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GAI and chatbots

What is GAI?

Advancements in artificial intelligence have progressed rapidly in recent years, particularly in the development of applications based on large language models, such as GAI (Generative Artificial Intelligence).

GAI technologies are characterized by their ability to generate text, images, synthetic data, code, and other media using generative models through a user-friendly interface. For example, GAI technologies can generate new text in response to your questions (prompts), and they can also edit and rewrite existing text. GAI technology is able to do this based on "learning" patterns and structures from existing examples of text, enabling it to generate new coherent texts.

What can GAI be used for?

GAI can be a valuable technology in your study work if used consciously, reflectively, and with a critical approach. It should not be used to produce text and content for your assignments, as that would be considered cheating. However, it can support your work process, such as generating ideas, providing creative inputs, and improving your texts.

Individual work

Get feedback on texts you write You can give the chatbot an excerpt from a text you have written, for example from a report or an analysis, and ask the chatbot to give you feedback on the grammar, coherence and clarity of the text. In other words, you can use chatbots to help you improve the quality of your writing. 
Get alternative formulations You can ask chatbots to suggest different ways of wording parts of your text, for example the title or headings, or to phrase your research question in different ways. 
Get over your writer’s block The chatbots can you get started on a new writing assignment by giving you initial drafts of sentences or passages that you can use to get started. This can be a good tactic if you’re struggling with writer’s block. 
Understand a topic better Chatbots can be a good tool to help you get a quick overview of a complicated topic, theory or concept before you investigate it in more detail and depth. But be aware that the information it gives you may not necessarily be correct.
Enhance your reading Before you start reading a complex primary text, you can use chatbots to get a basic grip on the main ideas, in the same way you use internet searches. This can make it easier to understand the text and clarify what you need to get out of it and how to approach it. Find out more about reading strategies.
Use chatbots as a topic Chatbots are a current topic of interest, and it might be relevant for you to analyse them in a paper or use theories from one of your courses to discuss them. Interesting perspective include law, philosophy, ethics and pedagogy. 
Identify holes in your knowledge Ask the chatbot to explain some academic material to you, and assess whether you – or the chatbot – lack knowledge about it. Maybe the chatbot will say something inaccurate, or maybe it will provide a different perspective on the material. 
Start your search You can use chatbots to get an introduction to a topic and get inspiration for specific keywords you can use when searching the literature.  

In the study group

  • Discuss how you can use chatbots in a responsible way as a resource in your work together without the risk of cheating. Draw on each other for inspiration – and ask your lecturer for help if you have any doubts.
  • Mythbuster: Confirm or reject the chatbot’s answer. Ask the chatbot a number of questions about a subject you’re studying, and assess its responses critically. Confirm or reject the chatbot’s answer based on your reading of relevant academic sources.
  • The Turing test ( a way of determining whether a machine can exhibit intelligence equivalent to a human):  Come up with a series of questions about your subject, as if you were designing an exam. Distribute the questions among yourselves. Answer your question, and then ask the chatbot the same question. You and your fellow students should take turns reading your own and the chatbot’s answers to each other. The other students should try to guess whether each answer was generated by the chatbot or written by the student.  
  • Chatbots are a current topic of interest, and it might be relevant for you to analyse them in a paper or use theories from one of your courses to discuss them. Interesting perspective include law, philosophy, ethics and pedagogy. 

How do other students use chatbots?

I used the bot to find a summary of John Dewey's educational philosophy, as I couldn't process the massive number of search results that appeared on Google. So I used ChatGPT to find the ‘canned’ version, and then I could easily continue my search using the different buzz words on Google

               - 2nd semester Master’s degree student, ICT-based educational design 

I use ChatGPT instead of Google to search for information. It’s much more advanced than a standard search engine. 

               - 2nd semester Master’s degree student, ICT-based educational design 

Concerning the use of GAI, it is therefore extremely important to familiarize yourself thoroughly with the curriculum and the course description's elaboration of the exam activities, and not least in AU’s guidelines for GAI.

GAI and exams

You are free to use GAI as a tool in your daily life as a student, including participation in classes. Ensuring good academic practice with GAI is crucial when writing texts for exams. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly review the study regulations, course descriptions detailing exam activities, and AU's guidelines for GAI use.

As a general rule, the use of GAI-based technologies are not allowed in exams at AU. Tools based on generative artificial intelligence can only be used in the following cases:

  • Bachelor projects
  • Master's theses
  • Final exams in adult and continuing higher education
  • For other exams: Only if explicitly mentioned in the course description that generative artificial intelligence is permitted. 

Rules for GAI use in exams may change, so it is essential to stay updated through: 

Tips for using GAI in exams

If you use GAI in bachelor projects and theses, pay attention to the following: 

  1. Follow standard academic practices regarding transparency and attribution. 

  1. Clearly indicate how you have used the tool, included in an appendix attached to the assignment. Refer to AU's exam guidelines for details. 

  1. Approach GAI responses critically, similar to how you assess scientific articles and sources. 

  1. Evaluate and assess the texts, seeking primary literature sources that form the basis of the GAI response. GAI can produce convincing but potentially incorrect or biased texts. 

  1. Do not share texts or data with confidential, personal, non-anonymized content, or copyrighted material using GAI technology. 

  1. Remember to attribute any use of texts created by others as a quotation. Be aware of proper citation practices using GAI, as outlined in AU Library's recommendations to avoid plagiarism. 

  1. If in doubt about the rules, consult with your supervisor or course coordinator. 

GAI, GDPR, and Copyright

  • Currently, AU has not GDPR-approved or entered into a data processing agreement with GAI technologies, such as ChatGPT. Many companies behind these technologies, such as OpenAI, collect and process ordinary personal data in the USA to improve their technologies. If you use GAI in your scientific method, such as transcribing interviews or analyzing large amounts of data, be particularly aware of this.
  • There may be copyright on the material that GAI technologies respond with, even if not referenced or cited correctly.