Eight leading educational institutions of Australia introduced changes in the assessment methodology for this year due the outburst of cases with AI-generated papers. 

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Scientists are alarmed that computer-generated texts may distort academic results giving unfair advantage to student cheating.

This has led them to change the way exams are administered as well as other forms of assessment to discourage students from using AI-software to produce texts.

Leading educational outlets issued new rules labeling the use of AI as cheating. Although tech experts claim that universities are falling behind the emerging trend without any chances of winning it. 

Dr Matthew Brown, on behalf of the top eight Australian universities, said that the institutions were “proactively tackling” AI through student education, staff training, redesigning assessments and targeted technological and other detection strategies.

“Our universities have revised how they will run assessments in 2023, including supervised exams … greater use of pen and paper exams and tests … and tests only for units with low integrity risks.

“Assessment redesign is critical, and this work is ongoing for our universities as we seek to get ahead of AI developments.”

The University of Sydney’s latest academic integrity policy now specifically mentions “generating content using artificial intelligence” as a form of cheating.

The Australian National University has changed assessment designs to rely on laboratory activities and fieldwork, will time exams and introduce more oral presentations.

Toby Walsh, Scientia professor of artificial intelligence at the University of New South Wales, said teachers were in “crisis meetings” about how exams would be marked in the new year and whether protocols were in place to deal with plagiarism.

“People are already using it to submit essays,” he said.

“We should’ve been aware this was coming … and we do tend to sleepwalk into the future,” he said. “But it’s a step-change – it’s accessible, it’s got a nice interface and it’s easy to play with.”

Walsh also said AI technology had great potential for positive disruption of education.

“Teachers hate marking essays, and with suitable prompts it can be used to mark and provide feedback teachers wouldn’t have the time or patience to,” he said.

“We don’t want to destroy literacy, but did calculators destroy numeracy?”

Flinders University was one of the first in Australia to implement a specific policy against computer-generated cheating.

Its deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Romy Lawson, said maintaining academic integrity in an era of fast changing technology was an “ongoing challenge”.

“We are concerned about the emergence of increasingly sophisticated text generators, most recently Chat GPT, which appear capable of producing very convincing content and increasing the difficulty of detection,” she said.

“Instead of banning students from using such programs, we aim to assist academic staff and students to use digital tools to support learning.”

A spokesperson for UNSW Sydney said the university was aware of the use of artificial intelligence programs to assist and write papers for students who then submitted the work as their own.

“Using AI in this way undermines academic integrity and is a significant issue facing all education and training institutions, nationally and internationally,” they said.

As we wrote earlier, the New York City Department of Education was restricting access to ChatGPT on its online devices and networks within New York Schools.


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