Artificial intelligence – an update on the university’s approach


April 15th, 2024

Since our last update on the university’s response to the rapidly evolving emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), there has been significant discussion across the sector, and we’ve seen the increasing proliferation of AI tools both in the workplace and within the educational sphere, prompting a raft of ethical and pedagogical considerations.

This article serves as an update and reminder on the university’s position and progress with regards to various aspects of AI. You can use the links below to jump to different sections within this article.

AI detection capabilities

The university has been reviewing the efficacy of a number of AI detection tools, most notably that provided by Turnitin, our current plagiarism detection tool.

Thorough testing of Turnitin AI Detection has revealed its strengths alongside its limitations. There was found to be little correlation between human detection of AI and the tool’s detection, with the latter flagging an unproportionate number of false positives. Its results are therefore not sufficiently reliable as a basis for initiating academic misconduct investigations and the university has declined to implement the tool in this configuration. This is in line with the majority of providers across the sector.

Over the next two years, the university will explore how it can use a broader suite of false authorship detection tools to provide a more efficient and consistent approach to academic misconduct processes. This will sit alongside a wider programme of work supporting students in the ethical use of AI in their assessments.

In the meantime, the university recognises that staff will be experimenting with detection tools, and advises caution in doing so. There are substantial considerations to take into account, including GDPR compliance and disclosure of the university’s intellectual property. If you are considering using AI detection tools, we would advise you consult the AI SharePoint and associated community before doing so. Alternatively, if you’re using a tool and you want to present your experience to the AI Steering Group, please contact Joseph O’Neill.

Academic Misconduct Policy

During 2023 we updated our Academic Misconduct Policy to include the use of AI tools under the definition of false authorship. The updated policy wording prohibits the use of such tools in assessments, unless the school/department has explicitly permitted them as part of that particular assessment.

The policy also clarifies that overreliance on translation and paraphrasing software (such as Grammarly) for the purpose of gaining an academic advantage is included within the definition of false authorship.

View the Academic Misconduct Policy >

Artificial Intelligence at the University SharePoint

In November of 2023 the university launched its AI SharePoint site, a resource for staff to find support and guidance around the use of AI, as well as to share their experiences with the rest of the community.

This site brings together training and development opportunities, research, and resources from across the sector. It’s also where you can find out about any changes to policy, process and guidance.

Above all, this is a living space for our community to share its own experience, thoughts and feelings about living and working with AI, so please do get involved in the conversation.

Find out more on SharePoint >

Understanding how artificial intelligence may impact you and your work

One of the courses featured on the AI SharePoint is the training module, Understanding how artificial intelligence may impact you and your work.

All staff are encouraged to enrol on this one-hour module, which offers an exploration into how AI tools might be applied to the work that we do across the institution, and the mindset required to adopt them.

AI is highly likely to impact our work, regardless of your job role, so this is an opportunity for you to learn and potentially shape what this might look like.

Enrol on the course >

AI Executive Group

Over the past year, the university’s approach to AI in teaching and learning has been overseen by the AI Steering Group, chaired by Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Curriculum Leadership) Mark Bradley. The group has been responsible for considering and reviewing the impacts of AI on education in the institution, and for making key recommendations.

A new group – the AI Executive Group – has now been established to provide oversight of the organisation’s approach to AI in teaching and learning, research and knowledge exchange, and systems and processes. This group will meet for the first time shortly after the Easter vacation, and will be chaired by a member of UEB. If you have any enquiries about the work of this group, please contact its secretary Paul Couchman (Director of Technology in Digital and Technical Services).

Teaching and Learning Conference 2024

This year’s teaching and learning conference will have a focus on enhanced interdisciplinarity and artificial intelligence technologies, providing an opportunity to consider how we better equip students with the skills to address the complex challenges of the 21st century.

It will be a chance to discuss the challenges and opportunities offered by AI, and to contemplate its impact on the next generation curriculum and future of learning.

Find out more >

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