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Generative Artificial Intelligence and Copyright : Using Gen-AI in coursework and Assessment

A guide for University staff and students on the copyright implications of Using Generative AI tools.

Can I use Gen-AI tools for coursework or assessment?

The University of Strathclyde Guidance on use of Gen-AI identifies four broad categories when considering use of Gen-AI in learning and teaching and assessment:  

Table showing levels of permitted use of Gen-AI tools
Category Learning and Teaching Activities Assessment Activities

Not permitted

Not to be used to support any learning activities, (or only essential use such as transcription tools where allowed).  Not permitted (or only approved use of tools such as Grammarly where allowed). 

Selective

Used in some specific situations to support learning activities. 

Used in clearly defined and directed ways as part of the assessment process and correctly attributed. 
Open 

No restrictions and use encouraged to support the learning process where  appropriate.

No restrictions but use must be identified as part of the assessment process and correctly attributed. 

Integral

Understanding, application, and use of Gen-AI are essential Learning Outcomes and embedded in the learning and teaching activities and approaches. 

Understanding, application, and use of Gen-AI are essential Learning Outcomes and embedded in the assessment design and marking criteria. 

Students should always check with module leaders or Department teams to determine whether AI tools may be used in a given assessment, and the extent to which it is permitted to use them.   

Students should also check whether the use of Gen-AI tools is in line with any ethics approval they may have for a project.

Does the use of Gen-AI tools constitute plagiarism or academic misconduct?

The use of Gen-AI in learning and assessment contexts is not necessarily or automatically academic misconduct. The University expects that the use and development of Gen-AI tools and services will play a role in learning, teaching and assessment which means that it will be the context of its use which will determine whether academic misconduct is a concern. 

There are two core principles to consider in determining whether use of Gen-AI may be academic misconduct: 

  1. Firstly, that work submitted to the University should be a student’s own. 

  1. Secondly, that the student has not worked in a way that contravenes expectations around conduct set out in assessment instructions or briefings and/or that would bring them an unfair advantage in an assessment.  

These are the same principles that underpin the consideration of plagiarism, collusion and contract cheating as academic misconduct. 

When considering potential instances of academic misconduct, it is important to consider the guidance provided to students on how to prepare for and complete the assessment, particularly where the use of any form of Gen-AI has been prohibited. 

The Student Discipline: Academic Misconduct has been updated to include the following. 

Paragraph C of Annex 3 states that the misuse of Gen-AI may be considered ‘[w]orking in ways or obtaining information not permitted by the terms of the assessment or cheating in an assessment (including procuring, purchasing and submitting the work of a third-party).’ Specifically, it states that ‘the unauthorised use of Gen-AI tools and services’ could be considered academic misconduct because the use of Gen-AI ‘may give an unfair academic advantage.’