As ChatGPT, a generative artificial intelligence tool released by OpenAI in November 2022, becomes increasingly popular, universities across the US are struggling to adjust to students using the tool to cheat and plagiarize schoolwork.
A report from The New York Times highlights that the academic community is doing what it can to adapt the school system in response to the growing number of students who use the AI chatbot.
School Systems Adapting
Northern Michigan University philosophy professor Antony Aumann is one of many professors who have modified their essay-writing requirements for their classes, requiring students to write first drafts in the classroom and later drafts with explanations of each revision.
Other professors are redesigning their courses, including more oral exams, group projects, and handwritten assessments instead of typed ones. To prevent cheating, public school systems in New York City and Seattle have banned the tool from school Wi-Fi networks and devices, but students can easily access ChatGPT.
However, higher education institutions like colleges and universities have been hesitant to prohibit the AI tool because they wonder whether or not such a move would be effective and want to maintain academic freedom.
As a result, ChatGPT has risen to the top of many universities’ priority lists, with administrators forming task forces and holding university-wide discussions to respond to the tool, with much of the advice focusing on technology adaptation.
This is a serious issue that the school system is dealing with, as even plagiarism detection services admitted that ChatGPT’s capabilities caught them off guard.
Eric Wang, Turnitin’s vice president of artificial intelligence, told Bloomberg that AI will only become more sophisticated, possibly at a quick rate.
Adjusting School Requirements
The hashtag #chatgpt has over 578 million views on TikTok, with users sharing videos of the tool writing papers and some openly publicizing cheating. As more students become acquainted with technology, schools are taking notice.
At schools such as George Washington University, Rutgers University, and Appalachian State University, professors are looking to replace take-home, open-book assignments with in-class assignments, handwritten papers, group projects, and oral exams.
Additionally, universities are trying to educate students about the new artificial intelligence tools. For example, the University at Buffalo and Furman University have stated that they intend to incorporate a discussion of artificial intelligence (AI) tools into required courses that teach students about themes such as academic integrity.
With the rise of fraud and cheating issues, one of the creators of OpenAI believes it is time to place a watermark on AI-generated texts to ensure system safety.
An OpenAI visiting researcher is working on a method to “statistically watermark the outputs of a text [AI system],” according to TechCrunch. In a lecture, computer science professor Scott Aaronson stated that whenever a system generates text like ChatGPT, the tool will include an “unnoticeable secret signal” revealing where the content originated.
In the United Kingdom, the computer science faculty and staff at University College London recently decided to modify student evaluation. Students are no longer given the option of choosing between essay-based and skills-based final coursework assessments.