The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT pose an added layer of complexity for academics seeking to minimise student cheating. This article was prepared to assist lecturers and teachers to identify and design strategies to address student use of such technologies, which by offer the seductive temptation to shortcut true learning.
In approaching this topic, I have designed a series of questions for ChatGPT that illustrate its current capabilities and use these to provide a resource. These questions and responses are provided below verbatim, as per the interaction.
Produce a referenced academic section of text on student cheating using ChatGPT
Cheating in academic settings has been a persistent problem for decades, and recent advances in technology have made it easier than ever for students to engage in academic dishonesty. One technology that has raised concerns in this regard is ChatGPT, an AI language model that can generate text responses to a wide range of prompts.
While ChatGPT can be a useful tool for students to improve their writing skills and gain insights into complex topics, it also has the potential to be misused for academic dishonesty. Some students may use ChatGPT to generate entire assignments, or to provide answers to exam questions, without putting in the required effort or engaging in critical thinking.
This type of behavior undermines the integrity of the academic system, and can have serious consequences for students who are caught cheating. According to a study by McCabe et al. (2016), students who engage in academic dishonesty are more likely to experience long-term negative consequences, such as lower academic achievement, decreased job opportunities, and damaged reputations.
To address the problem of ChatGPT-generated cheating, academics must take proactive steps to educate students on the importance of academic integrity and the consequences of academic dishonesty. This includes teaching students how to use ChatGPT and other AI tools responsibly, and how to properly cite and reference sources in their work.
In addition, academics can employ a variety of strategies to minimize the risk of ChatGPT-generated cheating, such as designing assignments that require original thought and critical thinking, using plagiarism detection software to identify potentially problematic submissions, and providing clear guidelines and expectations for student work.
Overall, while ChatGPT can be a valuable tool for students, it is important to recognize the potential for misuse and take proactive steps to prevent academic dishonesty. By educating students on the importance of academic integrity and implementing strategies to minimize the risk of cheating, academics can help ensure that students are prepared to succeed in their academic and professional careers, while upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct.
Reference: McCabe, D. L., Trevino, L. K., & Butterfield, K. D. (2016). Cheating in college: Why students do it and what educators can do about it. JHU Press.
What are the key indicators that would help an academic to identify student assignment work written using ChatGPT from something prepared themselves?
As an AI language model, ChatGPT can generate responses that are highly similar to human-written text. However, there are some key indicators that an academic could use to identify student assignment work that was written using ChatGPT. Here are some potential indicators to consider:
- Consistency: If the writing style, tone, and vocabulary used throughout the assignment are highly consistent, this could be an indication that the work was generated by an AI language model like ChatGPT. This is because AI-generated text tends to be very consistent in its language and style.
- Lack of errors: Since ChatGPT is a computer program, it does not make grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. If an assignment is completely free of such errors, this could be a potential indicator that the work was generated using an AI language model.
- Unusual language or phrasing: While ChatGPT is trained to produce human-like responses, it may occasionally use unusual language or phrasing that would be unlikely to be produced by a human. This could be a sign that the work was generated by an AI language model.
- Poorly developed arguments or lack of originality: ChatGPT is capable of generating responses based on pre-existing information, but it may struggle to develop original or complex arguments. If an assignment lacks originality or is poorly developed, this could be a sign that the work was generated by an AI language model.
- Limited research or citations: AI language models like ChatGPT do not have access to the same depth and breadth of knowledge as human researchers. If an assignment lacks extensive research or citations, this could be a sign that the work was generated by an AI language model.
It’s important to note that none of these indicators alone can definitively prove that an assignment was generated using an AI language model like ChatGPT. However, if several of these indicators are present in an assignment, it may be worth investigating further to determine whether the work was created by a student or an AI language model.
How might an academic structure assignment questions to minimise the risk of students relying on ChatGPT instead of their own efforts?
There are several strategies that academics can use to structure assignment questions in a way that minimizes the risk of students relying on ChatGPT instead of their own efforts. Here are some potential strategies to consider:
- Use open-ended questions: Open-ended questions are questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” response. These types of questions require students to think critically and creatively, and to draw upon their own knowledge and experiences to construct a response. By using open-ended questions, academics can encourage students to engage with the material in a meaningful way, rather than relying on ChatGPT to provide them with answers.
- Provide clear instructions and guidelines: When creating assignments, it’s important to provide students with clear instructions and guidelines for how to approach the assignment. This includes specifying the required length of the response, the types of sources that should be used, and any specific formatting requirements. By providing clear instructions, academics can help ensure that students are able to complete the assignment successfully without relying on ChatGPT.
- Incorporate group work and class discussions: Collaborative learning activities like group work and class discussions can help students develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. By working with their peers to discuss and analyze the material, students are less likely to rely on ChatGPT to provide them with answers.
- Include real-world scenarios: By using real-world scenarios and case studies in assignments, academics can help students connect the material to their own experiences and develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. This can help students engage with the material more meaningfully and be less likely to rely on ChatGPT to provide them with answers.
- Create personalized assignments: By creating assignments that are tailored to each student’s individual interests and experiences, academics can help students feel more invested in the material and less likely to rely on ChatGPT to provide them with answers. Personalized assignments can also help students develop their own ideas and insights, rather than relying on ChatGPT-generated responses.
Overall, the key to minimizing the risk of students relying on ChatGPT is to create assignments that require students to think critically and creatively, and to engage with the material in a meaningful way. By providing clear instructions and guidelines, incorporating group work and class discussions, and using real-world scenarios and personalized assignments, academics can encourage students to take ownership of their own learning and be less likely to rely on AI-generated responses.
What resources does ChatGPT not have access to that academics might ask students to reference in assignment responses to assist them to demonstrate independent research and critical thinking?
As an AI language model, ChatGPT does not have access to all the resources that academics might ask students to reference in their assignment responses. Here are some examples of resources that ChatGPT might not have access to:
- Primary sources: Primary sources are original sources of information, such as letters, diaries, and photographs, that provide firsthand accounts of events or experiences. ChatGPT does not have the ability to access primary sources, which can be valuable for demonstrating independent research and critical thinking.
- Academic journals and books: Academic journals and books are typically written by experts in a particular field and are peer-reviewed, meaning they have been evaluated by other experts in the field before publication. These resources can be valuable for demonstrating critical thinking and independent research, as they require students to evaluate and synthesize complex information.
- Specialized databases: Many academic disciplines have specialized databases that provide access to a wide range of information, including scholarly articles, reports, and other resources. These databases often require specialized knowledge and skills to search effectively, which can demonstrate independent research and critical thinking.
- Interviews and surveys: Interviews and surveys can provide firsthand accounts of experiences or opinions, and can be valuable for demonstrating independent research and critical thinking. ChatGPT does not have the ability to conduct interviews or surveys, which can be a valuable tool for gathering original data.
- Fieldwork and observation: Fieldwork and observation can provide firsthand experiences and data that can be valuable for demonstrating independent research and critical thinking. ChatGPT does not have the ability to conduct fieldwork or make observations, which can be a valuable tool for gathering original data.
By asking students to reference these types of resources in their assignment responses, academics can encourage independent research and critical thinking, and help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their academic and professional careers.