Uni professors trained in the challenges of AI

ChatGPT, Copilot or Gemini: AI tools designed to design and enhance written reports are becoming increasingly popular with students. But how can teachers assess this type of production?

Teaching staff can now find answers to this question in a specific training course organised at the University of Luxembourg. The first of the five seminars scheduled for the current semester was fully booked on 12 February, and the speed at which registrations for the other editions are coming in is a clear sign of the interest by the teaching staff.

"It’s not possible to ban ChatGPT, and its use can become undetectable through the use of other AI tools that reformulate content," explains Margault Sacré , e-learning specialist. Even the Turnitin plagiarism detection tool is no match for AI tricks once a text designed by ChatGPT has passed through the hands of a synonym generator. "I think one way is to make students acknowledge that they have used AI by referencing it at the bottom of the page", she suggests. Some teachers ask for the prompts, for example.

"The seminar enabled me to raise awareness among students and make the students more aware of generative AI tools, and in particular the fact that while these tools are powerful, they do require a certain amount of caution when being used," explains Cedric Laczny , research scientist at the University of Luxembourg. As he is responsible for explaining how to write reports, particularly on scientific subjects, and for correcting these reports, he now asks students to append resources drawn from generative AI software and details of how they interact with this software.

Aware that "fair assessment consists of asking students to do something that they have been taught", he now admits that taking account of the use of AI is forcing him to reconsider the structure of his courses. He is keen to point out that "while AI can be seen as saving time, it can also cost time in terms of handling the tools and verifying the answers generated".

Because by questioning students on how AI enabled them to produce the required content, a teacher can also assess their mastery of the subject. All things considered, a return to oral or written exams is not necessarily the solution to the equation posed by ChatGPT and its competitors.

Margault Sacré has no intention of taking a break: for the start of the academic year, she is preparing a training programme based around five specific themes for teachers using generative AI tools. Far from the clichés of cheating, embracing AI tools can lead to their real mastery.