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Question of the Week

Each week we'll use this space to share a question (or more!) that we've received about Quercus and other Academic Toolbox tools. 

This week's question is: "Can I use AI-detection software to check my students' submissions for writing assignments?"

This Week's Faculty Question

Q:   I suspect that some students in my course used generative AI on a recent writing assignment. Can I use an AI-detection software to check my students' submissions?

A:   U of T discourages the use of AI-detection software programs (e.g., GPTZero) on student work because of serious reliability concerns and high rates of false positive results. For this reason, any results from AI-detection software cannot be used as evidence in academic integrity cases. There are also ethical and privacy concerns about sharing student work with AI-detection programs without the students' consent.

Please refer to a detailed explanation on the following page from the Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education website: ChatGPT and Generative AI in the Classroom. The page also contains:

  • Sample syllabus statement to set student expectations around use of generative AI in your course
  • Frequently asked questions (scroll down to the question: "How can I tell if a student used a generative AI system on my assignment? Can I or should I use one of the new AI-detectors such as GPTZero?")

What are some things to consider when designing assessments with AI in mind?

The Centre For Teaching Support & Innovation provides information and suggestions about using generative AI in classrooms in their article: Generative Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom.

In particular, refer to the "Course and Assessment Design Considerations‚ÄĮwith AI in mind" section that shares AI-related points to consider when designing courses and assessments.

What can you do if you suspect a student has commited an academic integrity offence on an assignment?

At the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (FASE), there is an official procedure to follow if you suspect that a student has committed an academic integrity offence:

  1. Access the following document: Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering: Information for Undergraduate Instructors. Note that the document is hosted on the FASE faculty and staff intranet hub and will require a login with your U of T credentials (i.e., your UTORid and password).
  2. In the document, refer to "Section 10. Academic Integrity", specifically "10.5. Incidents & Reporting".
  3. Follow the instructions on the Academic Offence Tracking Tool (AOTT) page (also requires login) to report a suspected case of academic misconduct. 

For additional assistance with assessment design and set up, please contact the EdTech Office or book a consultation.


Have a Quercus (or EdTech) question? Please contact FASE's EdTech Office.