#LTHEchat 259: ChatGPT and academic integrity Led by @profdcotton Dr Peter Cotton and @reubenshipway

ChatGPT and similar large language models (LLMs) have taken the academic world by storm, and across the globe, there are similar slightly panicked meetings going on about what this means for the future of assessment in higher education. Conflicting views abound as to the benefits and challenges of ChatGPT and the new era of artificial intelligence, with several commentators arguing that the ‘moral panic’ is overblown and many making a compelling case for teaching students how to use LLMs as part of developing employability skills. But how do we get students to learn if they can ask a chatbot for the answers to many of our traditional assessment questions? Is it plagiarism, or academic misconduct if students use ChatGPT to help with their assessments? Can we ‘design out’ ChatGPT (creating assessments designed to reduce the likelihood of it being used) in the same ways that we try to design out plagiarism? Will authentic assessments help – or can ChatGPT do these too? Do we even need students to have knowledge of their discipline – or is this now a redundant issue, confined to earlier generations where every fact was not at our fingertips? Or are there actually wider issues of student (dis)engagement that ChatGPT is bringing into sharp relief? The answers, as ever, are not black and white. 

As early adopters of ChatGPT, we experimented with various uses of the tool, including getting it to write session plans, institutional policies, and job descriptions. At the time ChatGPT was released, Reuben & Pete were marking essays written by first-year Marine Biology students.  Although they didn’t detect any examples of academic dishonesty, they were nonetheless quite shocked by how well ChatGPT could structure and write one of these essays. Admittedly, its first attempts were often quite superficial, but iterating this with revised prompts and asking it to incorporate material copied from a key paper, often resulted in something fairly robust and likely to escape detection without forensic examination. This led us to thinking more about ChatGPT and academic integrity, resulting in the paper entitled ‘Chatting and Cheating. Ensuring academic integrity in the era of ChatGPT which we uploaded on a pre-print site on January 11th. Reuben also gave a talk about ChatGPT at the UCL Global Business School for Health, which you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngMqAtcPaj4&list=PL0BPVluk7u3dkLbyhFSKbA4iv1N7SdmQ3&index=2&ab_channel=UCLGlobalBusinessSchoolforHealth 

Join us in the #LTHEchat to share your experiences and ideas about the risks of ChatGPT as well as to consider how we can make use of such tools in an inclusive and pedagogically sound way.

Guest biography

Professor Debby Cotton (@profdcotton) is the Director of Academic Practice at Plymouth Marjon University. She is a Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and a National Teaching Fellow and has published over 70 articles on higher education teaching and learning, mostly without the assistance of ChatGPT. You can find out more about her research here: https://www.marjon.ac.uk/about-marjon/staff-list-and-profiles/cotton-debby.html    

Dr Peter Cotton is an Associate Professor in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at the University of Plymouth. Although primarily an ecologist, he has published several pedagogic papers (all with the assistance of Prof D. Cotton) and is a Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). You can find out more about him here: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/peter-cotton

Profile picture of Professor Debby Cotton & Dr Peter Cotton
Profile picture of Professor Debby Cotton & Dr Peter Cotton

ChatGPT prompt > In the style of the previous short bios, write a similar blurb for Reuben Shipway (@reubenshipway), who is a lecturer in marine biology at the University of Plymouth:

Dr Reuben Shipway (@reubenshipway) is a Lecturer in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth. He is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and has published a number of papers on topics such as coastal ecosystems and the impacts of climate change. He is a passionate advocate for the conservation of our oceans and marine wildlife and is committed to teaching and inspiring the next generation of marine biologists.*

*This was generated by ChatGPT and almost none of it is accurate. If you want to know more about Reuben, check out the following: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/reuben-shipway @reubenshipway

Profile picture of Dr Reuben Shipway
Profile picture of Dr Reuben Shipway
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