Skip to Main Content

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education

AI and academic integrity

AI brings both opportunities and challenges in the context of academic integrity. While it can assist in identifying and preventing dishonest behaviors, its use also raises ethical questions, especially when it comes to privacy and surveillance. Moreover, it is important to remember that AI tools can support, but not replace, the work of teachers and administrators in promoting academic integrity. Ensuring honesty in academic work also relies heavily on creating a culture of integrity and setting clear expectations for ethical behavior.

Example syllabus statement from a Religion course

Emily Gravett, a JMU Philosophy & Religion faculty member, developed the following statement for use in her courses.

Do all of your own work

Like most universities, JMU is governed by an honor code. Please familiarize yourself with it. Cheating, in an academic context, usually means submitting work that you claim is your own, but that you did not actually complete on your own. There are many actions that could be considered cheating, including paying another student to do your project, asking an AI chatbot like ChatGPT to write an essay for you, peeking at someone else’s exam answers, looking up quiz questions online, using the words of scholars without citing them, and more. You waste your own time and money by cheating in college because you are not actually learning what you are supposed to be learning. You set yourself up poorly for your future, in which you may actually need to demonstrate and apply the knowledge and skills you were supposed to acquire here. Cheating also entails a breakdown in community. You are not just cheating yourself; you are also diminishing others’ trust in and respect for you. College is not only about academics; it’s about starting to become the person you want to be. Who do you want to be? I hope it’s not a person who cheats. I start with the assumption that nobody is cheating in my classes. I think it’s important to begin with good will. However, if it becomes obvious that you are cheating, then we’ll have to have a conversation. You will likely earn a failing grade on the assignment, possibly even in the class. I may need to involve the Honor Council. Let’s not go down this path—for both of our sakes. It’s such a disappointment…and a pain.

Example syllabus statement from an ISAT course

Prompted by David McGraw, a JMU ISAT faculty member, ChatGPT developed the following syllabus statement for use in his courses.

"Using Generative Al Tools, such as ChatGPT

The primary aim of this course is to foster your intellectual growth. Education, as we see it, encompasses not just the acquisition of knowledge and enhancement of communication skills, but, perhaps most significantly, the development of critical thinking abilities.

In today's digital age, Generative Al Tools, such as ChatGPT, have emerged as useful aids in the realm of writing. Within academic circles, there is a growing concern that these tools might become crutches, potentially hindering students from honing their writing skills and, more crucially, discouraging independent thought. These concerns are legitimate and demand our attention.

However, we also recognize that, when appropriately employed, Al writing tools can complement the learning experience. They can serve as catalysts for exploring and understanding complex concepts Furthermore, they can assist in identifying and rectifying common writing errors that writers should ideally avoid.

It's crucial to acknowledge that the future is inevitably intertwined with Al technology. To thrive in this evolving world, students must be adept at harnessing the opportunities it offers. It is important that when you leave JMU, you must know how to master technologies such as Al, and must understand their limitations.

Hence, the policy for this course is designed to strike a balance. Al tools, including ChatGPT, are allowed for use, but subject to specific conditions:

(1) Disclosure: Every written assignment in this course must include a statement clarifying whether or not an Al tool has been utilized and, if so, in what capacity.

(2) Al Statement: If you choose to incorporate an Al tool into your writing process, you are required to include a separate "AI Statement" within your assignment. Think of this statement as a brief reflection essay. It should be about 500 - 1000 words in length. In it, you should not only describe your experience of using the AI tool but, more importantly, convincingly convey the significant insights and lessons you gained through the process. These insights should be on par with what you might have learned had you completed the assignment without Al assistance. The assignment will be graded in light of your explanations in the Al statement, thus it is important to persuade the reader that your use of the Al tools provided a valuable learning experience.

As a word of caution. it's essential to recognize that most generative Al programs, including ChatGPT, have their limitations. Please refrain from assuming that the information provided by ChatGPT is infallible. Always verity the information, especially when it comes to references. ChatGPT has been known to generate fictional sources, making fact-checking an indispensable practice in your academic journey.

In summary, the integration of Al tools in this course is an opportunity to harness their potential while reinforcing the importance of critical thinking, learning, and responsible research practices. We look forward to a semester of intellectual exploration and growth" (OpenAI, 2023).

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat

Source: Breeze, E. S. & L. S. T. (2023, August 31). JMU leaves decisions about AI policies to professors. The Breeze. https://www.breezejmu.org/news/jmu-leaves-decisions-about-ai-policies-to-professors/article_9436b8f2-47ac-11ee-b0e3-f7d25f0f0ff6.html

Syllabus statements from other institutions

AI Detection Tools

AI Detection Tools are in development; however, they may not be reliable because they are just emerging. Faculty who choose to use a detection tool should use caution when interpreting results, because false positives are possible. TurnItIn's AI Detector is available through normal use of TurnItIn.

Recommended readings