Student use of artificial intelligence

Find out about the University’s policy on students using artificial intelligence tools to help write their assessments.

Here at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, we have watched the development of improved artificial intelligence (AI) with the same fascination that many others have.

Student guidelines for using artificial intelligence

The University has developed the following guidelines to help students use artificial intelligence in a way that supports their learning and doesn’t breach the expected behaviours of academic integrity.

Understand what AI is

Artificial Intelligence or AI is the simulation of human intelligence by computers. It does this through recognising patterns but does not ‘think’ in the way we understand thinking. Many of us use AI in our day-to-day life. This includes using Google search, ChatGPT, digital assistants like Siri, image creation software, and assistive technology like text-to-speech software. There are also plenty of apps that support academic work too—like SciSpace Copilot, which helps translate texts into plain English.

Consider how you are using AI

When used well, AI can be a great tool to support your learning. It can help you develop ideas, translate languages, generate images, create a waiata, or summarise texts. AI stops being a good idea when you are not learning, and the AI is doing too much of the work. Consider this: if you have to complete a task without AI in an exam—would you be okay? Remember that using AI when it’s not permitted on a piece of work might breach the ethical standards of academic integrity.

Get to know the AI tools available

AI technology can help make learning more accessible. Take time to consider what tools you are using so that you can use the right tool for the right process. Some AI can support writing or the rapid development of artifacts in the creative disciplines, others can help you summarise ideas, or test your knowledge. There’s also AI which is specifically designed to help support you if you have additional learning needs.

Take time to understand expectations around the use of AI

Expectations may vary from course to course or even from assignment to assignment. This may include rules around how you can or can’t use AI, and what kinds of AI it is acceptable to use. For example, it might be ok to use translation software, but not generative AI like Chat GPT. Your course coordinators should make it clear when you can and cannot use AI and if there are any limitations on how you use it.  If you’re not sure, just ask.

Acknowledge when you do use AI

If generative AI is permitted in your course, and you use it—acknowledge how you have used it. See library referencing guides here.

Understand the limitations of AI tools

Sometimes AI may produce inaccurate or biased content, this can include imaginary ideas and inaccurate or outdated data. Generative AI like ChatGPT has “hallucinations” so can’t be relied on to generate high-quality summaries or text. Different AI tools will have different strengths and limitations, for example, Chat GPT is not a search engine. Users of AI all need to become critical users of AI, and understand what the AI can and can’t do well.

Watch this space

We’ll keep developing guidance and support for students on how to use AI well. If you have concerns about this or want to add something, please reach out to us by emailing Stella McIntosh or Robert Stratford.

Download the AI guidelines for students (PDF).