College Students’ Views on AI Text Generator Use in Academics
A recent BestColleges survey of 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students revealed that 51% of respondents believe using AI essay writer tools like ChatGPT for assignments and exams is cheating. However, 20% disagreed, while the remaining participants remained neutral. The study, conducted in early March, also found that 43% of college students have experience using AI tools like ChatGPT, with half of them admitting to using these tools for assignments or exams.
AI Tool Ethics: Differing Perspectives
When it comes to the ethics of using ChatGPT for academic assignments, student opinions vary based on the phrasing of survey questions:
- 41% of students agreed that using AI tools to complete assignments and exams is morally wrong, while 27% disagreed.
- 38% of respondents disagreed with the statement that AI tools should be prohibited in educational settings, while only 27% agreed.
- 48% of students agreed that AI can be used ethically to complete assignments and exams, more than twice the percentage (21%) who disagreed.
How Students Use AI Essay Writers
Of the students who used AI tools like ChatGPT for assignments or exams:
- 50% used them for only a portion of the work, completing the majority themselves.
- 30% used AI for the majority of their assignment.
- 17% used AI to complete an assignment and turned it in without edits.
Most college students (57%) don’t plan to use or continue using AI to complete assignments or exams. However, 32% admitted they would use it or continue to use it in the future, while 11% preferred not to answer.
Instructors’ Silence on ChatGPT Usage
Colleges and universities are currently debating policies surrounding the use of ChatGPT in academic work, such as whether it should be banned or if its use constitutes plagiarism. The survey indicated that unclear and inconsistent policies leave students uncertain about their institutions’ stance on AI tools. Over half (54%) of students reported that their instructors hadn’t discussed AI tools like ChatGPT, and only 25% said their schools or instructors provided guidance on ethical or responsible AI usage.
Broader Opinions on ChatGPT and AI
The survey also revealed that:
- 40% of students believed AI use by students undermines the purpose of education.
- 27% were concerned about AI’s impact on their education, and 31% worried about its effects on their career or potential career.
- 48% were apprehensive about AI’s impact on society in general.
- While 63% thought AI couldn’t replace human intelligence or creativity, 51% believed the results could pass as “human.”
Most students (61%) believe that AI tools like ChatGPT will become the new normal in the long run, a reality for which many colleges seem unprepared. The implications for student learning, academic integrity, and the nature of scholarly work are too significant to ignore.
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