Students Embrace AI, But Cheating Boundaries Remain Unclear

Swedish students have shown a positive attitude towards AI tools like ChatGPT in their education, according to a survey by Chalmers University of Technology. However, 62 percent of students believe that using chatbots during exams is cheating, highlighting the uncertainty around cheating boundaries. This survey is the first of its kind in Europe to explore students’ perspectives on AI in higher education.

The survey involved nearly 6,000 students in Sweden and generated valuable insights. Over 2,000 optional comments were shared, expressing a wide range of strong opinions. Professor Hans Malmström and his colleagues, Christian Stöhr and Amy Wanyu Ou, conducted the study.

Most students believe that chatbots and AI language tools improve their efficiency as learners, enhancing their writing and language skills. Almost all students are familiar with ChatGPT, and 35 percent use the chatbot regularly.

Despite their positive attitude towards AI, many students feel anxious due to the lack of clear guidance on ethical AI use in their learning environments. Determining the line between acceptable and cheating behavior remains a challenge.

It’s concerning that most students are unaware of any rules or guidelines for responsible AI use in education, said Professor Hans Malmström, but the majority of students oppose a ban on AI in educational settings.

Students view chatbots as mentors or teachers they can consult for explanations and summaries. The prevailing sentiment is that chatbots should assist rather than replace critical thinking. As one student said, a student should be able to do what the AI does, but it should help you. “You should not use a calculator if you don’t know what the plus sign on it does.”

The survey also revealed the crucial role of AI in supporting individuals with disabilities. One student with ADD and dyslexia shared their experience of using ChatGPT to improve their written response for the survey, comparing it to “being color blind and suddenly able to see all the beautiful colors.”

The researchers have compiled the survey results into a comprehensive report, aiming to amplify students’ voices and contribute to a collective understanding of AI and learning. Associate Professor Christian Stöhr emphasizes the importance of this survey in providing students with a platform to express their views.

The study, titled “Chatbots and other AI for learning: A survey on use and views among university students in Sweden,” took place from April 5 to May 5, 2023. It involved students from all universities in Sweden and utilized social media and targeted efforts from universities and student organizations for survey distribution. A total of 5,894 students participated.

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