February 5, 2024

Should We AI-Proof Assignments? Unraveling the Dilemma in Education

Artificial Intelligence (AI)AI in EducationAI in Teaching

Imagine a world where writing an essay is as easy as pressing a button, where students can summon artificial intelligence to craft the perfect composition effortlessly. It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but with the rise of advanced technology, this scenario is becoming more plausible than ever. As we delve into the intriguing realm of AI and education, we must ponder a critical question: Should we AI-proof assignments?

In an era where technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace, the integration of artificial intelligence into various aspects of our lives is inevitable. Education, a cornerstone of societal development, is not exempt from this transformation. The very tools designed to facilitate learning are now raising ethical questions about the authenticity of students' work. Based on a study done by KPMG on Canadian students using generative AI to help them in their schoolwork, almost 87% said generative AI improved the quality of their schoolwork, however, 60% of students feel that it constitutes cheating (KPMG, 1). This article aims to explore the growing trend of students using AI to write essays and its potential impact on their learning.

An illustration of AI and a girl

Figure 1.

The Rise of AI in Education

The Role of EdTech in Modern Classrooms

In the digital age, educational technology (EdTech) has become an integral part of classrooms worldwide. From interactive whiteboards to personalized learning platforms, technology is reshaping the way students engage with information. AI, in particular, holds the promise of revolutionizing the educational landscape, offering adaptive learning experiences tailored to individual student needs.

Benefits and Concerns Surrounding AI Integration

While AI in education presents numerous advantages, such as personalized learning paths and real-time feedback, it also brings forth concerns about privacy, data security, and, pertinent to our discussion, academic integrity. As AI continues to infiltrate the educational sphere, the line between genuine student work and machine-generated content becomes increasingly blurred.

The Dilemma: AI-Assisted Assignments

The Temptation of AI Writing Services

Picture a scenario where a student, facing a looming deadline and struggling to articulate their thoughts, turns to an AI writing service. Within minutes, a well-crafted essay is delivered, and ready for submission. The convenience is undeniable, but the ethical implications are profound. As the accessibility of these services grows, educators must grapple with the challenge of detecting AI-generated content.

Ethical Considerations in Academic Integrity

Academic integrity forms the bedrock of education, emphasizing the importance of honesty, responsibility, and fairness. When students utilize AI to complete assignments, it raises questions about the authenticity of their work and the development of essential skills. Is it ethical for students to seek AI assistance, and how can educators ensure a level playing field for all?

The Impact on Learning

Devaluing the Writing Process

One of the primary concerns associated with AI-assisted assignments is the potential devaluation of the writing process. Writing is not just about conveying information; it's a cognitive process that fosters critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills. When students bypass this process using AI, they miss out on a valuable opportunity for intellectual growth.

Missing Out on Essential Skills Development

Beyond the immediate task of essay writing, students who rely on AI may miss out on crucial skills development. The ability to research, analyze information, and articulate thoughts coherently are foundational skills that extend far beyond the classroom. AI-proofing assignments might safeguard the sanctity of academic assessments, but at what cost to the broader educational goals?

Navigating the Future of Education

Striking a Balance: Leveraging AI for Learning Enhancement

Rather than outright AI-proofing assignments, educators and institutions should explore ways to leverage AI for learning enhancement. AI can be a powerful tool when integrated ethically, providing valuable insights into student performance, identifying areas of improvement, and offering tailored support. When it comes to shaping learning in higher education, McKinsey's new research shows that "faculty gave learning tools even higher marks than students did, for ease of use, engagement, access to course resources, and instructor connectivity. [With] more than 60 percent of faculty were excited about [AR/VR and classroom interactions], as well as machine learning–powered teaching assistants and AI adaptive technology (Brasca et. al., 8).

Striking a balance between technological innovation and educational integrity is crucial for preparing students for future demands.

Educating Students on Ethical AI Use

As technology becomes more ingrained in education, it is imperative to educate students on the responsible and ethical use of AI. Teaching digital literacy should extend beyond using tools to understanding the implications of their choices. By fostering a culture of academic integrity and ethical AI use, educators can empower students to navigate the evolving landscape of education with integrity. To further enhance this objective, professors play a crucial role in guiding students toward ethical AI practices. Professors can incorporate discussions on the ethical considerations of AI into their curriculum, encouraging students to critically evaluate the societal impacts of AI applications in various domains.

Professors must stay up-to-date on the latest developments in AI ethics and incorporate these insights into their teaching methodologies. Professors can leverage case studies and real-world examples to illustrate ethical dilemmas in AI, prompting thoughtful discussions that enhance students' ethical reasoning. Moreover, professors should encourage students to consider diverse perspectives, fostering a holistic understanding of the ethical implications associated with AI technologies.

To aid professors in this endeavor, the following strategies can be implemented: integrating modules on ethical AI use within existing courses, organizing workshops on digital ethics, and collaborating with industry experts to bring real-world insights into the classroom. Additionally, professors should emphasize the role of critical thinking in evaluating AI technologies and guide students in developing the skills needed to navigate the ethical challenges that may arise in their future careers.

Module Integration: Educate professors on ethical AI use by integrating modules on societal impact, responsible data use, and ethical considerations within existing courses.

Workshop Organization: Empower professors through workshops focused on digital ethics, utilizing case studies and practical scenarios to enhance their understanding and facilitate classroom implementation.

Collaboration with Industry Experts: Encourage professors to collaborate with industry experts for guest lectures and joint projects, bringing real-world insights into the classroom to enrich the educational experience.

Emphasis on Critical Thinking: Guide professors to emphasize critical thinking in evaluating AI technologies, fostering an environment where students actively engage in ethical discussions and develop the skills needed for navigating ethical challenges in their careers.

An illustration of Artificial intelligence

Figure 2.


In the ever-evolving landscape of education and technology, the question of whether to AI-proof assignments is complex and multifaceted. While the convenience of AI writing services is tempting, it poses a significant threat to the core principles of education. Instead of completely resisting the integration of AI, educators must work towards a harmonious coexistence that preserves academic integrity and fosters meaningful learning experiences.

Work Cited