To Bot or Not to Bot?

January 10, 2024

The emergence of generative AI—specifically, ChatGPT—is making waves in higher education. What value does it provide to students? Will learning this technology—which will likely eventually infiltrate most aspects of the professional world—put students at a competitive edge post-graduation? What are the pros and cons of introducing ChatGPT into the classroom?

Longtime FPF instructor Kenneth Worthy recently penned an article in Times Higher Education on his approach to this quickly evolving issue:

“My approach—developed while teaching five lecture sections since last May, involving about 500 students combined—is, first, to talk to the students about the importance of academic integrity for both the institution and themselves. Most students never hear these arguments, but they have an intuitive sense that widespread cheating could render their diplomas meaningless since the purpose of assignments is to develop intellectual skills and knowledge: the process, not the product, is the point. I liken a student using ChatGPT to an athlete hiring someone to do their workout for them.

“My teaching assistants and I use manual detection and automated machine detection (in trial), with full awareness of the chance of false positives. When we suspect chatbot text, I ask the student to provide a step-by-step description of the process they used to produce the submission. Depending on the case, I say that we will be lenient or give them full amnesty if they did use a chatbot and admit it. The likelihood of false positives means you usually cannot depend on machine or manual detection alone to apply sanctions.”

Read on (free subscription required) to learn more about the process and results.