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How the Rise of Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Academic Sphere

Increase in AI | AI generated image by Bethany Althauser | The Wright State Guardian

With the powerful tool of Artificial Intelligence at students’ disposal, it is evident that AI is beginning to bleed into the academic sphere. Colleges, including Wright State University, have had to rewrite rules and procedures to factor in these new tools. 

Academic dishonesty

Since the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, the use of Artificial Intelligence applications and websites, such as ChatGPT, have gained popularity worldwide. At Wright State, the Academic Integrity Standards and Process for Misconduct Policy 3710.2 provides guidelines for AI usage. 

“Unless specifically authorized by their faculty, students: May not use generative AI to substantially complete any assignment or exam; and Must attribute generative AI contributions to their assignments and exams,” Policy 3710.2 reads.

The wording “unless specifically authorized by their faculty” leaves the choice of AI usage to the professors and adjuncts that work at Wright State. Later in the policy, it states that any approved AI usage must be added to the syllabi. 

Many faculty claim that AI usage is academic dishonesty, but with the upticks in AI-related blurbs in syllabi, there is a question posed on whether or not students could benefit from AI usage.

Professor opinion

Dr. Barry Milligan is an English professor with almost 30 years of teaching experience. Milligan expressed his opinions about AI in the classroom.

“It’s hard to say just what AI is capable of,” Milligan said. “I think in the future there could be benefits to AI usage in the classrooms.”

Many students use applications, such as ChatGPT or OpenAI, to outline papers; however, in some severe cases, students will use it to write the entire essay. Professors have cracked down on this, treating it as academic dishonesty. With the advancement of technology, though, instructors are left with what-ifs. 

“I don’t necessarily go into reading students’ papers to look for AI,” Milligan explained. “It’s so hard to tell nowadays, I’m sure it’s slipped past me. In the event I were to find evidence of it, I’d go through my usual plagiarism procedures.”

In his ENG 3060 course, Milligan currently prohibits AI usage. 

“At a certain point, I expect that you should be able to write a cohesive paper, especially at the 3000 level,” Milligan said. 

Student opinion

Overall, opinions are split as to whether AI usage is a good thing or not. There is a mix of opinions, with some students very passionate about the technology.

“It’s cheating,” Deborah Yamoah Ahenkorah, an educational leadership major, said. “I think that you honestly are kind of an idiot if you have to use ChatGPT in order to write assignments for you at the college level.”

Other students have admitted to using AI for assignments in the past.

“I’ve used it on an assignment or two,” Zach Hibbs, a psychology major, said. “It’s more so out of necessity. I had a lot going on in high school, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I haven’t used it in college at all, but I did use it in high school.”

Then there are some students who share similar sentiments as Milligan.

“I personally haven’t used it, but I think with some tooling, it might be a good tool for education,” Adam Aburejeila, a current undecided major, said.

Looking ahead

As of now, AI usage is still considered academic dishonesty with some exceptions. Usage is still widely debated, but there may be some potential benefits of using it academically in the future.

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