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AI tools and your studies

Last modified on 19-02-2024 12:02
Learn about when generative AI tools such as ChatGPT may and may not be used for your studies, and what the possible risks are.
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What is your study programme?

At the UvA, students and lecturers are not (yet) allowed to make active use of AI tools for teaching and assessment. However, the UvA is exploring how it could use Artificial Intelligence as a teaching aid in the future.

About ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a language model that has been trained to generate text rapidly and answer questions based on user prompts. Users can ask follow-up questions or give further instructions to better tailor its output to their requirements.

Why does the UvA not use ChatGPT for teaching purposes?

ChatGPT is a commercial product. It’s currently unclear what the developer does with user data and any other data entered into it. This means that the tool is not (yet) suitable for use at the UvA. For this reason, lecturers can’t require you to use ChatGPT to complete assignments.

AI tools may not be used to write assignments you’ll be submitting

As an UvA student, you can expect to receive high-quality and innovative education. At the same time, you must have the intrinsic motivation to learn. You’ll still need to write your assignments yourself, instead of letting an AI tool take care of this. This helps develop the skills you’ll need later on in your studies and on the labour market.

Assignments that you didn’t write yourself may be deemed fraudulent

The UvA’s fraud and plagiarism regulations state that lecturers must be able to assess a student’s knowledge, insight and skills. We therefore expect students to write everything they submit themselves. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the use of AI tools such as ChatGPT is therefore not permitted. Consequently, submitting assignments that you didn’t write yourself may be deemed fraudulent. In cases of fraud, the UvA will take strict action.

Risks when using AI tools

AI tools can help you to study more effectively. For example, you can use ChatGPT to brainstorm, to check your knowledge when studying for an examination or to translate a text for you. It can be a convenient assistant that is available at all times. However, it’s important that you’re aware of the risks involved.

  • Answers that sound perfectly plausible may still contain inaccuracies. ChatGPT generates output based on probabilities and statistics. It doesn’t verify whether the information is factually correct.
  • The output may be compromised by harmful bias and stereotypes. Among other things, this is because the data sets that ChatGPT uses are not representative.
  • Many AI tools store your interactions, which entails privacy and intellectual property risks. You should therefore take care not to enter any privacy-sensitive or other confidential information, such as confidential research data, patient information or personal data of fellow students or lecturers. Not even a paid account offers adequate security and privacy safeguards.
  • Don’t use your UvA account, but use a dummy email address that can’t be traced back to the UvA, and ideally can’t be traced back to you personally either.

E-learning module for students

Together with Dr Jelle ZuidemaExternal link, the Teaching & Learning Centre ScienceExternal link had developed an e-learning module for students in English about the responsible use of AI tools (particularly ChatGPT) in higher education. This interactive e-learning module consists of text, knowledge clips and brief knowledge quizzes. It will take around 45-60 minutes to complete.

Go to the e-learning moduleExternal link