(Last Updated On: February 21, 2019)

With the recent posts on how AI machines are able to write a full essay, the threat of technologically assisted academic dishonesty is ever more present. How can this be combatted?

It has to be combatted; otherwise, why bother with education? Whipping the sea will not help; although, in fairness, it should be said that Xerxes’ second attempt to cross the Hellespont after doing just this was indeed successful and so this analogy falls flat…but I digress. Technology is not the stuff of the future, it is the stuff of today and it is out there, being used by students and rightly so. Tech is brilliant, but how does one make sure that only the good that it brings is used?

Technology breeds technology. There are plagiarism detection systems that will check that the work is original, but this will not help against an AI-written piece as it is original. But using tech to check tech will mean that you are constantly fighting the good fight but one step behind. Also, I am not sure that academia is willing to move away from its current preferred method of checking knowledge – the essay.

The only logical thing to do is to combat academic dishonesty at its source. My personal experience of teaching is that students do not take shortcuts if they enjoy the scenery. Motivated students will work to produce the best possible essays that they can if they really enjoy what they are doing. To help achieve this, we must allow students to follow passion projects. By connecting students with interested supervisors – and supervisors with the right students – we let both parties work on something that is of burning interest. Think back to when you wrote your final project – or, if you are writing a bachelor, master or PhD thesis now, take a second to think about what you are doing – did/do you do this? I know that I did not. I was not connected to a supervisor who shared my passions and so my theses were mostly quasi-academic drivel, written to a deadline and containing sources which were only relevant because the department said that I should include them.

The solution? Let students choose what they want to write about when it is time to write a dissertation. Let them have supervisors who are interested in the same topics. Connect them together, give them a system that will help them structure what they are writing and then sit back and enjoy a tangible increase in student wellbeing, student retention and quality of student output whilst simultaneously basking in the joy of reducing supervisor workload. This is what SciPro offers in a nutshell – a system to connect the right students with the right supervisors and the structure to ensure that they succeed.

 

James Bennett is the CEO of SciMind AB, the company behind SciPro, the system which connects students and supervisors to ensure high quality final projects. Find out more at sciproprojects.com or by contacting the team at info@sciproprojects.com

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