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AI-ming High - how to use artificial intelligence ethically

Coventry University describes academic misconduct as trying to get an unfair advantage in an assessment, which can include using artificial intelligence (AI). Should you use it -and how can you use AI safely?

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An AI generated picture of a metal robot with glowing yellow eyes

AI has been getting a lot of attention recently, but many different services, like translation software, predictive text, digital assistants, paraphrasing tools, and websites, have included AI or generative AI for a long time.

Some examples might be:

  • Alexa.
  • GitHub.
  • Google Search.
  • Google Translate.
  • Grammarly.
  • Turnitin.

How do I use AI fairly and ethically?

Does it give you an unfair advantage?

 If you're being tested on how well you can write academic English, or debug code, you might not be able to use tools to help you with this, including those with AI.

Are you copying and pasting from AI ?

Copying and pasting is discouraged by the University and is lazy academic practice.

Have you referenced your sources?

You probably know that you need to reference your research materials, but did you know this includes content generated by AI?

Does the assessment check your analytical or critical thinking?

 AI can’t think for itself, it doesn’t have opinions or ethics like you do.

Your module team should be able to tell you when AI tools are appropriate and when using them might be cheating.

Good and bad uses of AI

A good use of AI might be:

  • Dictating and simplifying notes.
  • Helping with dyslexia.
  • Exploring a topic and getting inspiration.
  • Helping learn a language.
  • Avoiding writers’ block.
  • Researching or studying AI.
  • Debugging code (unless you’re being tested on this).

A bad use of AI might be:

  • Hiding that you've copied work.
  • Translating information that's been copied to reduce its similarity.
  • Copying and pasting text generated by AI into an assessment without changing or citing it.
  • Getting help with a task that you’re being assessed on, unless you are told that this is OK.
  • Writing your essay for you.
  • Using AI detection tools, unless your lecturer has asked you to.

Using AI may seem to be a complicated issue but if you’re unsure whether you should be using it - you probably shouldn’t!

Limitations of AI

  • AI doesn’t really think critically or analytically.
  • It does not come up with original ideas.
  • It doesn’t fact check, which means that it might be wrong or biased.
  • It doesn’t understand referencing well.
  • It will often write in a bland, and generic style.
  • It often doesn’t have access to peer reviewed articles, so can give shallow or out of date information.
  • AI can use work from creators without referencing, crediting, or paying them for their work- this may include your work!


If you're using AI and presenting it as your own work without acknowledgement, this is probably academic misconduct.

If you use AI, acknowledge that you’ve used it and keep drafts of your work before and after using it.


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