values and your focus on learning. Please stay away from these sites.

Tip 9: Use the 4 Tests for Making Decisions

Before you engage in any decision around taking an action to complete an assignment or exam (any type of learning assessment given to you by your instructor or IA), apply these 4 ethical tests:
  • Gut Feeling – do you feel, in your gut, that the action you are about to do is an ethical one?
  • Values Test –  would honesty, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness and/or fairness be upheld by your action?
  • Standards Test – would the action in the situation uphold the Policy on Integrity of Scholarship or the Instructor's course integrity standards?
  • Exposure Test – would you be okay if your action was exposed to the professor, the IA, your parent or the AI Office? 

If the answer to any of these questions is "NO", then it might be an unethical choice and you should reconsider engaging in it.

Tip 10: If You See Something, Say/Do Something

Don't let your friends get themselves into trouble by engaging in an integrity violation. If you see something about to happen, say something and try to stop it. You can do this by:

Recognizing the Ethical Issue (using the 4 tests in Tip 9)

Assess (All the possible IDEAs for Acting)

  • Interrupt – the behavior to stop a potential academic integrity violation from occurring
  • Direct – those involved to alternative actions that will allow them to excel with integrity
  • Engage – others (e.g., other students, Tutors/IAs, &/or the Instructor) to discuss options or to respond
  • Authorities – report the behavior to your supervisor, the Instructor &/or the Academic Integrity Office

 Decide (on the best IDEA for acting in your particular situation by reapplying the 4 tests)

  • Gut Feeling – which IDEA feels like it is the right one?
  • Values Test – which IDEA upholds honesty, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness and/or fairness?
  • Standards Test – which IDEA upholds course, professor or institutional standards?
  • Exposure Test – which IDEA would you feel comfortable sharing with the Academic Integrity Office?

Want regular access to new integrity tips, inspirations, and news-you-can-use?

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To view our previous newsletters, click on the links below!

Week 3 - Excel with Integrity Tips

Week 4 - Excel with Integrity Contests (win money!!!)

Week 5 - Making Effective Study Plans & News-You-Can-Use: We're Hiring Mentors!

Week 6 - Mental Health Tips & News-You-Can-Use: 1042 Cheating Reports and counting

If you need help or would just like to talk to someone about your integrity struggles, contact us please. You are welcome to visit us in our Virtual Front Desk - https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/476444527 - or email us at aio@ucsd.edu

Take care and remember to #excelwithintegrity