Students were also given explicit warnings from professors on their first day to not use the AI tool to cheat, according to Vice.
The chatbot, created by OpenAI, can be used to create essays and articles, among other things, in such a way that replicates human writing, resulting in professors having to be on high alert as to whether an assignment has been created by a bot or not.
Jenni Quilter, the Executive Director of NYU's Expository Writing Program, told Vice that there is concern amongst academic staff about students using ChatGPT to complete assignments, and that guidelines have been issued to professors as to how to handle an AI plagiarism situation.
"The situation has already come up—we had instances of students using ChatGPT in December," Quilter said. "The repercussions for using ChatGPT without acknowledgment are the same as they would be for any case of academic plagiarism, and range from redoing the assignment to grade deductions and a report lodged with the Dean of that student's college."
Another professor told Vice that he's very closely watching out for ChatGPT use.
"I've included an alert that it is banned unless used with my express permission as part of an assignment, and any use of it counts as plagiarism," Chair of the Department of Classics David Levene said. "I also told [my students] (which is true) that I ran various essay-prompts through ChatGPT, and the essays it came up with were at best B- standard, and at worst a clear F. So (I told them) if they are hoping to get better than B- for the course, they should avoid it like the plague!"
One syllabus from the university's Tisch School of the Arts has it clearly written, "Q: Is using ChatGPT or other AI tools that generate text or content considered plagiarism? A: Yes."
Professors are aware that it's not only essay-based classes that are at risk.
"The time constraint is purposely tight so you will not have enough time to consult your books, ChatGPT, or other sources, and still complete all the questions on the Quiz. …Students may not communicate with anyone (including ChatGPT) during the 24 hours a Quiz is available," one macroeconomics syllabus read, although a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania showed that Chat GPT has been proven to fail grade six-level math problems.
However, for other classes the concern may not be unfounded. A recent poll conducted by The Stanford Daily said that 17 percent of Stanford students had used ChatGPT to cheat during the fall semester.
Professors are trying to find creative ways to update academic policies and teaching formats to adjust to the new ubiquity of AI tools, such as requiring handwritten assignments or by actually incorporating ChatGPT into their teaching.
Modifying and adapting teaching methods around the AI bot is exactly what OpenAI CEO has Sam Altman has suggested.
"We're going to try and do some things in the short term. There may be ways we can help teachers be a little more likely to detect output of a GPT-like system. But honestly, a determined person will get around them," he said. "Generative text is something we all need to adapt to."
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