Academic integrity has been a fundamental aspect of higher education for years, but with the rise of AI tools comes new barriers for instructors to maintain it. The temptation for students to cheat using AI has grown, making it essential for educators to adopt innovative strategies to combat it effectively. In this article, we’ll explore various methods to prevent students from cheating with AI, with help from Cengage online learning platforms such as WebAssign, MindTap, CNOWv2, OWLv2 and SAM.
Educate students on your school’s definition of cheating
Do your students understand exactly what is considered “cheating” Rather than assume students fully understand what cheating entails, reinforce your school’s honor code including the acceptable use of AI technology. This can be achieved through your syllabus, workshops, orientation sessions or online modules. By promoting awareness and understanding, your students are more likely to uphold academic integrity.
Tip: If you’re using WebAssign, you can assign the Academic Integrity assignment found in the Math Success toolkit to help students understand and reflect on the definition of academic integrity.
Remind students of your academic integrity policy with an honor code pledge
Before your exam begins, or within your exam, add a question requiring students to confirm that they will not cheat or commit academic dishonesty throughout the exam. Within this question, you may choose to include examples of cheating—including the use of AI—and reminders of the consequences of committing academic dishonesty. This will serve as a real-time reminder of how serious academic integrity is to your course, and the implications of using outside resources.
Tip: In WebAssign, you can access an Honor Code question template by searching question ID: 4625294 to use as a starting point.
Rethink how you assess learning
One of the key strategies to combat cheating with AI tools is to rethink how you assess student learning. Instead of relying solely on multiple-choice questions and easily searchable answers, consider alternative assessment methods that truly gauge a student’s understanding.
Incorporate questions with visual or interactive elements
Rather than assigning a multiple-choice question, utilize questions that have a visual or interactive component. Incorporating visual elements, such as images, graphs, videos or diagrams, into assessments can deter cheating as students can’t copy these elements into AI tools. These elements require students to analyze, interpret, visualize and sometimes interact with a concept. This is not easily replicable by AI tools. Visual questions also add depth to the assessment process.
In courses like Statistics, Physics and Chemistry, among others, projects can be an excellent assessment tool. These real-world, hands-on assignments require students to apply their knowledge in a practical context, making it harder for AI to provide answers. Encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills through projects ensures students truly grasp the concepts.
“I use projects that we complete in steps, so I see their work piece by piece.” –Angela Nino, Dallas College
Leverage open-ended questions
Use a mix of question types, including open-ended, scenario-based, and critical thinking or problem-solving questions. Open-ended questions, in particular, force students to demonstrate their true understanding, as they cannot rely on AI-generated responses.
Assigning tasks that are tailored to each student’s unique experiences, interests, or background can significantly reduce cheating through AI tools. For example, ask them to correlate the concept to an experience in their real life. When assignments are personalized, it becomes challenging for students to find pre-generated content online.
Ask students to upload their work
If your course requires students to complete multiple steps, or think independently to get the answer, this strategy is for you. You can assign file upload questions in MindTap, WebAssign, CNOWv2 and SAM. These questions prompt students to upload pictures or documents containing their work from the exam. You’ll want to inform students that they will be required to submit their work at the end of the exam by mentioning it in class or in the instructions of your assignment.
Tip: If you’re delivering a timed test or LockDown browser for your exam, you should create a follow-up assignment that doesn’t contain these restrictions and ask your students to submit their work there. This will ensure they can upload a file and won’t use up any of their test time.
Consider new ways to deliver assignments to students
In addition to the types of content you provide to students, you should also reconsider how you’re delivering your assignments.
Use timed assignments
Setting reasonable time limits for exams and assignments is an effective way to thwart cheating with AI tools. When students have limited time, it becomes more challenging to rely on AI models for all their answers. Timed assignments encourage them to focus on understanding and applying the material rather than seeking shortcuts.
Tip: All Cengage platforms such as WebAssign, MindTap, CNOWv2, OWLv2 and SAM offer timed tests.
Schedule frequent assessments
Frequent assessments throughout the course can reduce the temptation to cheat with AI tools. By breaking the course into smaller, regular assessments, students are less likely to procrastinate and resort to cheating to cope with the pressure of one big final exam.
The great thing about using Cengage online learning platforms is you don’t have to create all these additional assignments on your own! You can use pre-built assignments or questions to easily create additional assessments for students.
In the age of AI tools, combating cheating in higher education requires creative and proactive strategies. By rethinking assessment methods, emphasizing the honor code pledge and implementing personalized, time-bound and visual assessments, you can reduce the allure of cheating with AI tools. Plus, you can save time in doing so, with the help of Cengage online learning platforms.
Download the Cheating and Academic Dishonesty eBook to learn more about how to stop cheating in your course.