Paper exams, chatbot bans: Colleges seek to ‘ChatGPT-proof’ assignments

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. educator / ˈɛdʒ ʊˌkeɪ tər / (n.) – someone whose job is to teach people

    Educators should be careful about what they teach their students.

  2. rethink / riˈθɪŋk / (v.) – to think about an idea, plan, or decision again to improve or change it

    She’s rethinking her decision to change jobs.

  3. plagiarism / ˈpleɪ dʒəˌrɪz əm / (n.) – the act of using or directly copying another person’s idea or words and pretending that it’s one's own

    You should never commit plagiarism when writing an essay.

  4. inaccurate / ɪnˈæk yər ɪt / (adj.) – not exact or correct

    No one believed her because her story was inaccurate.

  5. exonerate / ɪgˈzɒn əˌreɪt / (v.) – to prove or state that someone is not guilty of something bad that had happened

    My uncle was exonerated by the police after he provided proof that he was innocent.


Read the text below.

When philosophy professor Darren Hick came across another case of cheating in his classroom at Furman University, he posted an update to his followers on social media: “Aaaaand, I’ve caught my second ChatGPT plagiarist.”

Practically overnight, ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence chatbots have become the go-to source for cheating in college.

Now, educators are rethinking how they’ll teach courses this fall from Writing 101 to computer science. Educators say they want to embrace the technology’s potential to teach and learn in new ways, but when it comes to assessing students, they see a need to “ChatGPT-proof” test questions and assignments.

An explosion of AI-generated chatbots including ChatGPT, which launched in November, has raised new questions for academics dedicated to making sure that students not only can get the right answer, but also understand how to do the work. Educators say there is agreement at least on some of the most pressing challenges.

— Are AI detectors reliable? Not yet, says Stephanie Laggini Fiore, associate vice provost at Temple University. Fiore was part of a team at Temple that tested the detector used by Turnitin, a popular plagiarism detection service, and found it to be “incredibly inaccurate.”

— Will students get falsely accused of using artificial intelligence platforms to cheat? Absolutely. In one case last semester, a Texas A&M professor wrongly accused an entire class of using ChatGPT on final assignments. Most of the class was subsequently exonerated.

— So, how can educators be certain if a student has used an AI-powered chatbot dishonestly? It’s nearly impossible unless a student confesses, as both of Hick’s students did. Unlike old-school plagiarism where text matches the source it is lifted from, AI-generated text is unique each time.

In some cases, the cheating is obvious, says Timothy Main, a writing professor at Conestoga College in Canada, who has had students turn in assignments that were clearly cut-and-paste jobs. In his first-year required writing class last semester, Main logged 57 academic integrity issues, an explosion of academic dishonesty compared to about eight cases in each of the two prior semesters. AI cheating accounted for about half of them.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Educators say they want to embrace the technology’s potential to teach and learn in new ways. What benefits do you think educators can get from ChatGPT (ex. it’s available 24/7, reduced workload)? Discuss.
  • Do you think schools in your country can easily embrace new technology for learning, such as apps and online tools? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence chatbots have become the go-to source for cheating in college. How do you think the problem can be solved? Discuss.
  • In which situations do you think students should be allowed to use ChatGPT? What about in situations in which they shouldn’t be allowed? Why? Discuss.