As technology continues to advance, the use of AI-powered writing tools such as ChatGPT have become increasingly prevalent in the academic world. While these tools may seem like a quick and easy solution for completing essays and other written assignments, they raise serious concerns about the integrity of the college education system.
That paragraph above wasn’t written by The Hoya. It was written by Chat GPT, a chatbot created by OpenAI, a company dedicated to AI research. It can participate in virtual conversations with its users, answer complex questions, edit computer code, write poetry and songs and complete a myriad of other impressive tasks, including writing “an introductory paragraph to an editorial about the dangers of ChatGPT for essay writing in college in the style of the Georgetown Hoya newspaper” as we asked it to do.
In 2021, researchers at Georgetown University determined that artificial intelligence (AI) can write “believable misinformation.” Now, as you can see, AI can write in a wide array of styles believably, often creating work that is indistinguishable from that of humans. Of particular interest to students and school administrators since ChatGPT’s release in November 2022 has been its ability to produce cogent, human-like writing in response to essay questions. As ChatGPT grows in popularity, the Editorial Board urges Georgetown University to consider adopting practical solutions to uphold the highest standards of academic honesty for its students.
Some Georgetown professors, including David Lipscomb, the interim director of the writing program and an associate teaching professor in the English department, have already started to recognize the increasingly prevalent role that ChatGPT can play in education, according to an email obtained by The Hoya sent to members of the university Writing Center by Lipscomb.
“If you’ve been reading the endless articles about ChatGPT, you likely know it’s a powerful new ‘chatbot’ that – in response to the right prompts – can generate surprisingly good short and long-form answers and, yes, essays. No, it can’t yet produce excellent writing (‘A’ work, for those still putting letter grades on assignments). But when it comes to more generic assignment prompts, ChatGPT can crank out ‘B’ or a ‘B-’ drafts in seconds. And it’s continuously learning, as are its AI relatives,” Lipscomb wrote in the email.
With the risk posed by ChatGPT, the university is currently reviewing how ChatGPT and other AI chatbots may impact students and faculty, according to a university spokesperson.
“Among the recommendations is for faculty members to transparently share their expectations related to AI tools,” the spokesperson wrote to The Hoya.
The Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, Georgetown’s center for teaching development and research, has been exploring the impact ChatGPT and other AI chatbots may have in the classroom, the spokesperson said. They have also begun to provide resources to faculty about how to structure their courses amidst the presence of ChatGPT, according to the spokesperson.
Nevertheless, there remains no official university policy regarding AI usage in essay-writing. Moreover, these expectations have not been shared in many classes, according to numerous students interviewed by The Hoya.
Catalina Jaramillo (SFS ’25) said few professors have discussed ChatGPT in classes.
“Only one of my five professors mentioned ChatGPT when discussing their syllabi and the school’s honor policy. My classmates and friends have mentioned the same. Their professors have hardly addressed it, if at all,” Jaramillo said in an interview with The Hoya.
Georgetown University Honor Council member Christian Spadini (CAS ’26) said so far the honor council has not received guidance on ChatGPT.
“Despite the fact that rumors have been circulating of an email sent to professors over break, the Honor Council is yet to receive any official guidance. My expectation is that the office of the provost will soon put out a statement clarifying the University’s official stance on programs like chat gpt,” Spadini wrote to The Hoya.
The absence of a unified university response to the possibility of cheating via AI is alarming and opens the door for extreme academic dishonesty.
Navigating the introduction of AI to education in a way that both recognizes ChatGPT’s permanence and holds Georgetown students to the highest standards of academic honesty is no easy task. The Editorial Board believes that while education and assessments may need to change due to the presence of this AI software, professors should treat ChatGPT as an opportunity to revamp the styles of assessments they offer to students.
The Editorial Board does not suggest that all essays should be replaced by in-class exams. Rather, we see value in writing-based assignments, but with a revised structure.
We propose three ways of adjusting the approach to assignments in light of ChatGPT. First, professors can assign in-class essays, avoiding the risk of AI usage that is present for standard take-home essays.
Second, professors can have students write a first draft in class on a computer, using available applications like LockDown Browser, which can block access to ChatGPT. Students could then revise their work at home, but would need to justify every change they make from the original in-class draft, forcing them to engage with the material regardless of the sources they use.
With long essays, unfortunately, there is likely no perfect solution. Nevertheless, professors still have options, such as requiring students to cite specific details the professor mentioned in a course lecture, or designing prompts about personal experiences or narratives.
Third, professors can move completely away from classic essays and offer written and oral exams as alternative options.
ChatGPT might usher in the most dramatic changes to college writing since the advent of the internet and the university must create uniform guidance for its use. By formalizing its approach to AI-related academic dishonesty cases, and teaching professors to create assignments that avoid AI influence, Georgetown can ensure the highest standards of academic excellence.
AI is here to stay — and Georgetown must adapt.
The Hoya’s Editorial Board is composed of six students and is chaired by the opinion editors. Editorials reflect only the beliefs of a majority of the board and are not representative of The Hoya or any individual member of the board.