Artificial Intelligence Led Threats To Academic Integrity Slides

My final presentation at the European Conference on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism 2022 was in area I’ve been talking about informally in talks and interviews for some time, but which I have not previously presented as part of a whole talk. As I found out, I easily have enough material for a full 60 minute exploration of artificial intelligence and academic integrity, not just the short version I ended up presenting.

To me, the growth of artificial intelligence systems designed to write like a human offers us a lot of opportunity to write, produce and develop more efficiently. But what should we do if this artificial intelligence technology is misused in an educational setting, for example to write essays or coursework assignments in place of a student?

You can see the slides I used below. They are also on my SlideShare account).


Many of the issues surrounding artificial intelligence and education run in parallel to those seen during the growth of contract cheating. That is why I am keen to draw attention to this issue now, rather than wait until it is too late to take action.

You can find systems that will not only write documents, but will also review and summarise literature, develop presentation states or create artwork. There is a question to be asked about at what stage we consider an artificial intelligence system to have creativity along the lines of a human.

The whole area is complex. As people working in the field will know, intelligence is not really the right word to use for systems like the ones discussed in the presentation. The whole background behind how these systems works is heavily dependent on mathematics and outcomes are often predictable. But many results now are so impressive that the systems look intelligent.

I ended the presentation asking the question how should we work with artificial intelligent technologies in education, rather than against this. If we want to avoid going down the path in which contract cheating has taken education, this is a alternative route that will need both some serious consideration and the adaptation of current practices.

Coming Clean – Addressing the Issues Where a Student Self Declares Contract Cheating Slides

The second session I was involved with delivering at the European Conference on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism 2022 was a workshop held alongside four of the UK’s best known academic integrity practitioners. This was also a rather unique experience, since both delegates and presenters were split between the conference location and virtual delivery.

We held a largely discussion based session looking at an emerging issue in contract cheating policy development, the situation where a students want to come clean and admit that they have contract cheated.

You can see the slides I used below. They are also on my SlideShare account).


We hope to share more in a future publication, but as the workshop explored, this is a complex situation. A student may be forced to come clean due to threats of extortion or blackmail, or they may just wish to equip themselves for success in the future. Then there is a difficult balance to strike between supporting the student but making sure that they have not benefitted from breaching academic misconduct.

These are the tricky type of issues surrounding contract cheating that we are likely to here much more about in the months and years to come.

Contract Cheating Marketing in Thailand Slides

At the European Conference on Academic Integrity and Plagiarism 2022 (held in a hybrid in-person and virtual mode), I was pleased to debut some results from a research study co-developed with student partner Pundao Lertratkosum.

These considered the little explored area of contract cheating outside the English language, in this case looking at contract cheating in Thailand.

You can see the slides I used below. They are also on my SlideShare account).


This research was developed as part of the Imperial College London StudentShapers’ scheme. It also featured as a case study in my Academic Integrity in STEMM module.

We found plenty of examples of contract cheating offers being circulated on social media and direct ways for students to connect with firms. Otherwise, there are many parallels with the English language contract cheating industry, including a very similar template based design to sites.

We hope to share more in an upcoming publication, but in the mean time, we encourage others to explore contract cheating in their native languages and locations.

International Center For Academic Integrity Conference 2022

The International Center for Academic Integrity (ICAI) Conference is one of the highlights of the year for people interested in the academic integrity field. The 2022 conference took place virtually, with a great mix of discussion going on in the background of the presentations and in the Whova app used for managing the programme.

Sometimes I write a long review about the conference. This year, I just want to share a few key takeaway messages. To me, much of the conference was about reinforcing ideas, rather than presenting the results of new research studies. In fact, I rather felt at times there were presentations holding back their research results for future publication, which is rather a shame with such a large and interested audience.

The conference was also celebrating 30 Years since the ICAI was formed (quite an achievement), as well as looking towards the future. Thoughts about the future featured heavily in the panels and in many of the presentations.

With four parallel sessions, I couldn’t attend everything, so these are some of my takeaways from the sessions I did get to attend.

Students As Academic Integrity Partners Are Key For The Future

There were several excellent examples shared during the conference about how students and staff can work together, both to promote academic integrity initiatives and to conduct research. Both staff and students reported how valuable such arrangements were. The students from Bow Valley College talked about the benefits of being part of a community and how this had helped them with motivation to reach their goals.

Prakhar Nagpal presenting with me on academic integrity research

I can relate to those benefits from my own experiences. In my presentation, I shared presenting duties with Prakhar Nagpal, one of my own students, and we talked about research we’d conducted looking at how to identify misuse of homework help sites.

Students from Maynooth SU talked about the ways in which they had been approached by companies wanting them to breach academic integrity. They found particular problems with sites designed to help students to cheat in maths and that students did not necessarily consider these as problematic in the same way that they might for services designed to create written work for them.

They also found that staff did not have a good understanding of the advertising and temptation that students are exposed to. This is something for the academic integrity community to work on in staff development sessions and which students could play a huge role to lead or support.

Academic Integrity Information Is Often Hard For Students To Find

Academic integrity policies tend to be written in a manner that is difficult for students to understand. It was very pleasing to hear about work at Maynooth SU which plans to write user friendly versions of these.

Mary Davis also stressed how academic misconduct procedures being put into place against a student could lead to them being seen as an outsider and not knowing where to go for help. This situation was made worse by having policies that were overly long, poorly structured and not written in student-friendly language. Mary encouraged institutions to review their local documentation against the Universal Design for Learning principles.

Staff working at the University of Calgary shared an interesting approach they’d used, adding answers to common academic integrity questions to a chatbot. The introduction of the chatbot was not without problems as it also identified how much information was missing, but the staff were able to get a good sense of the type of questions students were asking, which included a lot of requests for help with citing and referencing. No matter how much work takes place to help students with referencing, there are always opportunities for more support.

The Future Is Technology, But Technology Is Not Academic Integrity

The term arms race has come up a lot recently, relating to the idea that as the technology available to breach academic integrity improves, so too does the technology required to offer a defence. It’s a situation I can relate to as a computer scientist, seeing people working on technology at both sides of this problem. At one side, there is a wish to write better automated text to look more like a human. At the other side, such technology can be misused to write assignments in place of a human.

The problem is that not everyone understands technology, how to engage with it, or its limitations. This is evident when people talk about text matching software, where they often want to translate difficult time consuming investigations into a simple process. For example, they may just want a simple number which tells them if work is plagiarised or not.

But, let’s face it. Technology isn’t always the most natural thing for everyone, as seen when one delegate accidentally shared their ongoing Teams chat in place of their presentation slides.

In a panel discussion I was part of, I asked delegates to consider how they could support students to embrace changes in technology and prepare students for the future.

Are Students Using Homework Help Sites to Breach Academic Integrity? Slides

I’m always keen to work with student researchers partners to investigate academic integrity research issues. I was pleased to work with Prakhar Nagpal on an extension to previous work I’ve been involved with looking at homework help sites and how these can be misused by students. This was completed as part of the Imperial College London Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programmme.

Prakhar and I presented together about this at the International Center for Academic Integrity Conference 2022.

You can see the slides I used below, along with a summary of Prakhar’s slides. They are also on my SlideShare account).


The question we asked is if there are there any ways of proving that students are posting questions intended for academic credit on Chegg. A lot of evidence suggests this is true, including discussions from students themselves, but it is very hard to verify if any given question is legitimate or not.

Prakhar experimented with some promising computer science techniques to do this. There is more that I hope we can share in other formats. But, like much research, we did not get to a definitive answer, although we did notice some patterns that would likely represent cheating. I do hope that Prakhar or other researchers are able to continue to look further into this.

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