You are here
Home > News > ChatGPT will change the NZ tertiary education system

ChatGPT will change the NZ tertiary education system


Ōtautahi – AI’s ChatGPT will force New Zealand to positively change its tertiary education system, UK academics say.

It has the potential to create increasing and exciting opportunities but also poses significant challenges for the education and academic communities, according to new research written in large part using the software.

Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT is the latest chatbot and artificial intelligence (AI) platform touted as having the potential to revolutionise research and education.

However, as it becomes ever more advanced, the technology has also prompted concerns across the education sector about academic honesty and plagiarism.

To address some of these, the new research study directly used ChatGPT to demonstrate how sophisticated large language machines have become but also the steps that can be taken to ensure its influence remains a positive one.

Published in the peer-reviewed journal Innovations in Education and Teaching International, the research was conceived by academics from Plymouth Marjon University and the University of Plymouth.

For the majority of the paper, they used a series of prompts and questions to encourage ChatGPT to produce content in an academic style. These included:

  • Write an original academic paper, with references, describing the implications of GPT-3 for assessment in higher education
  • How can academics prevent students plagiarising using GPT-3?
  • Are there any technologies which will check if work has been written by a chatbot?
  • Produce several witty and intelligent titles for an academic research paper on the challenges universities face in ChatGPT and plagiarism

Once the text was generated, they copied and pasted the output into the manuscript, ordered it broadly following the structure suggested by ChatGPT and then inserted genuine references throughout.

This process was only revealed to readers in the paper’s discussion section, which was written directly by the researchers without the software’s input.

In that section, the study’s authors highlighted that the text produced by ChatGPT, while much more sophisticated than previous innovations in this area, can be relatively automatic and that a number of existing AI-detection tools would pick up on that.

However, they say their findings should serve as a wake-up call to university staff to think very carefully about the design of their assessments and ways to ensure that academic dishonesty is clearly explained to students and minimised.

Professor Debby Cotton, director of academic practice at Plymouth Marjon University says the latest AI development brings challenges for universities but added there are positive openings for people to rethink what they want students to learn and why.