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GAI and chatbots

Brief description 

Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI), such as chatbots, are examples of Large Language Model (LLM) that can answer questions and generate text so that the end result resembles something produced by a human. The emergence of GAI at the universities has an impact on many aspects of teaching and exams, which educators should take into consideration.

GAI and chatbots in education

We are educating students for a labour market increasingly characterised by technology that uses GAI. By being at the forefront of chatbots and teaching our students how to use them, we can prepare our students for their future on the labour market.  

Of course, like all technology, chatbots have their limitations and there are several ethical aspects we need to consider when using them. That’s why it’s essential that we learn to use them with integrity – which is also something we can educate and teach our students.  

How can chatbots be used in teaching? 

GAI and chatbots can be used as a valuable resource to generate ideas, creative inputs and text. As such, they also have the potential to support members of teaching staff and students in their academic work, provided we appraoch them consciously, reflectively and critically. 

Here are some examples of what GAI and chatbots can be used for at university and some things to consider when using them.

Teaching students about chatbots

Your students need to know how they may and may not use chatbots. Have a discussion with your students about the limitations of chatbots and the ethical implications of using them. It’s important that students develop a better understanding of how they can use chatbots in a responsible way. It could be relevant to discuss: 

How to use chatbots responsibly

How to use chatbots responsibly within the framework of the course/subject and in a way that does not constitute cheating. This also relates to the general advice and guidelines on academic standards – which students can read more about on AU Studypedia.

Plagiarism and cheating

Students should be aware of AU’s rules on plagiarism and ensure that they provide correct references when taking text from other sources, including chatbots. 

Chatbots and reliability

Students should be aware that they cannot trust all the information they get from chatbots. Chatbots such as ChatGPT are often based on text from the internet, which is not always correct. It is therefore important that students check the reliability of the information elsewhere. 

How to reference chatbots

If the form of examination allows the use of GAI, students must know how to refer to the chosen chatbot. You can find guidance on how to refer to GAI and chatbots at the AU Library.

The limitations of chatbots

Students should be aware that chatbots are a tool and not a replacement for their own critical thinking and writing. They are always required to exercise their own assessment and expertise when using chatbots. 

How the students use chatbots

Ask students how they use chatbots so that you can learn more about their practices. Perhaps you can find an interesting way to integrate this into your teaching. 

Materials for students

Students can find more information and inspiration on how to use chatbots in connection with their degree programme on AU Studypedia.

Using chatbots in the classroom

You can use chatbots either as a resource to improve the students’ academic and study competencies or as a current topic that you examine from an academic perspective. There are many ways to do this.

Here are a few suggestions: 

Chatbots as a current topic 

  • Discuss the use of chatbots from an academic angle. Take advantage of the fact that chatbots are a current topic and discuss their use from an academic perspective, for example a legal, philosophical, ethical, pedagogical or technical perspective. 
  • Take the Turing test. Ask the students to write answers to a number of academic questions before class. In class, ask the students to guess whether a given answer has been written by one of their fellow students or by a chatbot. You can do this using a Mentimeter poll or a show of hands. (The Turing test is a way of determining whether a machine can exhibit intelligence equivalent to a human.) 
  • Bust the myths: confirm or reject the chatbot’s answer. Students should adopt a critical approach to the chatbot’s answers and, if relevant, find sources for its answers to specific questions. This will train the students’ critical awareness and give them an insight into the chatbot’s limitations. 

Chatbots as a resource 

  • Conduct a feedback activity. The students write a piece of text and ask the chatbot for suggestions to improve it (focusing on specific feedback points, if possible). After this, the students improve their own text. If relevant, this could form part of a larger feedback process that includes subsequent peer or teacher feedback. 
  • Ask good academic questions. Students ask the chatbot different versions of the same academic question and reflect on the chatbot’s answers. They can reflect on the types of answers they receive, whether the chatbot understood the question when it was reformulated, or whether the chatbot gave generic answers. By doing this, the students will train themselves to ask good academic questions. 
  • Analyse the chatbot’s answer from a particular academic perspective, for example its ability to add to a rhetorical argument, to produce a specific text genre, or to translate text.   
  • Generate precise formulations. Students can ask the chatbot to suggest ways to vary the title of a text or to change the angle of a research question or hypothesis. 
  • Test how much the students know. Students define or describe a topic and then compare their text with the chatbot’s text. By comparing the texts, students can identify knowledge overlap, knowledge gaps and ways of communicating knowledge. 


Getting to know chatbots as a teacher

Try out chatbots like ChatGPT for yourself and experiment with ways to use them within your academic field. It’s a good idea to get to know the technology so that you can teach the students about it and be a good role model for how chatbots can be used within your subject. Here are just a few examples of how you can work with chatbots: 

  • Get feedback on your own text by asking a chatbot for suggestions for improvement. 
  • Get help brainstorming titles or formulations of research questions. 
  • Avoid writer’s block by letting a chatbot inspire you to start writing about a specific topic. 
  • Get a brief introduction to a topic, concept or theory, which can act as a starting point for your own, more in-depth study. 
  • Get an objective view of data by asking the chatbot to identify patterns in a text. 

Using chatbots to support students’ academic work

Chatbots can be a valuable resource for students’ academic work. Of course, students should not use chatbots to produce their text, but, if they use chatbots wisely and responsibly, they can help improve students’ understanding of academic content and assist them with the writing process. Students can use chatbots like ChatGPT to: 

Get feedback on their own text

Students can give the chatbot a text excerpt, such as a report or an analysis, and ask the chatbot to give feedback on the grammar, coherence and clarity in the text. 

Suggest alternative formulations

Students can ask the chatbot to suggest ways to vary the title of a text or to change the angle of a research question or hypothesis. 

Get started on their writing

The chatbot can help students get started on their writing by giving them initial suggestions for sentences or paragraphs, which the students can then work on. This can be helpful for students who often experience writer’s block. 

Understand a topic better

A chatbot can be a good tool for students to get a quick overview of a complicated topic, theory or concept before they investigate it in more detail and depth. 

Assist with the reading process

Students can use chatbots to get a basic understanding of a primary text, especially if the text is complicated. This could make it easier for students to relate to the text and to know what they should take from it and how they should approach it. Students can learn more about reading strategies on AU Studypedia.

Avoiding cheating when using chatbots

GAI and exams

You are free to use GAI as a tool in your daily life as a student, including participation in classes. Ensuring good academic practice with GAI is crucial when writing texts for exams. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly review the study regulations, course descriptions detailing exam activities, and AU's guidelines for GAI use.

GAI and Exams As a general rule, the use of GAI-based technologies is not allowed in exams at AU. Tools based on generative artificial intelligence can only be used in the following cases: • Bachelor projects • Master's theses • Final exams in postgraduate education • For other tests: Only if explicitly mentioned in the course description that generative artificial intelligence is permitted.

Rules for GAI use in exams may change, so it is essential to stay updated through:

  • AU's exam guidelines and anti-plagiarism guidelines
  • AU's course catalog
  • AU Library's recommendations to avoid plagiarism


Using chatbots as a source

If it is allowed to use ChatGPT and other LLMs for exams, students should be aware that the same requirements for the use of quotations and source references apply as for all other sources. Otherwise it will be considered plagiarism. Students can read more about AU's rules for exams as well as the use of chatbots on AU Studypedia.

Examples of how teachers use chatbots

We asked some students how they use ChatGPT in connection with their degree programme.

Here are some of the things they said: 

Examples of how students can use chatbots

We asked some students how they use ChatGPT in connection with their degree programme. Here are some of the things they said: 


Please contact the editors at AU Educate if you have any questions about the content of the platform or if you need consultation on your teaching from one of the many skilled professionals at the Centre for Educational Development