ChatGPT and Other Generative AI Tools

Thinking about ChatGPT?

Conversations around the impacts of artificial intelligence (AI) tools are ongoing as their capabilities continue to evolve. AI tools have the potential to change the way we teach, learn and work at UBC. 

This list brings together important things to know about ChatGPT and generative artificial intelligence in the classroom for instructors and students at UBC. Generative AI technology is evolving quickly and this list will be updated as new developments arise. If you have a question that is not answered here, we invite you to share it through the website feedback form.  

What is ChatGPT?  

ChatGPT (GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is a tool developed by OpenAI that is capable of producing human-like responses to prompts. This AI system is a large language model that has been trained on a dataset to interact with users in a conversational way. ChatGPT is part of the broader category of generative AI, a form of artificial intelligence that generates new content based on the data it has been trained on. The new content that is generated can be text, images, code, videos, etc.  

The current version of ChatGPT bases its output on its training data of internet content up to and including 2021.  

Can instructors test ChatGPT to see what it can do, and what it cannot?  

At this time, ChatGPT is free to access and to trial. Instructors might be interested in testing AI tools as a means to assess their capabilities and limitations. They may also wish to explore how the tools respond to particular course assignments or prompts. For example, by using prompts from their own assignments and assessments, instructors can gain a sense of how the tool could potentially be used by learners.  

While ChatGPT is currently freely available, OpenAI will be launching ChatGPT Plus, a paid version as a pilot subscription plan. Users may also find that there are times when ChatGPT is unavailable due to high demand.  

Is the use of ChatGPT considered to be academic misconduct at UBC?  

The use of ChatGPT or other generative AI tools does not automatically equate to academic misconduct at UBC. At this time, the use of artificial intelligence tools is a course-level decision and there is no overall ban on its use in teaching and learning.  

  • If using ChatGPT and/or generative AI tools on coursework has been prohibited by the instructor, then using these tools would be considered to be academic misconduct.  
  • If using ChatGPT and/or generative AI tools has been permitted by the instructor, then instructors should make sure to convey the limitations of use and how it should be acknowledged and use should stay within those bounds. 
  • If the use of ChatGPT and/or generative AI tools has not been discussed or specified by the instructor, then it is likely to be considered as prohibited as an example of the “use or facilitation of unauthorized means to complete an examination or coursework” and more specifically as “accessing websites or other online resources not specifically permitted by the instructor or examiner” (Discipline for Academic Misconduct, Vancouver and Okanagan 3.1.b.iv), and potentially plagiarism (3.1.e). 

Students should not assume that all available technologies are permitted. If students are not sure about whether AI tools are allowed, as with any tool, they should ask their instructor for clarity and guidance.   

UBC’s Academic Calendar provides guidance on what is considered academic misconduct (Academic Misconduct by UBC Students, Vancouver and Okanagan). Artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT are not named in the academic misconduct regulation (this is not unusual) but their use could be considered unauthorized means to complete an assignment or assessment, the accessing of a website that is not permitted, or other, depending on the specific case. It is important to recognize that academic misconduct is any conduct by which a student gains or attempts to gain an unfair academic advantage or benefit, thereby compromising the integrity of the academic process. 

It is important for instructors to address academic integrity throughout the semester. Create opportunities to discuss expectations around academic integrity ahead of assignments and exams and throughout the term. Refer to for tools to teach academic integrity and respond to academic misconduct. 

Can instructors use AI tools in their classroom? How can they do this? 

AI tools have the potential to become one of the tools that educators use in an educational setting. There are many innovative and creative ways that an instructor might use generative artificial intelligence technologies in their courses and conversations are ongoing across UBC about these possibilities. From open conversations around the ethical and societal implications to critical engagement with output to dialogues with the chatbot, there is potential both for learning and for learning to use the technology itself.  

If instructors choose to integrate ChatGPT into course activities, they should consider the privacy implications of doing so. Using ChatGPT requires a login that asks for personal information, and it is important to offer students an alternative option if they do not wish to provide this information to engage with the tool themselves. One option could be for the instructor to generate conversations and share them with students to engage with outside of the tool. 

Suggestions and examples around how generative AI can be integrated into teaching and learning, as well as how to design assignments and assessments that make it harder to use AI, are under development by the CTLT and CTL.   

Can students use AI tools to complete assignments?  

A key expectation of academic integrity for students is completing their own work. Besides producing essays in seconds, generative AI has proven itself capable of completing multiple-choice exams and short answer questions.  

While artificial intelligence technologies should not be used to complete academic work, there may be times where instructors and students engage with it as part of student learning. If this is the case, instructors should provide clear guidance to students around how they are allowed to engage with the tools.  

How can instructors detect the use of generative AI? Should they use detectors like GPTZero or others? 

There are several AI detectors currently in existence, such as GPTZero and OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier. Turnitin, currently in use at UBC, is also working on technology to detect text generated by artificial intelligence. Despite the proliferation of such tools, it is important to remember that they might not be fully tested and that the technology to potentially outwit them continues to evolve.  The detectors are not foolproof and can produce false negatives and false positives. It may also be possible for the user to modify content to avoid detection. For those reasons, it is recommended that AI detection tools not be used as the sole factor in decision-making around an allegation of academic misconduct. Privacy considerations might also exist around entering student work into the third-party site without their consent. To avoid privacy issues, instructors should not use these tools to evaluate any student work that contains the name of the student or any other personal information of the student or third parties. While these types of detectors might be experimented with in certain situations, they should not form the basis of a decision. 

If an instructor suspects that an assignment or assessment has been completed with unauthorized use of AI tools, they should proceed as they would for any potential allegation of academic misconduct.  Conversations are ongoing around the nature of evidence to be provided in an academic misconduct report.  An overview of the academic misconduct process for instructors is available on the academic integrity website.  

Is there funding available for teaching and learning projects on generative AI?  

Funding is available for projects that explore the intersection of generative artificial intelligence and teaching and learning, as well as other teaching and learning topics (SOTL Seed Program, Teaching and Learning Enhacement Fund, Students as Partners Fund, Aspire 2040 Learning Transformations Fund). Explore teaching and learning topics and further support through the CTL and the CTLT. 

This Q & A was inspired by the University of Toronto’s Chat GPT and Generative AI in the classroom (2023).

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