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Virtual Learning: Honor Tips for Faculty

Tips for Maintaining the Honor Code in a Virtual Learning Environment

There are unique challenges and opportunities for learning in a virtual environment. The following tips will assist faculty in transitioning to virtual learning while still holding the strongest adherence to the Honor Code.

  • Remind students that the Honor Code applies in all courses, including those that involve, in whole or in part, online learning.
  • Establish clear expectations for students by including all course policies in your syllabus, introducing them to students on the first day of class, and reminding students about them throughout the semester, particularly around midterms and final examinations.
  • Provide opportunities for and encourage students to come to you or a teaching assistant if they have any questions about your expectations for assignments, citation preferences, and group work.
  • Clarify your stance on the use of prior semesters’ course materials for studying or the use of old materials to complete work submitted in your course.
  • Refer to the Center for Teaching’s guide, Academic Integrity: Grappling with Cheating and Plagiarism, which includes resources for faculty on preventing, detecting, and responding to plagiarism as well as a list of resources that can be shared with students.
  • Create a personal connection to the Honor Code and help the students feel accountable to it. Share an anecdote with your students or frame your course around professional ethics to help students understand that their commitment to Honor is important in your class but also well beyond.
  • Remain informed on the University’s Return to Campus Plan for updates for all University operations, including virtual learning.
  • If you have reason to believe that a violation of the Honor Code has occurred, refer to Chapter 9 of the Faculty Manual to determine next steps. To report a violation of the Honor Code to the Undergraduate Honor Council, use the Undergraduate Honor Code Incident Reporting Form.
  • Refer to the Vanderbilt Faculty Manual, the Faculty Guide to the Honor System, and the Honor System Chapter of the Student Handbook for more information about the Honor System at Vanderbilt.
  • Encourage students to connect with campus resources such as the Writing Studio, University Librarians, and the Center for Student Wellbeing’s academic skills coach.
  • Virtual learning may be hard for students to navigate along with other challenges that this semester may bring. If a student is exhibiting behaviors that are of concern in relation to their personal, physical, or emotional wellbeing or if you believe a student could benefit from increased support, complete the Student of Concern Reporting Form.