Advice for students on using Generative Artificial Intelligence in coursework
What is Generative Artificial Intelligence or Gen-AI?
Generative Artificial Intelligence or Gen-AI is technology that is used to generate text, images, data, and videos in response to specific prompts. Gen-AI uses machine learning to do this.
A prompt is a descriptive phrase or sentence that directs the Gen-AI to create content.
Examples of Gen-AI
- ChatGPT, a text generator
- DALL-E 2, an image generator
As digital technologies become increasingly common, Gen-AI will become widely used in all common software systems that you use in your study, work, and personal life.
This means that, while Gen-AI may be a good resource to support your studies, you must be aware of the risks when using this type of technology.
How and when you can use Gen-AI?
It is your responsibility to use Gen-AI in ways that are allowed by your Course Director and the University.
A Course Director is the person who oversees the running of your course. If your course has more than one lecturer, the Course Director will be likely be the primary lecturer listed on your course outline.
As Gen-AI is not allowed in all assessments, it is important to check the guidelines on permitted use of software in assessment activities. If you are unsure if you can use Gen-AI in a particular assessment, please check out Canvas and/or contact your Course Director.
An assessment can be:
- Practical, aural, or oral work
- Written tests done in exam conditions
- Ongoing assessment of competence or performance
- Written or performance examination usually completed at the end of semester or year
If Gen-AI is not approved for your assessment, you cannot use it for that assessment.
If Gen-AI is approved for use in your assessment, your Course Director may specify how you are allowed to use Gen-AI.
As mentioned earlier, please check with your Course Director if you are unsure of whether you can use Gen-AI for a particular assessment.
For example, your Course Director might allow you to use Gen-AI to:
- Refine your writing
- Perform certain tasks
If you are allowed to use Gen-AI and you choose to use this technology to support your studies, it is your responsibility to ensure that:
- Using Gen-AI is allowed for the particular assessment you are using it for
- The final work submitted is your work, reflecting your learning and performance
- You correctly acknowledge your use of Gen-AI software*
*To correctly acknowledge your use of Gen-AI software, you can check with your Course Director and/or Canvas for specific instructions on formatting this acknowledgement.
For additional information on how to reference AI-generated content in your writing, please visit Quick©ite.
If you use Gen-AI in ways that are not allowed by your Course Director, you may be in breach of the Student Academic Conduct Statute.
Risks to using Gen-AI
There are risks to using Gen-AI to support your studies. It is important to:
- Think about and understand what the risks of using Gen-AI are
- Critically consider and evaluate what the Gen-AI produces when you use them
- Remember that there are differences between different Gen-AI technologies
Even though the information presented sounds convincing, content that is generated by Gen-AI technologies can be:
You should not use information generated by Gen-AI as your primary and/or only source. You must fact-check all Gen-AI outputs using other reliable sources.
Content produced by Gen-AI can reflect any biases found within the data sources that the Gen-AI uses that include, but are not limited to:
You should critically review any output generated by Gen-AI with the potential of biases in mind.
Content produced by Gen-AI may lack originality and you are given may not have the tone that you are trying to achieve for your assessment.
Additionally, the content may not be written in a way that is appropriate for your assessment.
For these reasons, remember that the content generated by Gen-AI may not be of a high standard.
As Gen-AI learns from everything that you put into it, please make sure to not enter any:
This is because the Gen-AI you use will remember what this information is and may use it in other generated responses.
How Gen-AI may support your studies
You may be allowed to use Gen-AI to support you in your studies. Your Course Director will specify how you can use Gen-AI in their course.
These are some of the ways that Gen-AI may support your studies:
- Help you to revise your course content, such as through generating practice questions or flashcards
- Get a general overview of your topic before you begin researching in more detail
- Help you to improve your writing skills, including grammar, use of vocabulary, and sentence structure
- Explain solutions to problems in another way to help you understand how a particular answer was arrived at, such as in mathematics
- Help you to analyse data and/or organise information
There are many ways that Gen-AI can be misused in your studies, including:
- Using Gen-AI in assessments that you have been told the use of Gen-AI is not allowed
- Using Gen-AI in ways not allowed by your Course Director
- Using Gen-AI to write or develop your assessments for you. All work that you submit must be your own work and representative of your capabilities. This includes where your Course Director allows you to use Gen-AI to support your learning
- Using Gen-AI where it is allowed and not correctly acknowledging its use
If you use Gen-AI in any of the mentioned ways, you may be in break of the Student Academic Conduct Statute.
To learn more about academic integrity at the University of Auckland and effective study skills to support your learning, please check out:
If you're not sure about using Gen-AI
If you have questions about using Gen-AI in your courses, get in touch with your Course Director and/or tutor. They can help answer questions about Gen-AI use in your specific courses.
You can find your Course Director's details on Canvas.
Questions about University policy and procedures
If you have general questions about University policy and/or procedures around using Gen-AI, you can email the Academic Quality Office.
Academic skills support
If you are looking for support in developing your academic skills, you can get in touch with the Learning Advisers at Libraries and Learning Services.