Advice on artificial intelligence in education and training

01–03–2023

QQI has been following recent developments in generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools and how these tools are being used within the education and training system, both in Ireland and abroad. In light of the evolving situation, we are providing some general guidance for providers at this time.

As education and training providers, you are already aware that you are responsible for assessment and for maintaining the integrity of your qualifications. Some of you have already initiated full reviews of your policies on assessment and academic integrity.

It is a matter for you as a provider to take time to explore the impact of these tools on the system and understand how you may be able to harness new technological tools such as ChatGPT while balancing out any potential risks to academic integrity. Artificial intelligence can be used as an educational tool and students will need to understand how to use AI technology legitimately. It is important that you clearly communicate to your students under what circumstances the use of artificial intelligence and other tools will be considered a threat to academic integrity.

Students outsourcing their work to an AI system is just as problematic as students outsourcing their work to a person providing a contract cheating service or a relative. At this stage, we understand that AI systems still have some limitations – for example, they can be weak on referencing. Artificial intelligence may also lead to the prioritisation of higher order learning that cannot be automated.

Understanding these nuances may provide you with a way of designing your assessments to combat the risk of cheating using artificial intelligence. Whatever form of cheating is used, be it essay mills, AI or other, the best approach for you to combat it may be through innovative assessment techniques focusing on specific application of knowledge and an awareness among students that they may have to verbally present and defend their work.

The National Academic Integrity Network (NAIN), facilitated by QQI, provides a forum where representatives of education and training providers and student bodies can come together to share information and best practice about academic misconduct, contract cheating and academic integrity. The most recent plenary session of the network, hosted in December, involved discussions of AI chatbots. Network members from Atlantic Technological University and Griffith College shared information on work that they are undertaking in this space.

The most recent NAIN webinar, hosted in February, provided guidance on how teaching, learning and assessment practices will have to change to keep pace with these technological developments: What to do about AI text generators? Next steps for educators | Quality and Qualifications Ireland (qqi.ie) - presented by Anna Mills, College of Marin, California.

QQI, in association with NAIN, will also co-host a weeklong series of webinars with international experts on artificial intelligence (AI) from 27-31 March. These will explore various aspects related to AI tools, including threats and opportunities, short and longer-term responses, online exams and rethinking AI tools.

We will continue to maintain awareness of the situation and will provide updates as necessary, along with opportunities for upskilling in this area.

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