Universities around the UK will incorporate the “ethical” use of Chat GPT into their teaching and assessment methods.

It comes as a set of principles have been published by The Russell Group which aim to help universities make the most of the opportunities that artificial intelligence (AI) has to offer within education.

The group represents some of the top universities such as Glasgow, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge and Durham.

The statement, backed by the vice-chancellors of all 24 Russell Group universities, hopes to support the ethical and responsible use of software like ChatGPT while ensuring that academic integrity is upheld.

What is Chat GPT?

ChatGPT is a form of generative AI that can respond to questions in a human-like manner and understand the context of follow-up queries, much like in human conversations, as well as being able to compose essays if asked.

However, this has caused concern that the software could be used by students to complete assignments.

But the Russell Group statement suggests that incorporating generative AI tools into teaching and assessments “has the potential to enhance the student learning experience, improve critical-reasoning skills and prepare students for the real-world applications” of generative AI technologies.

It said: “All staff who support student learning should be empowered to design teaching sessions, materials and assessments that incorporate the creative use of generative AI tools where appropriate.”

Glasgow Times: Would you want to use Chat GPT in education?Would you want to use Chat GPT in education? (Image: Getty)

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan launched a call for evidence in June on how generative AI could be used “in a safe and secure way” in education settings, as some exam boards in the UK recommended that schools should make pupils do some of their coursework “in class under direct supervision” amid cheating fears in the context of AI use.

All of the Russell Group universities have reviewed their academic conduct policies to reflect the emergence of generative AI and these policies make it clear to students when its use is “inappropriate”, according to the statement.

“Ensuring academic integrity and the ethical use of generative AI can also be achieved by cultivating an environment where students can ask questions about specific cases of their use and discuss the associated challenges openly and without fear of penalisation,” it said.

What do the university professors say about incorporating AI into education?

Professor Andrew Brass, head of the School of Health Sciences at the University of Manchester, said: “We know that students are already utilising this technology, so the question for us as educators is how do you best prepare them for this, and what are the skills they need to have to know how to engage with generative AI sensibly?

“From our perspective, it’s clear that this can’t be imposed from the top down, but by working really closely with our students to co-create the guidance we provide.

“If there are restrictions for example, it’s crucial that it’s clearly explained to students why they are in place, or we will find that people find a way around it.”

He added: “Assessment will also need to evolve – as it has always done in response to new technology and workforce skills needs – to assess problem-solving and critical-reasoning skills over knowledge recall.”

Dr Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group, said: “AI breakthroughs are already changing the way we work and it’s crucial students get the new skills they need to build a fulfilling career.

“The transformative opportunity provided by AI is huge and our universities are determined to grasp it. This statement of principles underlines our commitment to doing so in a way that benefits students and staff and protects the integrity of the high-quality education Russell Group universities provide.”