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AI in scientific practice

Prevention of AI in teaching - Unauthorized use of AI-based software by students

In examinations and performance components of courses, the use of unauthorized aids is considered as cheating. What tools are necessary or appropriate for a particular course and/or exam is determined at the course and/or exam level in the syllabus ("Assessment"). In order for such tools to be considered as unauthorized aids, teachers must announce the authorised aids in the syllabus for examinations and performance components of courses before the beginning of each semester. The authorized aids must be defined and it is recommended to list unauthorized aids in addition by example. In the case of an exhaustive list of unauthorized aids, the conclusion could be drawn that everything else is allowed.

Definition of (un)authorized tools for your course/exam in the syllabus
In order for tools to be considered unauthorised aids, teachers must announce the authorised aids for examinations and partial performances of courses in the syllabus before the beginning of each semester and, if appropriate, communicate unauthorized aids. The following must be communicated in the syllabus of the courses/assessments:

  • Is the use of AI-based software for your course/examination an (un)authorized aid?

    • Please list unauthorized aids, for example, "The use of AI-based software for text generation such as ChatGPT is not permitted".

    • Or e.g.: "Permitted is, for example, the use of AI-based software for writing support, such as Grammarly".

Additionally, we recommend communicating the following for your course/exam (if applicable):

  • How should students indicate the authorized use of AI-based software?

    • Communicate whether students should provide a note in a footnote for the relevant sections, for example, or whether they want a detailed appendix with specific "prompts" and answers from the text generation software.

  • As a first step, how would you like to deal with any suspected cases of unauthorized use of AI-based software?

    •  Indicate whether you would like to do an additional examination interview in the event of suspicious cases, for example.

If unauthorized aids are used in theses, this is considered as academic fraud. In addition, this will regularly result in a lack of independent performance. In principle, you can handle this in the same way and send the information on the aids to your students in writing before the start of the supervision.

If the use of ChatGPT or AI-based software is defined as an unauthorized aid, the usual study law regulations and processes apply.

Is AI-generated output detectable?

The provider of the WU plagiarism software (turnitin) has integrated an AI check for English texts up to a length of 15,000 characters into the plagiarism check report on a trial basis. Thus you have the possibility to screen plagiarism via LEARN but also canvas texts for AI conformity. Since the update, the established plagiarism check report now shows a percentage between 0 and 100 for English works under 15,000 characters under "AI". This percentage value indicates the proportion of this total text that was detected by the model used. For work that cannot be checked by the model, the entry "- -" can be found.

More information can be found in the FAQs of turnitin:

In addition, a number of easy-to-use online tools are currently available that calculate how likely it is that the text is more likely to be AI-generated or human-written.

Please note: the tools offered are often optimized for different language models.
Tests have shown that:

  • Tools that are optimised for older large language models are less likely to recognize AI-generated texts, especially if they were generated with more up-to-date models.

  • Detectors can be deceived.

  • The information on the method provided in connection with the respective detector can also be helpful in assessing the detection result (see for example: for the solution of turnitin).