Using ChatGPT or other generative AI tool on a marked assessment

code | scenario | smart strategies | consequences

Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters 

1. It shall be an offence for a student knowingly: 

(b) to use or possess an unauthorized aid or aids or obtain unauthorized assistance in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work; 

Wherever in the Code an offence is described as depending on “knowing”, the offence shall likewise be deemed to have been committed if the person ought reasonably to have known. 

Scenario – Using ChatGPT or other generative AI tool to complete an assignment 

You have two term papers due in the same week, and the night before they are both due, you still haven’t begun researching or writing the second paper. Exhausted and unsure what to do, you enter your term paper topic into ChatGPT to generate a paper. Your instructor had talked about AI tools in class, and indicated that no outside assistance was to be used on the paper, including generative AI tools like ChatGPT. You hope that they won’t notice that ChatGPT wrote your term paper– and you hope that it did a good job.

The Issue 

By failing to comply with the instructor’s specific instructions that you not use generative AI tools in writing your term paper, you have knowingly used an unauthorized aid in preparing your assignment.  Any student using an unauthorized aid has committed an offence under the University’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, and may be sanctioned accordingly. 

Be aware that the University expects students to complete their own work, without any outside assistance from another person, tutor, or technology tool, unless otherwise specified by your instructor.  

If your instructor advised you that use of AI tools was prohibited, using a generative AI tool to create even part of your marked assignment would be considered use of an unauthorized aid.

You should also be aware that ChatGPT and other generative AI tools are known to generate writing with numerous factual errors easily spotted by an instructor, low levels of sophistication, and inaccurate citations. You are more likely to generate a sophisticated, logical, and error-free paper yourself.

Smart Strategies 

  • Plan ahead so that you have time to research and write the assignments yourself. Work with an academic success advisor or attend a workshop on time management skills, and start planning your timeline for researching and writing essays at the beginning of the term.  Speak with a librarian if you are looking for some support with the research stage. Alternatively, you can always ask your instructor for an extension or submit the assignment a day late. A small late penalty is always better than a sanction for academic misconduct.
  • If you’re unsure whether a technology tool such as ChatGPT might be permissible to use on an assignment, just ask your instructor. Faculty at the University are aware of this technology, and encourage discussion of the limitations and potential of these tools.
  • Remember that as a student at U of T, you are responsible for ensuring that you take the appropriate steps to avoid committing an academic offence. 

Range of Consequences 

For a discussion of consequences see Key Consequences