A professor at the University of Oxford has told students to use ChatGPT for essays

The economics students were told AI ‘should help you produce a much better essay’

A professor at The University of Oxford has told students to use ChatGPT to help them write essays.

Students studying economics and management were told by Professor Steve New that AI “should help you produce a much better essay than you would produce unaided”, if it was used “thoughtfully and critically”.

The professor told The Telegraph that these tutorial essays play no part in any formal assessment and do not count towards their overall degrees. After writing the essay using ChatGPT, the students spend an hour in a small group discussing their work with their tutor.

Before submitting the essays, the economics and management course directors asked students to include an “AI statement”, setting out which AI software they used and how they used it.

In guidance to the students, Professor Steve New said AI should “increase your ability to think hard about the subjects you discuss, and make you more confident in framing a clear and persuasive argument”.

“But the document that emerges should be yours. You need to write stuff you will stand by. The AI can produce humdrum ‘some say this, some say that…meh’ essays in a fraction of a second; you should be producing compelling, tightly-argued, evidence-based prose that you believe in.”

“AI might – without you realising – steer you towards particular intellectual or ideological positions,” he added.

Earlier this year, The Tab found that there were more than one million visits to the ChatGPT website at UK universities last exam season and over 40 per cent of universities are investigating students using ChatGPT to cheat.

Oxford University said that while the technology “has not been banned” students must still “be the authors of their own work” or risk being investigated for academic misconduct.

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