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Academic Integrity and Artificial Intelligence

There have been a growing number of articles published in the media about the use of Artificial Intelligence and GPTs (Generative Pre-training Transformer) leading to conversations regarding the potential impact to Academic Integrity. This page provides an overview of related and ongoing work across the university, and will be continuously updated as necessary.

What is it?

ChatGPT is a variant of the GPT language model, which is trained using a variant of the transformer architecture on a large dataset of text. The model learns to generate text by predicting the next word in a sequence based on the previous words, using patterns it has learned from the training data. Once trained, the model can be fine-tuned on specific tasks, such as language translation or question answering, by adjusting the model parameters using a smaller dataset specific to that task.   

Assessment Design and Innovation

Building upon on the University’s response in recent years to the development of essay mills and contract cheating and strategies for ensuring the effectiveness of open book exam and online exams, the most robust mechanism for ensuring authentic assessment submissions and promoting academic integrity, remains good assessment design.  

Interesting work in this area is being undertaken by learning circles in WIHEALink opens in a new window and across the University. Sources of support in this space are also available from the Academic Development CentreLink opens in a new window. 

Features of AI Text to Consider

In terms of identifying submissions/assessments that may not have been originated by the student there are a few features to consider, including appropriate use of relevant references and evidence of critical thinking and reasoning. 

Jisc has several resources available regarding Artificial Intelligence, including a blog GPT-3 and Plausible Untruths, which identified some of the limitations of these tools - specifically unsupported assertions or plausible untruths.  

Turnitin has also published a number several resources in this area, including Academic integrity in the age of AI | TurnitinLink opens in a new window which explores areas of assessment design, assessment mechanisms, the and promotion of good practice and understanding of the value of academic integrity, and the benefits of producing authentic assessment with students. 

Academic Judgement and experience continue to be a significant and valuable resource in this area.   

For example, originality checking software such as Turnitin, can be used as a tool for double checking any submissions which, through academic judgement, have raised concerns about authenticity.This would generate supporting material for a viva/ conversation with a student around the originality and integrity of their submission. More detail on the Academic Integrity Framework and the processes for engaging with incidences around academic conduct can be found here: Academic Integrity Framework (warwick.ac.uk)Link opens in a new window.  

Note: Unlicensed detection software or tools may pose a risk in terms of Information Security and GDPR standards. 

University of Warwick Regulations

The University of Warwick is committed to the principles of the QAA Academic Integrity Charter and several resources to support academics and students can be found here: Enhancing and promoting academic integrity (qaa.ac.uk).Link opens in a new window

Technology which potentially poses a risk to Academic Integrity develops at a rapid pace. The core principles of Academic Integrity remain the same and the University’s regulation 11 on Academic Misconduct was reviewed and published in July 2022 and is clear that:  

Academic misconduct requires the intention to obtain an unfair advantage, or knowingly engaging in a behaviour that has the potential to give an unfair advantage, irrespective of whether such advantage is actually obtained.’ Reg. 11 Academic Integrity (from 4 Oct 2021) (warwick.ac.uk)Link opens in a new window 

The list of mechanisms through which an attempt to gain an unfair advantage in this regulation is illustrative and not exhaustive. 

Sources for Support

Academic Development Centre Assessment - Resources (warwick.ac.uk)Link opens in a new window  
  Academic Integrity (warwick.ac.uk)Link opens in a new window 
Lee Griffin Academic lead providing strategic leadership for academic integrity. 
Education Policy and Quality Quality@warwick.ac.ukLink opens in a new window 
For matters of Academic Integrity policy and process support Academic Integrity Framework (warwick.ac.uk)Link opens in a new window 
Information for Students Academic Integrity (warwick.ac.uk)Link opens in a new window 
  QAATubeLink opens in a new window