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Students are positive on ChatGPT, but uncertain on cheating

IANS | May 15, 2023 02:41 PM

LONDON: Students are positive towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT in education, but where the boundary for cheating lies is highly unclear, according to a large-scale study in Europe to investigate students' attitudes towards AI in higher education.

For the study, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden conducted a survey of 6, 000 students.

About 56 per cent were positive about using chatbots in their studies; and 35 per cent use ChatGTP regularly. However, 62 per cent of students said they believe that using chatbots during exams is cheating.

A majority of the respondents believe that chatbots and AI language tools make them more efficient as students and argue that such tools improve their academic writing and overall language skills. Virtually all the responding students (95 per cent) are familiar with ChatGPT, the majority use the tool, and 35 per cent use the chatbot regularly.

Despite their positive attitude towards AI, many students feel anxious and lack clear guidance on how to use AI in the learning environments they are in. It is simply difficult to know where the boundary for cheating lies.

"Most students have no idea whether their educational institution has any rules or guidelines for using AI responsibly, and that is of course worrying. At the same time, an overwhelming majority is against a ban on AI in educational contexts, " said Hans Malmstrom, Professor at the Department of Communication and Learning in Science at Chalmers.

Many students perceive chatbots as a mentor or teacher that they can ask questions or get help from, for example, with explanations of concepts and summaries of ideas.

The dominant attitude is that chatbots should be used as an aid, not replace students' own critical thinking. Or as one student put it: "You should be able to do the same things as the AI, but it should help you do it. You should not use a calculator if you don't know what the plus sign on it does".

Another important aspect that emerged in the survey was that AI serves as an effective aid for people with various disabilities.

A student with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and dyslexia described how they had spent 20 minutes writing down their answer in the survey and then improved it by inputting the text into ChatGPT: "It's like being colour blind and suddenly being able to see all the beautiful colours".

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