Students warned of “serious consequences” for use of artificial intelligence in essays

The Academic Integrity office today sent an email to all postgraduate and undergraduate students highlighting behaviours which are considered academic misconduct. 

College have warned students against the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in assessments, highlighting that their use constitutes a breach of academic integrity with “serious consequences for your academic progress”.

An email sent today acknowledged that “there has been a lot of public discussion about recent developments in artificial intelligence”, adding that “academic staff are well aware of these tools and their limitations”.

The email stressed the importance of students maintaining academic integrity, highlighting the gravity with which College treats “behaviours that potentially compromise the integrity of your assessment”.

It listed a number of examples of academic misconduct, including the use of “unauthorised resource”, explicitly referring to AI, as well as plagiarism, impersonation, and “collusion”.

In an email to academic staff in January, College recommended a number of immediate adjustments to assessment to counter the use of ChatGPT and other AI software by students, including additional presentations or oral exams.

Launched in November, ChatGPT is an AI software capable of generating “human-like” text.

A study by Brian Lucey of Trinity Business School and Michael Dowling of Dublin City University (DCU) showed it to be capable of writing a paper that would be accepted for an academic journal, though it has become controversial in academic spheres, its use being outright banned by many research journals.

Emails have also been sent by individual Schools in relation to how ChatGPT “may and may not be used in assessed coursework”.

The School of Languages, Literature, and Cultural Studies told students in their faculties that while they do not forbid the use of ChatGPT, they do not encourage it. They suggested it be used similarly to any academic source, such as citing it, and advising against “long strings of quoted matter”.

In February 2022, College established an Academic Integrity Working Group, out of which evolved the Academic Integrity Office, involving the Senior Lecturer, the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Junior Dean.

The office has sent two emails to students so far this year, highlighting the boundaries of plagiarism and cheating in assessment seasons.

The range of penalties for plagiarism goes from an informal verbal warning, to capped grade for minor offences. For more serious offences, penalties include resubmission upon amending the plagiarised passages, or being “referred to the Junior Dean for disciplinary procedures”.