So the number of universities banning the use of ChatGPT or other AI-driven tools in assessment is increasing.

News in the UK has just picked up on Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, banning the tools. This follows news of New York schools doing the same, and Australia too.

When something gets banned, it almost makes it more desirable – I remember when music was labelled with the ‘parental advisory’ sticker in the late 80s, instantly making it more desirable and an album I and my friends just had to have. I’m sure I understood the meaning behind the sticker, but it had the reverse effect – it highlighted music that I may not have noticed before, and made it a target for me and others.

Will this ban make the use of ChatGPT and other AI tools all the more desirable, making the time and effort to ‘police’ this ban even more difficult?

I asked ChatGPT this, and it came up with several paragraphs of nonsense, just rewording the question before it delivered this slightly more meaningful response:

To effectively combat cheating, schools and universities may need to implement a combination of measures, such as educating students on the importance of academic integrity, using plagiarism detection tools, and enforcing strict penalties for those caught cheating. It is also important for educators to design assessments and assignments that are difficult to cheat on, such as those that require original thinking or personal reflection.

I don’t think “strict[er] penalties” will always work but “educating students on the importance of academic integrity” and designing “assessments and assignments… that require original thinking or personal reflection” is what we should be doing already. Perhaps the changing times of AI and ChatGPT have just highlighted this move?

Will banning it make any difference? Comments are open.

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash