Catching students cheating in writing assignments has become more challenging for teachers with the release in November of an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, a virtual assistant that answers inquiries from online users or does tasks like booking a flight or taking food orders.
The Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer or ChatGPT chatbot developed by OpenAI can compose answers to questions and is now being used by students for their essay homework. It is available in the OpenAI’s webpage and free to use.
In India, ChatGPT has sparked a debate and divided academia with some schools banning its use. They consider it as cheating. Other teachers encourage its use as an educational tool to help students develop critical thinking.
Still other professors don’t mind its use because they can detect or know if an essay or research paper is generated by the ChatGPT, which can also write poems.
“Obviously, their (students) language will not be as perfect as an answer that a technology like ChatGPT generates,” Prof. Usha Raman, head of the Department of Media Communication at the University of Hyderabad, said, according to The South First.
If students don’t want to be caught using the ChatGPT to write for them, there are other high-tech ways to cheat on assignments or exams.
In Singapore, former principal Poh Yuan Nie, 57, helped students pass tertiary entrance exams to be able to enroll in local vocational colleges known as polytechnics.
In 2016, Poh reportedly charged several students 8,000 Singaporean dollars each to be secretly wired to remotely receive answers while taking such exams. She equipped Chinese examinees with camouflaged in-ear headphones and taped mobile phones and bluetooth devices to their bodies.
The contraption livestreamed via the FaceTime app the test papers to Poh’s office, where her staff worked out the answers and fed it to the examinees through the hidden earphones.
An exam supervisor, however, heard the transmission sounds from one of the examinees and another student exposed the cheating, claiming Poh forced him to cheat.
Poh and three accomplices were subsequently prosecuted, convicted for fraud, and sentenced to jail, but she failed to surrender in September, BBC reported.
An arrest warrant for Poh was issued in November with the Interpol helping track her down outside Singapore.
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