Some of the country’s top universities will adapt their teaching to include the ‘ethical’ use of artificial intelligence
The Russell Group of Universities, which includes institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Durham, has published a set of principles to help universities harness AI.
Backed by vice-chancellors at 24 Russell Group universities, the statement said it wanted to support the ethical and responsible use of tools such as ChatGPT, while striving to maintain academic integrity.
ChatGPT is a text-based generative application for answering questions, answering scenarios and writing essays.
But there are concerns that some students might use it for homework.
However, the university’s statement said the use of generative AI in teaching and assessment “has the potential to enhance students’ learning experiences, improve critical reasoning skills and prepare students for practical applications of generative AI technologies”.
“All staff supporting student learning should be empowered to design instructional curricula, materials and assessments, using generative artificial intelligence tools creatively where appropriate,” it said.
Last month, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan called for evidence on how generative AI could be used in educational settings, after some of the country’s exam boards suggested schools should be able to put students in “directly supervised class” to complete coursework because of fears of cheating AI.
“Ensuring academic integrity and the ethical use of generative artificial intelligence can also be achieved by fostering an environment where students can ask questions about specific cases of its use and openly discuss related challenges without fear of punishment,” the Russell Group said.
Professor Andrew Blass, Dean of the University of Manchester’s Faculty of Health Sciences, said: “We know students are already using this technology, so the question for us as educators is how to best prepare them for it, and how can they What skills are needed to participate intelligently in generative AI?
“From our perspective, it’s clear that this cannot be imposed from the top down, but by working closely with our students to develop the guidance we provide.
“For example, if there are restrictions, it is vital that the reasons for those restrictions are clearly explained to students, otherwise we will find that people find a way around it.”
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He added: “Assessment also needs to evolve – as it has always done in response to new technologies and workforce skills needs – to assess problem-solving and critical reasoning rather than knowledge recall.”
Dr Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of Russell University Group, said: “Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence are already changing the way we work and it is vital that students gain the new skills they need to build fulfilling careers.
“The transformative opportunity offered by artificial intelligence is enormous and our universities are determined to seize it. This statement of principles underscores our commitment to working in a way that benefits students and staff and protects the integrity of the high-quality education delivered by Russell Group universities “.