Originally Posted by hyperskeptic
If it's really just a class assignment and never goes past the instructor's desk, then the standards of research ethics are slightly less stringent. The student doesn't have to get her research protocol approved by the IRB.
The student doesn't, but the prof does before handing out the assignment. At least, that's the rule here. Usually this is done once for a recurring class, and the approval is renewed on an annual basis.