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Academic Integrity: Proactively Designing ChatGPT-Proof Assignments 


IMPORTANT NOTE: The advent of ChatGPT and other forms of Artificial Intelligence appears to have sparked an existential debate within the realm of higher education. What will this tool mean for students, faculty, administrators, and the very future of education? Please read this page from UNF’s Office of Faculty Excellence to learn more. 

Recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence through tools such as ChatGPT and Google Bard have raised several frequently-asked questions for those of us working in higher education: “How do we adopt an Academic Integrity Policy that will help to combat the inevitable cheating that will occur with these tools?” and “What tools exist or are being developed to help us catch students in the act of cheating?

While these are important and relevant questions, there may be better ones for us to be asking as we look to the future, where these tools and technologies are likely to become more and more ubiquitous and difficult to detect. For example, a better question might consider whether there are adaptations that could be made to assignments that would make it more difficult for students to use ChatGPT to cheat. This article offers several suggestions that you might consider making to your course assignments that will make them less susceptible to students’ use of ChatGPT.

Integrating Personal Experience and Course Reading Citations

There are several tasks for which ChapGPT and other Large Language Models (LLM) are notoriously bad. These include the integration of personal experiences and the use of relevant citations. If you are able to modify your assignment in such a way that requires students to include personal reflections from their own experiences or to support their writing with evidence and proper citation from course readings, it will likely help to deter students from the use of this tool to cheat.

Several examples of short prompts that integrate personal experience and course reading citations are included below:

  • Philosophy Kant’s “Critique of Practical Reason” suggests humans are guided by a moral compass. Do your personal experiences align with or contradict this claim? Use specific examples from your life, along with citations from this week’s reading, to support your argument.
  • Psychology – The “nature vs. nurture” debate has been a contentious issue in psychology. Reflect on your personal experiences and relate them to specific theories from our readings this week. Which side of the debate do your own experiences support more? Include at least two relevant citations from the module readings in your submission.

Implement Student Collaboration and Group Work

Assignments that involve collaboration and group work can help discourage students from relying on ChatGPT. By working together, students can learn from one another and develop a deeper understanding of the course material. One way to do this might be to assign group projects or presentations, where students must work collaboratively to produce some sort of deliverable associated with the learning objectives. Several examples of assignments that integrate student collaboration and group work are included below:

  • Marketing Plan (Business/Marketing Course) – Students can be asked to work together to develop a comprehensive marketing plan for a hypothetical product or service. They would need to conduct market research, identify target demographics, create a branding strategy, and outline advertising methods.
  • Educational Theory Project (Education Course) – Student groups could be asked to work together to develop and deliver a presentation on an influential educational theory or approach, such as Montessori, Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, or a theory from a significant education researcher such as John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, etc. Groups can record their presentations on Zoom and upload them to a Canvas discussion board for classmates to review.

Use ChatGPT to Help You

One final consideration here involves enlisting the assistance of ChatGPT to help you redesign or restructure your course assignments. A well-structured prompt in ChatGPT that includes your course details and learning objectives can generate creative ideas for potential assignments. Each of the assignment examples provided above were generated with the assistance of ChatGPT. Several resources are included below that may help with this endeavor.
  • ChatGPT prompt templates – From this Google doc, you can copy and paste several education-related ChatGPT prompts and fill in the specific information for your course and learning objectives to brainstorm assignment ideas.
  • ChatGPT in Higher Education: Artificial Intelligence and its Pedagogical Value – A UNF Pressbooks Digital Publication on the positive integration of AI in higher education and the ways that it might enhance pedagogy, research, and professional development.
  • AI/ChatGPT Best Practices – This guide from CIRT explores best practices for integrating AI, particularly ChatGPT, into education, such as incorporating AI into assessments, developing authentic assignments, and ensuring clear AI usage policies and academic integrity guidelines.
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Rob Rose
CIRT | Instructional Designer