ChatGPT raises concerns of academic integrity

By Jay Roberson

In what has been seen by educators and the university staff as a threat to academic integrity, ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot produced by OpenAI that processes words and creates content from the

input it receives, is causing a plethora of issues for schools since its release late last year.

Kathy Price, professor of voice and director of the Presser Voice Lab, spoke about the ways it can be used in the University Academic Planning Council’s (UAPC) all faculty forum which took place on Feb. 7.

“It’s an intuitive, conversational creative tool that actually can now take on the voice of the person you ask it to speak for. So you can say this is a fourth grader writing an essay about lunch,” said Price.

Although the program was released recently, the usage has only increased. John Bochanski, professor of computer science and physics spoke about his concerns during the forum.

“Everytime I go into it now there’s a warning about how it’s overloaded and being heavily used, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence in terms of a semester starting back up,” Bochanski said.

There have already been instances where ChatGPT was detected in students’ writings. In an interview with The Rider News, Amy Atkinson, the associate director of the Academic Success Center (ASC), spoke about a situation where a student utilized it last semester.

“We had an encounter at the end of the fall semester where the student came in and a tutor noticed based on some of the wording that there was something off. He didn’t want, needless to say, to make an assumption to make the student feel bad in any way,” said Atkinson.
The student ended up admitting to the use of the program after being questioned. Atkinson expressed that she wished students would feel confident enough in their own voices rather than relying on an external source. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

“There’s lots of reasons why people turn to it. Either they’re pressed for time and worried. They feel like anything they have to offer is not as good as anyone else. I’ve seen that working with students year after year where they’ll sit and cry and say ‘I didn’t have anything,’” Atkinson said.

Professors and faculty have been working on ways to prohibit the use of ChatGPT, but there is no precise way to detect the use of it yet due to frequent updating.

There are a multitude of ways educators are beginning to rethink their methods of teaching and assignment structure because of the program. Professor and chair of the English department Terra Joseph discussed what professors have considered doing to circumvent the use of the new technology.

“I think, in classwork where students have to write in class is going to make a difference for some people. Some people are talking about going to oral exams for students, so they have to answer questions verbally,” Joseph said.

Emre Yetgin, professor of information systems, analytics and supply chain management, noted that getting to know the unique voices of students is also an important part of detecting the use of ChatGPT during the forum.

“Maybe we can do something in class or at the beginning to get a baseline of the student’s

individual, unique voice and then compare future assignments to that,” said Yetgin.

Many professors believe ChatGPT is something that needs to be prohibited, but others believe it can be used as a tool. Sharon Whitfield, electronic resources and user access librarian, said that the tool can be utilized to benefit students.

“With ChatGPT, what it does is that it actually helps you to formulate language, but it doesn’t mean that it does the critical thinking that’s needed,” Whitfield said.

Whitfield explained that although a few issues arise from the chatbot, as long as students use it as a tool rather than a way to cheat, it could l be beneficial.

“I think if you rely entirely on ChatGPT, it’s going to be extremely problematic. … The other thing that I think people don’t realize about ChatGPT is the idea that people will just take what is produced from ChatGPT and take it for granted and almost spread disinformation,” said Whitfield.

As this technology progresses, professors will have to choose whether they will utilize ChatGPT as a learning tool or ban it completely.

“So in other words, faculty, administrators and staff we have to learn right along with the students, that if there’s any value to it [ChatGPT], and how to utilize that and if there is, or to like help them understand the limitations and the major academic dishonesty concerns with it,” Atkinson said.

Executive Editor Shaun Chornobroff, News Editor Kaitlyn McCormick, Copy editor Britget Gum-Egan and Video Editor Bridget Hoyt work for the Acaemic Success Center. They had no part in the reporting or editing of this story.

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