Teachers are getting creative to stop students from using AI to cheat

Teachers are getting creative to stop students from using AI to cheat

  • Some teachers say students are using new technology to pass off AI-generated content as their own.
  • Academics worry that universities are not ready to combat the new style of cheating.
  • Teachers say they are considering going back to written assessments and oral exams.

University professors are feeling the heat when it comes to AI.

Some teachers say that students are using the OpenAI chatbot, ChatGPT, to pass off AI-generated content as their own.

Antony Aumann, a philosophy professor at Northern Michigan University, and Darren Hick, a philosophy professor at Furman University, say they have caught students submitting essays written by ChatGPT.

The problem has prompted professors to consider creative ways to end the use of AI in universities.

Blue books and oral exams

“I’m stumped on how to handle AI in the future,” Aumann told Insider.

He said one way he was considering tackling the problem was to switch to locked browsers, a type of software that aims to prevent students from cheating when taking tests online or remotely.

Other academics are considering more drastic action.

“I’m planning to go medieval with the students and go back to oral exams,” said Christopher Bartel, a philosophy professor at Appalachian State University. “They can generate AI text throughout the day in their notes if they want, but if they have to be able to speak it, that’s a different thing.”

However, Bartel said there were inclusion concerns surrounding this. “Students having deep social anxieties about public speaking is something we’ll have to address.”

“Another way to deal with AI is for teachers to avoid giving students assignments that are very well covered,” he said. “If students have to be able to engage with a unique idea that hasn’t been covered very deeply elsewhere, there won’t be much text for the AI ​​generator to pull from.”

Aumann said some teachers were suggesting going back to traditional written assessments like blue books.

“Since students would be writing their essays in class by hand, they wouldn’t have an opportunity to cheat by consulting the chatbot,” he said.

‘The genie is out of the bottle’

Although there were red flags in the AI-generated trials that alerted both Aumann and Hick to using ChatGPT, Aumann believes they are only temporary.

He said the chatbot’s essays lacked individual personality, but after playing around with it, he was able to get it to write less formally. “I think any of the red flags that we have are only temporary to the extent that students are able to move,” she said.

“My concern is that the genie is out of the bottle,” said Hick, who believed the technology would improve. “That’s kind of unavoidable,” he said.

Bartel agreed that students could get away with using AI very easily. “If you ask the program to write a paragraph summarizing one idea, then a paragraph summarizing another idea, and edit them together, it would be completely untraceable for me and might even make a decent essay,” he said.

An OpenAI representative told Insider that they did not want ChatGPT to be used for deceptive purposes.

“Our policies require users to be honest with their audience when using our API and creative tools like DALL-E and GPT-3,” the representative said. “We are already developing mitigations to help anyone identify text generated by that system.”

Although there are AI detection programs that offer an analysis of the probability that the text is written by an AI program, some academics are concerned that this is not enough to prove a case of AI plagiarism.

“We’ll need something to account for the fact that we now have an imperfect way of testing whether or not something is false,” Bartel said. “I don’t know what that new policy is.”

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