Oral exams to combat chat bot cheating, but faculties also see AI opportunities 

Less than three months after the AI bot ChatGPT was launched, faculties are taking extra measures to combat new forms of cheating. 

While the technology is brand new and far from perfect, it’s become apparent that the artificially intelligent chat bot can easily be utilised to write essays, papers, and reviews. 

Oral exam

That’s why the Faculty of Arts is making some changes to the testing and exam regulations. Starting next academic year, lecturers will be allowed to quiz students in an oral exam if they suspect their written work was the result of cheating. 

‘If they suspect someone may not have written a paper themselves, for instance because it’s unclear where their information came from, or if it’s abundantly clear that they didn’t write it themselves, this poses a solution’, said Joost Keizer, the arts faculty’s vice dean, during the most recent faculty council meeting.

Opportunities

While the faculties, and the exam committees in particular, realise how easily artificial intelligence can be used to cheat, faculty managers are also interested in the various opportunities.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is planning to talk about this with its programmes, programme board, and exam committees, says vice dean Rob Timmermans. 

‘The approach we’re taking with ChatGPT is that we can’t ban it’, he says. According to him, FSE isn’t panicking, mainly because the faculty doesn’t have its students write as many essays as other faculties. 

‘I also think it’s fairly useless to try and “discover” the use of ChatGPT the way we do with plagiarism’, he says. ‘ChatGPT is here to stay and we need to accept that. That means we should switch to different forms of testing where necessary. I also think it can be used as a didactic tool.’

Homework assignments

Law faculty dean Wilbert Kolkman also feels this is an important question: ‘How are we going to incorporate AI into education?’ The law faculty has also made changes to the way it tests its students. 

Lecturers have been tasked to put more thought into homework assignments and if possible, replace them with assignments in a controlled environment or oral exams.

The medical faculty, says pro-dean Gerda Croiset, has put together a task force to research how artificial intelligence can be incorporated into its educational activities. ‘It’s all very new and we’re entering a new era.’

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