Schools look to ban ChatGPT, students use it anyway (2023)

Schools look to ban ChatGPT, students use it anyway (1) Credit: Shutterstock

School districts throughout the US and abroad have banned chatbot use on their networks and devices over fears students will use generative AI tech to hand in unauthentic and potentially plagiarised work.

Universities and their professors are also wringing their hands about how to deal with artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT that students can use to write papers or generate exam answers.

“They’re still in shock to an extent,” said Tony Sheehan, a vice president and higher education analyst at Gartner. "The rapid consumer adoption of this product has taken everyone by surprise, and of course [that includes] the education sector because it’s about creative content generation — whether that’s an essay, or code, or pictures, whatever."

Soon after ChatGPT was launched in November, the nation’s largest school district, New York City Public Schools, moved to ban its use by students. The second largest school district in the US, Los Angeles Unified, soon followed suit and blocked access from school networks to the website of OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT. Other school districts have done the same, including Baltimore, MD, Oakland Unifiedin California, andSeattle Public Schools.

“While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success,” said Jenna Lyle, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Education, in a statement to The Washington Post.

Several leading universities in the UK, including Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge, warned students that using ChatGPT for work and assessments could lead to plagiarism “and is a form of cheating.”

“ChatGPT really falls into the educational area quite strongly,” Sheehan said. “I think educational institutions for the last few months have been both exploring and adopting a position on this. And in some cases, particularly from individual faculty, that is an urge to ban it.

“But at the institutional level, more generally, we see this as a significant change in the sector and something that’s not going away completely anytime soon,” he added.

One obvious problem: how do you stop students from using a chatbot that can easily be downloaded to a laptop or smartphone?

(Video) Cheating With ChatGPT: Can OpenAI’s Chatbot Pass AP Lit? | WSJ

There are anti-plagiarism tools from companies such as Grammarly and EasyBibthat can compare student work to billions of web pages as well as academic databases and check for duplication. The anti-plagiarism tools can also highlight passages that require citations and give students the resources to properly credit sources.

However, the dilemma remains that if students end up plagiarising work, they can still use online tools to reword essays or other documents. And as generative AI technology advances in sophistication, the content it creates will become less detectable as unoriginal, Sheehan said.

“Of course, the other thing students will do is use [chatbot generated content] as a first draft,” Sheehan said. “I just need some idea, give me some. Great! Now, I’ll just go off and research further and add to it, add research and references to it and it becomes almost impossible to detect that. Many institutions are saying, maybe this is something we should encourage students to do.”

Students might shun schools that ban ChatGPT

What the various educational institutions decide could affect what students do.

In January, Stanford University’s school paper — The Stanford Dailypublished the results of “an informal poll” that indicated 17% of 4,497 respondents had used ChatGPT on their final exams.

Most (59.2%) used the chatbot for brainstorming, outlining and forming ideas, according to the poll. Another 29.1% used it to answer multiple choice questions. And while 7.3% submitted written material from ChatGPT with edits, 5.5% said they submitted written material from ChatGPT unedited.

At the time of the survey, the school’s policies forbade students from using the AI tools.

The Stanford Daily's survey results were echoed by another survey performed this week byhigher education search service College Rover. In that survey, more than40% of university students said they are using ChatGPT for coursework and they're using it multiple times per week.


  • 36% of students indicated their professors have threatened to fail students caught using AI technologies for coursework.
  • 29% of students say their university has issued guidance regarding ChatGPT and other AI tools.
  • Nearly 6 in 10 students think universities should not ban ChatGPT and other similar AI technologies.

Stanford’s Board on Judicial Affairs (BJA) has been monitoring ChatGPT and other AI tools and more recently published policy guidance for their use in coursework, a university spokesperson said in an email reply to Computerworld.

(Video) How To Get Around ChatGPT Detectors

"Absent a clear statement from a course instructor, use of or consultation with generative AI shall be treated analogously to assistance from another person," the university policy states.

A Stanford committee has also published preliminary proposals and recommendations that include requiring students to askprofessors aboutthe use of ChatGPT, and to not use the AI technology on an exam "when it isn’t expressly allowed..."

"Concerns about academic integrity will likely only get worse if the university does not revisit its current policies and plan accordingly," the university's proposal states. "The dramatic emergence of ChatGPT and its sequel GPT-4 since last November has expanded the scope of these issues considerably (e.g., humanties coursework is now impacted by technology in ways that were inconceivable before last November)."

University students have strong feelings about the usefulness of generative AI technologies, and whether or not a school allows their use appears to shape their decision to attend there. In a survey released last week by College Rover, nearly four in 10 students indicated they’re not interested in attending a college or university that bans chatbots such as ChatGPT.

The survey showed 39% of respondents would shun a school that banned generative AI tech and AI in general.

But it was the ChatGPT question that raised concerns about originality and plagiarism by generative AI.

The survey of 372 students who've sought college admission this fall showed men (62%) are slightly more likely than women (58%) to be interested in attending a college that bans AI tools.

A College Rover spokesperson said while there have already been many bans in K-12 level schools, “institutions of higher education in the US have been a bit hesitant to ban the tools just yet” — instead, colleges and universities are updating their academic integrity and plagiarism policies to account for the use of AI tools.

“Allowing students to leverage tools like ChatGPT is not much different than giving them an open-book test. In order to pass, students still have to understand the material and how to utilise their resources, whether that be a textbook or a chatbot, in the most effective way,” said Bill Townsend, founder and CEO of College Rover.

Some educators liken chatbot shutdowns to banning calculators: chatbots are nothing more than a tool to be used to research and develop ideas.

(Video) Chat GPT Detector: How to Check and Remove Plagiarism Like a Pro!

The cat’s out of the bag

Dr. Boris Steipe, a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto’s Department of Biochemistry, makes no bones about allowing his students to use ChatGPT to perform scholastic work. In fact, he sets no limits on how they use generative AI.

“Students will be assessed on the quality of their work. The work has to be well thought through, it has to be validated, and correct,” he said. “That said, I have always used oral exams in my courses, and that will remain. The human aspect of learning is one of the few invariants. But they might ask their favorite AI to help.”

Steipe’s students are not required to show their creative process, but will get credit for it if they do, as well as for sharing their experiences in completing their work.

Far from being an adversary to the learning process, Steipe called the arrival of ChatGPT an “historical moment,” and he said educators should prepare students to work with AI resources instead of attempting to shut them down.

“The world is changing and if we don't prepare our students to work with AI resources, we are not preparing them for the world. If we spend our time on making our courses AI-proof — assigning hand-written papers or such — we are missing the point of education,” Steipe said.

“We need to teach our students how to have the AI think with them, not for them. This is the most important goal: if we don't achieve that, the AI will become their competitor,” he added.

Steipe first tried ChatGPT soon after its launch last year; it was then he realised it was better at submitting assignments than most of his students. AI was changing “everything: teaching, learning and assessment.”

The professor then created Sentient Syllabus Project, an initiative by academics for academics to navigate the uncharted waters of the AI era. The project includes a weekly newsletter discussing various challenges posed by the technologies.

Currently, Steipe is redesigning a computational biology course from the ground up based on the abilities of artificial intelligence to assist students in their research and work. For example, he sees it as a way to empower students who previously had only been software consumers, but who can now become developers using the power of AI and chatbots like ChatGPT. ChatGPT is able to take prompts or suggestions from users and generate software code.

“Having personalised tutoring, self-assessed progress, adapting assignments to their learning styles, focusing on weaknesses — we have known for a long time these things would help learning, but we could never do that in practice because it did not scale,” Steipe said.

(Video) Students are CHEATING with Ai ChatGPT

While there may be no limits on how students use technology to aid their work, plagiarism, Steipe said, is another matter. “Students still can't pass off someone else's work as their own, and the AI is not a quotable source,” he said. “This means they have to find the actual sources of ideas, and provide links to prove the source exists. But they had to do that anyway in the past.”

A spokesperson for ChatGPT-creator OpenAI said the company sees ChatGPT as a tool to assist with learning and education, but stressed that academia must address the possible abuse of generative AI by students.

"We’re encouraged by the ways educators have been ideating on how tools like ChatGPT can be useful," the spokesperson said. "We believe that educational policy experts should decide what works best for their districts and schools when it comes to the use of new technology. We are engaging with educators across the country to inform them of ChatGPT’s capabilities and our ongoing work to improve it."

Will Douglas Heaven, the senior editor for AI at MIT’sTechnology Review, recently wrote in a blog that after speaking with educators, some are beginning to accept that rather than “a dream machine for cheaters, many teachers now believe, ChatGPT could actually help make education better.”

For example, chatbots can be used as learning aids to make lessons more interactive, teach students media literacy, generate personalised lesson plans, save teachers time on administrative tasks, for example.

Companies, such as Duolingo and Quizlet, which make educational flashcards for half of all US high schools, have integrated OpenAI’s chatbot into their apps, Heaven noted.

Gartner’s Sheehan said schools are considering using chatbots as part of the student assessment process and knowledge-development process and to encourage students to consider the implications of AI technology in the future.

“Over the past few months, we’ve seen a lot more schools at institutional level saying 'We want to explore the implications of this,'” Sheehan said. “How do we encourage students to use this, declare they’re using it, and use it almost as a study buddy, and then reflect on the experience and the quality of output and then report on that.”

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Can schools tell if I use ChatGPT? ›

It is now completely possible for universities to detect ChatGPT and many other AI content generators. If work is submitted through a university's learning management system, such as Turnitin, AI and plagiarism detection should happen.

Can you use ChatGPT for school? ›

Some of the basic do's of using Chat GPT as a student include: Use Chat GPT for assisting your studies. Provide clear and easy to understand prompts to Chat GPT. Use more follow-up questions to get a response or refine the response you need for the academic purpose.

Can I get in trouble for using ChatGPT? ›

The answer is yes. There are risks that AI chatbots could infringe on intellectual-property rights, create defamatory content, and breach data-protection laws. For what it's worth, ChatGPT has its own advice on the legal risks of using it.

Why is ChatGPT banned? ›

It was banned after the country's data protection watchdog called on OpenAI to stop processing Italian residents' data, claiming that ChatGPT did not comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Can schools see your incognito activity? ›

School or company networks: If you use a network run by your school or employer, they can see your browsing history even if you're in incognito mode. Websites you log into: When you're in incognito mode and log into a website like Twitter, you won't be anonymous. The site can also share your data with other websites.

Can ChatGPT code be detected? ›

As an artificial intelligence language model, Chat GPT does not have a physical presence that can be detected like a human being.

Can professors detect ChatGPT code? ›

Yes, universities can detect ChatGPT essays and code using various methods. Plagiarism detection tools like Turnitin and Copyscape can spot if an essay is generated by ChatGPT without proper editing or citation.

Is ChatGPT ethical? ›

Another ethical concern it raises is plagiarism. Educational institutions are hugely concerned about the originality of work submitted by students. Unfortunately, the features of ChatGPT have compounded the issue by making it easier for students to plagiarise almost undetected.

What company is behind ChatGPT? ›

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot developed by OpenAI and released in November 2022. It is built on top of OpenAI's GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 families of large language models (LLMs) and has been fine-tuned (an approach to transfer learning) using both supervised and reinforcement learning techniques.

Is it wrong to use ChatGPT for school? ›

But when asked to answer the same question on its own, ChatGPT offered this more measured warning: “As a general rule, it is not appropriate to use ChatGPT or any other automated writing tool for school papers, as it is considered cheating and does not benefit the student in the long run.”

Is it legal to use code from ChatGPT? ›

As an artificial intelligence, ChatGPT does not have any intellectual property itself, which means that you can use the texts without hesitation, but if the data on which ChatGPT is based was plagiarized, the answers generated by ChatGPT could still be considered plagiarized.

Have universities banned ChatGPT? ›

A few international universities have banned ChatGPT and similar AI tools. It's unclear whether or not U.S. colleges and universities will ban the tool.

Which country Cannot use ChatGPT? ›

ChatGPT temporarily banned in Italy

Recently, Italy has become the first Western country to temporarily ban the use of ChatGPT. At the end of March, the Italian Data Protection Watchdog blocked the use of ChatGPT over data privacy concerns. However, this has since been lifted recently.

Does ChatGPT collect personal data? ›

In addition to end-to-end encryption, ChatGPT also has strict policies in place to ensure that a user's personal information is kept confidential. The platform does not share user data with third parties, and it does not collect any unnecessary information from users.

What companies have banned ChatGPT? ›

JPMorgan has restricted their use over compliance concerns, CNN reports, while other banks such as Bank of America, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo have also either banned or restricted the use of such tools.

Can my school see my internet history at home? ›

Can school administrators see deleted history? School administrators can see both deleted and un-deleted history, so you must keep your browser clear of any browsing history. You should also be careful not to store any sensitive information on the school computer or laptop. Better yet, get a VPN for school wifi.

Can schools block incognito mode? ›

Notably, private browsing mode does not prevent websites from learning your internet address, and it does not prevent your employer, school or internet service provider from seeing your web activities by tracking your IP address.

Can my school see my screen at home? ›

Being a school, monitoring might not be too sophisticated, but potentially, it could. If you are online via your internet provider at home, when you use your browser to log into a website, that website can monitor everything you do on it, but not more. Not another browser tab, not another browser altogether.

Can Google detect ChatGPT content? ›

Yes and no; in theory, Google could most likely detect a text is being generated by AI or ChatGPT if they created a system for it. There is no indication that Google does this when indexing and ranking different content.

Can ChatGPT be detected if paraphrased? ›

Can universities detect Chat GPT? Universities can detect Chat GPT-generated content if plagiarized or closely resembles existing content. Plagiarism detection software can identify similarities in language and context, even if an AI language model generated the content.

What is ChatGPT used for? ›

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that uses natural language processing to create humanlike conversational dialogue. The language model can respond to questions and compose various written content, including articles, social media posts, essays, code and emails.

Can ChatGPT be traced by teachers? ›

Can my teacher find out if I am using ChatGPT? The quick answer is Yes. ChatGPT uses an artificial intelligence engine that has a combination of GPT-3.5 language technology that is trained to understand and generate text based on a large collection of data.

Does ChatGPT get flagged by Turnitin? ›

Does Turnitin Detect Chat GPT? Yes, Turnitin have technology that can detect AI-assisted writing and AI writing generated by tools such as ChatGPT. Turnitin is a plagiarism checker that can properly analyze content to ensure the originality of the work submitted.

Does ChatGPT give the same answer to everyone? ›

No, ChatGPT does not give the exact same answer and wording to everyone who asks the same question. While it may generate similar responses for identical or similar queries, it can also produce different responses based on the specific context, phrasing, and quality of input provided by each user.

Why is ChatGPT controversial? ›

At first, tech critics slammed ChatGPT claiming it was a “Spammy auto-generated content” tool. Then, educators discovered their students used it to write long assignments in a matter of seconds. Instead of fessing up to its content origin, students claimed it was their original content.

What are some issues with ChatGPT? ›

6 Big Problems With OpenAI's ChatGPT
  • ChatGPT Generates Wrong Answers. ...
  • ChatGPT Has Bias Baked Into Its System. ...
  • ChatGPT Might Take Jobs From Humans. ...
  • ChatGPT Could Challenge High School English. ...
  • ChatGPT Could Cause Real-World Harm. ...
  • OpenAI Holds All the Power. ...
  • Tackling AI's Biggest Problems.
Mar 21, 2023

What is Google's answer to ChatGPT? ›

Google just launched Bard, its answer to ChatGPT—and it wants you to make it better. Under pressure from its rivals, Google is updating the way we look for information by introducing a sidekick to its search engine. Google has launched Bard, the search giant's answer to OpenAI's ChatGPT and Microsoft's Bing Chat.

Is ChatGPT owned by Elon Musk? ›

Elon Musk has disowned OpenAI, the nonprofit he helped launch that is responsible for AI sensation ChatGPT. Microsoft is now effectively controlling the company.

Will ChatGPT replace programmers? ›

In summary, while GPT has made significant progress in recent years, it is unlikely to replace human programmers entirely because it lacks the ability to execute code, think critically and solve complex problems, and generate new ideas. …. and this article was entirely generated by Chat GPT 🤓.

Is ChatGPT owned by Microsoft? ›

ChatGPT is an AI chatbot developed by San Francisco-based startup OpenAI. OpenAI was co-founded in 2015 by Elon Musk and Sam Altman and is backed by well-known investors — most notably Microsoft. It is one of several examples of generative AI.

What are the negative effects of ChatGPT on education? ›

Lack of human interaction: ChatGPT can be utilized to replace human interaction, which may lead to a lack of empathy and understanding among students. Limited contextual understanding: ChatGPT may not comprehend the context of certain situations or tasks, resulting in inappropriate or incorrect responses.

Can my teacher know if I use ChatGPT? ›

Yes, you can get caught using ChatGPT by various methods, such as plagiarism detection tools, stylometric analysis tools, code quality analysis tools, and other AI detectors.

How many students are using ChatGPT? ›

The survey found that 43% of college students overall say they've had experience using AI tools like ChatGPT, and half of those acknowledge turning to those tools to work on assignments or exams. This figure translates into 1 in 5 college students admitting they employ AI to complete their schoolwork.

Why are schools banning hoodies? ›

This is because a hood obscures part of a person's face and identity–making it harder to spot an intruder or to identify a student who has done something wrong.It is presumably for this reason that many malls restrict hoods being worn.

How many countries have banned ChatGPT? ›

However, Italy is not the only country which has expressed concerns over the rise of AI-generative chatbot- ChatGPT. Before, Italy, North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China, have made Open AI's generative AI tool inaccessible within its borders due to various concerns.

Why is ChatGPT blocked in China? ›

China has concerns about the US using the AI platform to spread misinformation and alter global narratives.

Can ChatGPT be used in China? ›

But ChatGPT, created by U.S.-based OpenAI, isn't available in China, where access to Twitter, Facebook and Google is also banned via the government's internet firewall.

Where does ChatGPT get its data? ›

ChatGPT is an AI language model that was trained on a large body of text from a variety of sources (e.g., Wikipedia, books, news articles, scientific journals).

How do I stop ChatGPT from using my data? ›

How to opt-out your Data on ChatGPT:
  1. Head to this OpenAI Data Opt-Out Request.
  2. Type in the email address associated with the account.
  3. Enter the Organization ID.
  4. Type in your Organization Name found in your ChatGPT settings.
  5. Solve the Captcha, and the data opt-out form will be submitted to OpenAI.
Mar 2, 2023

What item was banned by the US government? ›

The ban on sliced bread was just one of many resource-conserving campaigns during World War II.

What is a product that is banned in the US? ›

Examples of prohibited items are dangerous toys, cars that don't protect their occupants in a crash, bush meat, or illegal substances like absinthe and Rohypnol. Restricted means that special licenses or permits are required from a federal agency before the item is allowed to enter the United States.

What are some banned foods? ›

'Banned in the USA' 11 Foods From Around the World Banned in...
  • Horse meat. Slaughtering horses for human consumption is illegal in the USA (though technically, consuming horse meat isn't). ...
  • Kinder eggs. ...
  • Unpasteurised 'raw' milk. ...
  • Casu Marzu. ...
  • Foie Gras. ...
  • Ackee fruit. ...
  • Shark fins. ...
  • Beluga caviar.

Can teachers find out if you use ChatGPT? ›

Yes, you can get caught using ChatGPT by various methods, such as plagiarism detection tools, stylometric analysis tools, code quality analysis tools, and other AI detectors.

Can professors tell if you use ChatGPT? ›

A lot of people have been wondering if teachers and professors can find out if a student is using ChatGPT and the short answer to that is yes.

Can schools see what you search on school WiFi? ›

Can schools track your Internet activity? The short answer is yes; schools can track your Internet activity. This is especially true if you're using a school-provided device or the school wifi network.

Can teachers tell if you use chat GTP? ›

Can my teacher find out if I am using ChatGPT? The quick answer is Yes. ChatGPT uses an artificial intelligence engine that has a combination of GPT-3.5 language technology that is trained to understand and generate text based on a large collection of data.

What is the tool to detect ChatGPT? ›

GPTZero is a ChatGPT detection tool built by Princeton University student Edward Tian, and you can use it now to find out if something you're reading was generated with AI or not.

How do teachers check if you plagiarized? ›

Some professors use plagiarism checkers like Turnitin. Others might pull up a search engine and search for commonly used words and phrases in your paper. Some may look to see the check-lists found on academic databases.

Can professors check if you used chegg? ›

Submitting Exact Answers from Chegg

Universities use advanced software to detect plagiarism, with Turnitin being the best-known software in this space. If a professor puts your answer into Turnitin and you've copied Chegg's answer closely, then Turnitin it likely to flag your answer for review.

Can professors see what you do on Pearson? ›

Let's take a closer look. With Reporting Dashboard, instructors can access and analyze students' assignment and activity results, for all of their active courses. Using a drop-down menu, they can choose the kind of report they'd like to generate.

What is the negative effect of ChatGPT? ›

However, as you can see, there are also potential drawbacks to using Chat GPT, such as lack of control over the responses generated, bias, limited context, lack of empathy and creativity, etc.

Do schools constantly monitor your browsing? ›

Schools usually have pre-installed software to track laptops and to keep them in sync with the school's network. With that software, they could potentially log your browsing history remotely (even if you are on a different network), but that is not likely.

Can schools see deleted history? ›

A: Yes, they can monitor you.


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5. The Real Danger Of ChatGPT
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