AutomatED, a guide for professors about AI and related technology run by philosophy PhD Graham Clay (mentioned in the Heap of Links last month), is running a challenge to professors to submit assignments that they believe are immune to effective cheating by use of large language models.
Clay, who has explored the the AI-cheating problem in some articles at AutomatED, believes that most professors don’t grasp its severity. He recounts some feedback he received from a professor who had read about the problem:
They told me that their solution is to create assignments where students work on successive/iterative drafts, improving each one on the basis of novel instructor feedback.
Iterative drafts seem like a nice solution, at least for those fields where the core assignments are written work like papers. After all, working one-on-one with students in a tutorial setting to build relationships and give them personalized feedback is a proven way to spark strong growth.
The problem, though, is that if the student writes the first draft at home — or, more generally, unsupervised on their computer — then they could use AI tools to plagiarize it. And they could use AI tools to plagiarize the later drafts, too.
When I asserted to my internet interlocutor that they would have to make the drafting process AI-immune, they responded as follows…: Using AI to create iterative drafts would be “a lot of extra work for the students, so I don’t think it’s very likely. And even if they do that, at least they would need to learn to input the suggested changes and concepts like genre, style, organisation, and levels of revision.”…
In my view, this is a perfect example of a professor not grasping the depth of the AI plagiarism problem.
The student just needs to tell the AI tool that their first draft — which they provide to the AI tool, whether the tool created the draft or not — was met with response X from the professor.
In other words, they can give the AI tool all of the information an honest student would have, were they to be working on their second draft. The AI tool can take their description of X, along with their first draft, and create a new draft based on the first that is sensitive to X.
Not much work is required of the student, and they certainly do not need to learn how to input the suggested changes or about the relevant concepts. After all, the AI tools have been trained on countless resources concerning these very concepts and how to create text responsive to them.
This exchange indicates to me that the professor simply has not engaged with recent iterations of generative AI tools with any seriousness.
The challenge asks professors to submit assignments, from which AutomatED will select five to be completed both by LLMs like ChatGPT and by humans. The assignments will be anonymized and then graded by the professor. Check out the details here.