Some north country professors concerned about students using artificial intelligence to possibly cheat

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 2:57 PM EST
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POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - In school, maybe you had someone who helped you do your homework. These days, a robot can do that, and college professors in the north country are concerned about cheaters.

Putting a paper together can take time and effort. First, students need to do their research. Then, write the actual paper.

The emergence of open source artificial intelligence, and students using the programs to possibly cheat, are making some professors re-think their courses.

“It doesn’t really help us understand whether a student has learned something, if they’re just parroting back what a chatbot told them. So many of the ways that we have used to access student learning may need to be rethought,” said Dr. Jeanna Matthews, a computer science professor at Clarkson University.

Colleges and universities around the country are becoming more concerned about the possibility of students using chatbots such as ChatGPT to generate plagiarized assignments.

Ryan Quirk is a sophomore at Clarkson University majoring in computer science, and said he’s aware of people that are using the chatbot for courses.

“It can do things like sort algorithms in a specific language very easily, and often times a lot easier than creating a more complex English sentence,” Quirk said. “So people can finish their computer science homework like that by giving a prompt to ChatGPT.”

On the other hand, one professor at St. Lawrence University in Canton sees open source AI could be used as a tool to help students.

“So for example, I train students to work with writing,” said Dr. Melody Denny, the WORD Studio Director at St. Lawrence University. “So one of the things we could do is we could create questions and put it into the chatbot to get those responses and then look at those responses and say, how can we be better?”

A technology that either can exploit education, or be used as a tool. It’s a topic now on north country college campuses.