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AI in Education

Assessment Design

Design assignments that discourage plagiarism. Online education poses special problems for the authentication of student work, and there's no surefire solution to ensure academic honesty. That said, there are a series of possible practices that educators can employ to minimize cheating and/or impersonation. 

  • Audio/Video Assignments - At several points in the course, ask students to answer a few questions with video or audio responses. Pay attention to any discrepancies between the proficiency demonstrated in these assessments versus more traditional assessments, and follow up with the student directly if necessary. This strategy is best implemented beginning in the first weeks of the course, so instructors can match student voices with assignments early on and spot discrepancies.

  • Authentication Questions - At the beginning of the term, ask students to answer a series of personal questions such as "what street did you live on when you were five years old?" or "what was the name of your elementary school?" Add a question at the beginning of each quiz/exam that asks students to restate their answers, then check those answers for consistency.

  • Exam Volume - Utilizing lots of low-stakes exams that assess component skills makes cheating more trouble than it's worth. Over time a high volume of exams still provides an accurate picture of student performance, but each individual exam is worth so little that the time, effort, and risk involved in cheating result in a poor cost-to-benefit ratio. 

  • Timed, Open-Book Exams - Make exams open-book and timed. Calibrate them so that a base familiarity and level of knowledge are required in order for students to complete all questions within the allotted time (as in, if they have to look everything up, they won't be able to finish on time). 

  • Assignment Reflection Essays - In a separate assignment submission, require students to submit a short essay describing what they learned from the assignment process itself. For example, did they experience any problems, and how did they overcome them? Where/how did they find the majority of their sources?  Did they learn any skills during this assignment that they plan to use in the future? If the student performed the work themselves on the assignment, these should be questions that can be answered. 

  • Scaffolded Process Steps - Throughout the course, create assignments students submit separately, which build together to create a final product. For example, submit your topic, bibliography, outline, rough draft, final draft, etc.  This generally works best with research-based assignments. This helps promote original work as students are required to document the steps of their process.

  • Appropriate Research Assignments - Collaborate with your college’s liaison librarian to develop research assignments that include components to address academic integrity and challenge students to locate, evaluate, and use scholarly information in ethical ways.

Research and Writing Assignments

If you assign students a paper or project that involves research, consider these elements to discourage plagiarism and encourage students to synthesize their own thoughts:

  • Appropriate Research Topics - Students often choose research topics that are too broad or vague. These vague research topics don't create engaging papers and can lead students to find content elsewhere. Encourage students to pick specific research topics that require them to synthesize their research, not just summarize it. 

When assigning papers to your students, keep in mind different ways the use of AI can be discouraged: 

  • Use the writing process. Remind and/or demonstrate different ways to outline a paper, and then require students to turn in drafts. A reminder that drafts can come in different forms: an organized, bulleted list; an array of thoughts thrown down on a page; full paragraphs that don't have order yet; etc. 

  • Use in-class writing. Take time to give students writing prompts and have them practice their writing skills on a particular topic that they can apply to the class.

  • Have students write based on experience. Give writing assignments that require students to pull from personal experiences they've had.

  • Above all, communicate expectations. Demonstrate how to use ChatGPT in effective, honest ways with your students at the beginning of the semester. Take time outside of class to ensure you understand it yourself.

Research and Writing Support

Invite library and writing center staff to collaborate on assignments. We are also available to visit classes and talk with students about academic integrity in research and writing.

Email if you want to schedule a class visit with a librarian or writing center staff member.