ChatGPT: How AI impacts academic integrity


Collegian | Sophia Sirokman

Grant Coursey, Staff Reporter

Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer is a web-based chatbot designed by OpenAI that is powerful enough to churn out a whole essay in a matter of seconds when given the right prompts. The quality of the writing created by ChatGPT has raised concerns about its use for academic misconduct at universities around the globe.

JJ McKinney

Three weeks into the spring semester, Colorado State University students expressed confusion about the university’s policy on the subject. Students can easily get answers regarding ChatGPT policies by emailing their instructors, said Michael Katz, director of the Student Resolution Center.


Instructors at CSU have academic freedom, Katz said. This means each instructor controls the grades they assign and the practices allowed in their classroom, so the decision to allow the use of ChatGPT in any context or on any assignment comes down to them.

Katz said the use of artificial intelligence chatbots is already covered by the student conduct code under the two sections dealing with cheating and plagiarism and that the responsibility of finding out if an instructor allows a certain practice or source falls on the student.

“For (ChatGPT) to be authorized, an instructor has to explicitly state that it’s authorized,” Katz said. “So a student should not assume without talking to the instructor.”

Katz said he is grateful the new program is starting a conversation around academic misconduct, something he has always wished was a greater point of communication between instructors and students.

“It’s great,” Katz said. “It’s shining a light on something that, frankly, has just always existed.” 

“(ChatGPT) is just another tool in a long line,” said Joseph Brown, director of academic integrity at The Institute of Learning and Teaching at CSU.

Brown explained that students have always had tools available to them to cheat, and ChatGPT is merely the newest tool a student might be tempted to misuse out of desperation often caused by a time crunch or lack of knowledge.

“It’s a great way to look at the slide, see what they are talking about (in class) and then stick it in ChatGPT, and I get a summary of exactly what they just talked about, so that way I’m not far behind.” -Gray Woodson, CSU mechanical engineering student.

Brown said there are beneficial uses for the program; however, he explained that the demarcation line between accepted use and misuse of programs such as ChatGPT often has to do with turned-in work.

“The university uses the phrase ‘work for credit,’” Brown said. “So if you received unauthorized assistance on work for credit, that’s where I’m worried. If you’ve learned a good bit using ChatGPT to understand what’s going on in lecture, great. If you are using language from that conversation in your work that you are submitting, … then you’re probably crossing a line.”


First-year mechanical engineering student Gray Woodson already uses ChatGPT to keep himself engaged in classes he might otherwise get lost or distracted in because of his attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

“It’s a great way to look at the slide, see what they are talking about (in class) and then stick it in ChatGPT, and I get a summary of exactly what they just talked about, so that way I’m not far behind,” Woodson said.

Tom Isaacson

While using ChatGPT the way Woodson described is aligned with what Brown suggests is a beneficial use for the program, it is important to be aware the information provided by ChatGPT may not always be accurate.

AI hallucination, the phenomenon in which AI chatbots fabricate information or sources, may happen as much as 20% of the time, said Peter Relan, co-founder of the conversational startup Got It AI, in an interview with VentureBeat.

This issue will continue to develop as CSU departments meet to discuss the ramifications of the new technology.

In an effort to address the mounting concerns expressed by both students and faculty, CSU’s Office of the Provost, in an email to CSU academic faculty, announced a Provost’s Ethics Colloquium on the academic impact of ChatGPT scheduled for Feb. 16.

Reach Grant Coursey at or on Twitter @grantcoursey.