Texas A&M University-Commerce said it is investigating after a screenshot of an instructor’s email accusing students of using artificial intelligence in their final assignments went viral on Reddit.
Jared Mumm, an instructor in the department of agricultural sciences and natural resources, reportedly told students they would receive an «X» in the course after using «Chat GTP» (referring to the AI chatbot known as ChatGPT) to determine if they had used the software to write their final assignments. He said that he tested each assignment twice and that the bot claimed to have written each final assignment.
“I copy and paste your answers in [ChatGPT] and [it] it will tell me if the show generated the content,” according to the email, a copy of which has been reviewed by NBC News. Rolling Stone first reported the story.
Attempts to reach Mumm via email, LinkedIn and phone were unsuccessful on Wednesday. A university spokesperson confirmed that Mumm sent the email.
The screenshot was shared Monday on the r/ChatGPT subreddit, a community of 1.6 million users. Many criticized him and others came to his defense, pointing out that AI is still a very new tool. The discussion reignited the debate about the impact chatbots could have on education.
after his viral launch in decemberChatGPT was lauded online by some as a huge step forward for artificial intelligence and the future potential of web search. But with such praise also came concerns about its potential use in academic settings. In January, the New York City Department of Education announced a ban on ChatGPT on its school devices and networks, citing the possibility of more student cheating.
A university spokesman disputed parts of the reddit postwhich claimed that «Texas A&M business professor fails entire class of seniors by preventing them from graduating, claiming they all use ‘Chat GTP'»
No student failed or was prevented from graduating because of the problem, the spokesperson said.
«Dr. Jared Mumm, the class professor, is working individually with students regarding their latest writing assignments,» the university said in its statement. «Some students received a temporary grade of ‘X’, indicating ‘incomplete,’ to allow the teacher and students to determine if AI was used to write their assignments, and if so, at what level.»
The spokesperson said that since the email was posted on Reddit, «several students have been exonerated and their grades issued, while one student admitted to his use of Chat GTP in the course. Several other students have chosen to complete a new writing assignment made available to you by Dr. Mumm».
The Reddit post was shared by a user named DearKick, who claimed to have obtained the email of her fiancé, a student in the class.
Hundreds of people responded in the comments.
One user suggested that «there be a mandatory introductory AI class for teachers and everyone else to understand AI biases and how it works.» Another took the criticism a step further, suggesting that the instructor should face disciplinary action from the university.
“I know of a number of college professors who are actively embracing the reality of ChatGPT and other AI and are looking at how to increase the learning potential that can be gained while finding better ways to analyze student skills and abilities,” another user wrote. “This all reminds me of the time we were told that calculators would never be allowed in classrooms and, heaven forbid, on exams, only to be proven wrong the following year.”
Artificial intelligence technology is already being used to help detect plagiarism. Many students have long used computer-assisted writing tools, such as Grammarly or Smart Compose from Google Docs. Platforms like Grammarly and Chegg also offer plagiarism checking tools.
In April, Turnitin, a plagiarism detection service, Announced will activate its AI writing detection capabilities to «help educators and academic institutions identify AI-generated text in student-written presentations.»
The Texas A&M University-Commerce spokesperson said the school will work to «develop policies to address the use or misuse of AI technology in the classroom.» Officials also plan to use AI detection tools.
«The use of AI in courses is a rapidly changing issue facing all learning institutions,» the spokesperson said.
Kalhan Rosenblatt contributed.