Students Caught Using AI to Write Essays

In recent weeks, professors at universities across the United States have reported catching students using AI-generated essays. Philosophy professors Darren Hick at Furman University and Antony Aumann at Northern Michigan University both caught students submitting essays written by OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Hick grew suspicious when a student turned in an on-topic essay that included well-written misinformation. After running it through OpenAI’s ChatGPT detector, the results said it was 99% likely the essay had been generated by the AI. Aumann also caught two students submitting essays written by the chatbot.

Both professors confronted the students, who eventually confessed to the infraction. As a result, Hick’s student failed the class and Aumann had his students rewrite the essays from scratch.

The use of AI-generated essays poses a new challenge for universities as it can be difficult to prove plagiarism. Christopher Bartel, a professor of philosophy at Appalachian State University, said that while the grammar in AI-generated essays is almost perfect, the substance tends to lack detail.

Bartel also noted that some institutions’ rules have not yet evolved to combat this kind of cheating. If a student denies using AI for an essay, it can be difficult to prove without a confession. The AI detectors currently available only give a statistical analysis of the likelihood of the text being AI-generated, leaving professors in a difficult position if their policies require definitive and demonstrable proof.

As AI technology continues to advance, it’s important for universities to adapt their policies and procedures to address this new form of plagiarism. Professors and students alike should be aware of the potential for AI-generated essays and the consequences of using them.

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