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AI Learning Tools: Academic Integrity

Policy & Syllabus Language

From the Provost's Office - It is vital that faculty be very specific about when and how AI can be used. Otherwise, charges of academic dishonesty will be hard to uphold if appealed.

What can I do to encourage academic integrity?

Currently, there is no equivalent of Turnitin for checking student work for the use of AI. There are beta versions of some tools like GPTZero and the ZeroGPT (Bowman, 2023) that purport to detect and report the likelihood that text has been generated using AI, however, these tools are not completely reliable and should not be used as plagiarism detectors. OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, is developing a prototype of a watermarking tool that will help flag text as AI-generated (Morrison, 2023). Turnitin is also in the process of enhancing its products’ AI-detection capabilities (Caren, 2022).

Many inclusive teaching strategies also encourage academic integrity:

  • Clearly communicate whether and how generative AI tools can be used in syllabi. For examples, see this list of sample policy statements that address AI use and their sources.
  • Talk to students about why academic integrity matters and the ethical and practical implications of academic integrity violations. Emphasize your trust in your students and your belief that they can successfully complete coursework themselves. Invite students to ask questions and attend office hours if they are confused or feel unable to successfully complete their work.
  • Decrease the motivation to commit academic integrity violations by building students’ intrinsic motivation to engage in coursework fully. Some strategies for building intrinsic motivation include emphasizing the relevance of learning tasks, creating authentic assessments, and giving students choices about how to express their learning (e.g. allowing students to select a topic or determine what type of learning artifact to create) (Lang, 2013).
  • Reduce students’ assessment anxiety, which can contribute to the likelihood of academic integrity violations, by incorporating low-stakes assessments and scaffolded assignments that allow students to receive periodic feedback and improve their work over time.
  • Develop assignments that cannot successfully be completed using AI tools. This might involve having students complete part or all of the assignment during class or designing assignments that include tasks that are outside of ChatGPT’s current capabilities. Examples might include assignments that require students to draw from recent events or class discussions or assignments that incorporate research and citations which you can then check.

Generative AI & Academic Dishonesty

Over the course of the last academic year, Penn College has experienced multiple cases of academic dishonesty related to unauthorized use of generative AI. While most cases relate specifically to submission of writing assignments generated using AI technologies, some have been used in the development of images and other more complex assignments.

Indicators of AI Use

  • A submission appears to be significantly more advanced than prior work completed by the student. Specifically, the submission demonstrates a use of language, grammar, or phrasing inconsistent with a student’s previous assignment submissions.
  • Obviously citable statistics, information, or other data is present (and summarized) without use of citation.
  • Citations provided (including links) do not lead to verifiable sources. Generally, these links don’t lead to anything at all.
  • The development of a student’s assignment quickly accelerates within a short period of time that is inconsistent with the amount of research or effort required to complete.
  • The submission does not meet the specific or personalized elements of an assignment.

Tips for Determining AI Use

Many AI “checkers” appear to be unreliable and may indicate a use of AI where there is none. Consider using multiple options to determine if a consistent finding is present (Turnitin, Sapling, ZeroGPT, GPTZero, etch). In addition to use of these tools, consider some of the following when attempting to determine if work is original:

  • Has the student completed other elements of a project or assignment that you believe to be the original work of the student?
  • Can the student provide notes, outlines, drafts, research, or other reference materials that indicate preparation for the assignment/intent to complete it?
  • Can the student verbally summarize or appropriately explain the concepts associated with the assignment that would indicate a level of mastery?
  • Are there accurate citations or attribution of sources in some portions of the assignment?

Other Considerations

  • Are there assignments or activities that can be completed in class that would help to benchmark a student’s writing skills, tone, mastery of a concept, design skills, ability to articulate or summarize information, etc.?
  • Often, when students are aware that an instructor knows of generative AI technologies and what to look for, they will be more forthcoming.
  • Explain the benefits and drawbacks of AI use as they relate to the student’s desired career. Many students will be able to integrate the use of AI in their future work—can this be simulated through authorized use in the classroom?