Niema Moshiri and Janine Tiefenbruck Honored as UC San Diego Integrity Champions

The 12th annual Integrity Awards celebrate substantial contributions to academic, research and professional integrity
Apr 14, 2022
Niema Moshiri (left), a CSE assistant teaching professor, and Janine Tiefenbruck (right), a lecturer in the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute who was formerly with CSE, are among the three UC San Diego Integrity Award winners for 2022.

Efforts to ensure the integrity of remote learning developed by Niema Moshiri, an assistant teaching professor in UC San Diego’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Janine Tiefenbruck, a lecturer in the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute, were recognized at UC San Diego’s 12th annual Integrity Awards. Janine Tiefenbruck started as a lecturer in the Computer Science and Engineering department before joining the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute.

The Integrity Awards are an annual campus tradition organized by the Academic Integrity Office in collaboration with the Executive Vice Chancellor's Office and celebrated each Spring quarter. The awards acknowledge the contributions of community members unafraid to live by their principles and manifest one of the university’s most important core values: integrity.

Moshiri and Tiefenbruck devised data-driven frameworks to prevent cheating in emergency remote learning initiatives. They were honored during a virtual ceremony on April 13.

“Integrity is essential to our ongoing success at UC San Diego, as a university, a campus, and a community,” said Tricia Bertram Gallant, director of the Academic Integrity Office. “In the modern world, maintaining our integrity is easier said than done, which is why models for ethical behavior are so important. This year’s remarkable honorees embody integrity at its best, and their work is an example for us all.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, educators around the world have been forced to adapt quickly to a radically different educational landscape. While many remote learning initiatives have been successful, others have given rise to controversies around mercenary external proctoring companies and incentives for students to cheat. With their desire to create more reliable and productive alternatives, Tiefenbruck and Moshiri developed data-driven frameworks that help keep students honest and unlock new opportunities for true learning to take place.

Moshiri and Tiefenbruck each developed similar data-driven approaches to detecting exam collaboration, drawing heavily on the material they teach their own students.

“In an attempt to maintain academic rigor during remote exams, many courses have imposed various forms of surveillance, often in the form of remote proctoring services in which students are monitored by strangers and are sometimes even recorded, which has eroded trust,” Moshiri said. “Importantly, the tool is open-source and utilizes many computer science principles my students use in their own coursework, so I demonstrate the tool to them as a teaching moment as well as an exercise to solidify their trust in the process.”

Tiefenbruck noted the importance of integrity in remote teaching. “Integrity is important to me because of the many students I see working tirelessly in their classes. I want their hard work to be rewarded and their grades to be a reflection of what they’ve learned, which is impossible unless everyone is doing their part to present an honest picture of what they know. The collaboration tools we’ve created help ensure that the work each student submits is their own.”