Session 1: Brave New World: AI and Education

Day 1, Wednesday 28 June 2023

4:30pm-6pm BST//11.30am-1pm EDT

Session Chair: Andrea Calef, University of East Anglia


Sparking students’ curiosity as an antidote to academic cheating and plagiarism in the era of Artificial Intelligence

Giancarlo Ianulardo, University of Exeter Business School


The surge of online assessments and blended teaching has posed new challenges to the assessment process since misconduct has become more and more severe in a post-pandemic educational environment, where the availability of Artificial Intelligence tools, as ChatGPT, have added further challenges. Calls for a review of the methods of assessment to preserve the integrity of the process have become more compelling. By taking stock on our experience as Senior Academic Conduct Officer in a Business School as well as lecturers of qualitative and quantitative subjects, we propose to investigate the problem in terms of the opportunities that it provides to lecturers to critically reflect on the intended learning outcomes, establishing a renewed dialogue with students. Academic Integrity must be placed at the centre of the pedagogical process, as recently shown in Rettinger and Gallant (2022), through which Higher Institutions transmit their values to new generations of students. Many answers are being discussed to counter cheating and plagiarism, including detection processes of AI tools. However, if we, as lecturers, fail to transmit to students the importance for their formative process of critical and reflective thinking, students’ misconduct will remain an ever-present phenomenon, and will be a lecturer’s failure as much as it a student’s failure. Instead, by referring to the specific assessment methods used in our modules, we show that Artificial Intelligence only poses a threat to the extent that lecturers cannot promote the specificity of human (i.e., self-reflective) intelligence. Indeed, as discussed by various economists, as Colander, McCloskey, Holt, List, Mankiw, in a recent issue of The Journal of Economic Education (2022), economics education must rediscover critical thinking, as a specific, not generic, activity embedded in a module’s development, so as to spark curiosity and engaging students as an integral part of the formative process, together with their lecturers.

Using Chat GPT to Enhance Education: Practical Strategies for Reducing Administrative Burden

James Tierney, Tierney Education


As a current entrepreneurship educator—and former economics large lecture instructor, I understand the value of engaging with my students and providing high-quality feedback on their work. However, I am often bogged down by administrative tasks that take away from my teaching and research responsibilities. To address this issue, I have started using Chat GPT, a cutting-edge language model developed by OpenAI. In this presentation, I will share practical strategies for utilizing Chat GPT to enhance education and reduce administrative burden.

I will begin by introducing Chat GPT and its capabilities, including its ability to generate text, answer questions, and provide language translations. I will then discuss specific use cases for Chat GPT in the context of higher education, such as:

Providing personalized feedback on student assignments, such as offering comments on business plans, presentations, and other projects.
Helping with email management, such as providing automated responses to frequently asked questions or drafting emails for students and colleagues.
Generating prompts for student discussions and group projects, such as providing open-ended questions for students to discuss and analyze.
Throughout the presentation, I will provide concrete examples of how I have used Chat GPT in my own entrepreneurship classes to improve efficiency and effectiveness. I will also share practical tips and insights for implementing Chat GPT in other contexts. I will discuss the potential challenges and limitations of using Chat GPT, such as privacy concerns and the need for human oversight.

By the end of the presentation, attendees will have a better understanding of how Chat GPT can be used to enhance education and reduce administrative burden. They will also gain practical insights and tips for implementing Chat GPT in their own teaching and administrative practices

Adapting Economics Assignments in the Era of ChatGPT

Victoria Vernon, SUNY Empire State University


Recent studies have shown that ChatGPT can perform a wide range of cognitive tasks, including answering correctly most multiple-choice and short answer questions from Macro- and Microeconomics tests. How should economics educators redesign their assignments and curriculum to adapt to these technological advancements? I asked my students in online economics classes to use ChatGPT to answer some of our discussion questions throughout the course. I will share my lessons from this experiment in my presentation. I will also some strategies that economics educators can adopt to make their curriculum more engaging, effective future-oriented and ChatGPT-proof. While AI can perform many cognitive tasks, it cannot replace the importance of problem-solving skills, critical thinking and soft skills. Students should be taught how to apply economics concepts to real-world situations by incorporating more case studies that require critical analysis and interpretation of data. One example of such an assignment is Product, Firm and Industry economic analysis that I have developed and used in my introductory Macro and Micro courses. Students can select and analyze any good or service, although many of my students are working adults and they use the product/service produced by their company essentially creating from scratch their own case study. Other potential strategies involve the use of group projects to solve real-world problems where students learn how to work in teams, to organize and analyze complex information, to debate, articulate their ideas, evaluate arguments, and make sound judgments. The use of oral presentations of student’s own research, oral exams, as well as reflective writing has also been proposed in the literature. The emergence of AI-enabled learning in economics education presents an opportunity for us as educators to rethink our curriculum to prepare our students for a future that is rapidly evolving.