Eighty students committed fraud in computer assignments

Eighty students committed fraud in computer assignments

How many cases of ChatGPT fraud have been reported to the Examination Committee?


There have been several incidents involving ChatGPT, but in the Business Engineering programme (by SBE and FSE), dozens of students collectedly overstepped the mark recently. In two computer assignments, as they came up with exactly the same answers, possibly generated by ChatGPT.

The first reports of fraud reached the Examination Committee of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) in December. There appeared to be something strange in the case of two assignments for the second-year subject Computer Science Skills, for which students were asked to write programming code at home. Most of the time, such exercises vary in terms of structure and text, but for these assignments, eighty out of more than a hundred students submitted exactly the same code. 

In addition, the students provided solutions that had not been discussed in the tutorial groups at all yet. This may indicate that they called upon ChatGPT for help. Also, because plagiarism is less likely, these specific programming codes are hardly available on the internet. 

Previously, ChatGPT fraud had also been detected at FASoS. A student had used the chatbot for his thesis. The same has happened at SBE, says Stefan Straetmans, chairman of the Examination Committee. "In a thesis, we discovered references to non-existent scientific articles. That is considered a case of fraud. We have invalidated the thesis."

Take-home exams

take-home examsAt the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences, the Examination Committee has not received any reports of ChatGPT fraud yet. "We do see, however, that students give similar answers in take-home exams," says chairman Fleurie Nievelstein. "But we haven’t been able to establish whether they actually used ChatGPT. That is partly due to the fact that the dividing line between plagiarism and the use of AI is not always entirely clear."

Straetmans takes into consideration that some students who are being accused of plagiarism, in fact overstepped the mark by using ChatGPT.  


While UM intends to provide guidelines on AI in education in the next few weeks, most faculties have already drafted lists of tips and tricks, which have recently been sent to their lecturers (or will be sent soon). In all faculty recommendations, it is about prevention, detection and integration.

To prevent the use of AI, says Straetmans, it is wise to restrict the number of take-home exams or to ask questions that are as specific as possible. "Another option – as we already do in the case of master’s theses – is to add an oral clarification or presentation to a written assignment or to give those more weight."

Some students will not be able to resist the temptation, so how can they be found out? "Existing detection software is unreliable," says Straetmans. "AI can, however, be recognised by looking for other aspects, such as unusual use of language, changes in style, or incorrect references."

What may help, is the fact that UM is currently negotiating on the use of new plagiarism detection software (Turnitin), which the American company claims can also expose the use of AI. With a reliability score of 99 per cent, although it is not clear how many texts are labelled incorrectly. Meetings to provide more clarity have been planned for the end of March.


Ultimately, ChatGPT should get a fully-fledged place in education, says Straetmans. "The one-million-dollar question is: How are we going to do that? "It can only be done in consultation with students. They are more creative than we are when it comes to this technology. Lecturers and students of all faculties should brainstorm on this."

At University College (UCM), a pilot will be launched in a few weeks’ time in which students write the introduction or setup of a paper and then ask ChatGPT for feedback. "In this way, students already show how well they have mastered the subject matter," says Walter Jansen, lecturer at UCM and coordinator at EDLAB. "But then we also ask them to reflect on the feedback. How good is it? What is missing?"

According to Jansen, UM’s Problem-Based Learning system gives it an advantage over systems based on traditional lectures. "A tutorial group is a varied learning environment, in which it is easier to experiment with new teaching methods than in a large lecture hall." 

Here to stay

The two assignments for the Computer Science Skills subject – of a total of five assignments plus a final exam – have been invalidated by SBE’s Examination Committee and hence do not contribute to the final mark.

One thing is clear, says Straetmans. "ChatGPT is here to stay. In a recent meeting, students were asked whether they had already experimented with AI. The vast majority raised their hands."

Photo: Pixabay

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Tags: chatgpt,AI,SBE,FSE,instagram

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