ChatGPT giving advice on how to cheat in university assignments: how workable are its suggestions?

Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Jessica Biles, Lachlan Brown, Matthew F. Ireland, Laura Longmore, Clare L. Singh, Anthony Wallis, Catherine Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The use of generative artificial intelligence (genAi) language models such as ChatGPT to write assignment text is well established. This paper aims to assess to what extent genAi can be used to obtain guidance on how to avoid detection when commissioning and submitting contract-written assignments and how workable the offered solutions are. Design/methodology/approach: Although ChatGPT is programmed not to provide answers that are unethical or that may cause harm to people, ChatGPT’s can be prompted to answer with inverted moral valence, thereby supplying unethical answers. The authors tasked ChatGPT to generate 30 essays that discussed the benefits of submitting contract-written undergraduate assignments and outline the best ways of avoiding detection. The authors scored the likelihood that ChatGPT’s suggestions would be successful in avoiding detection by markers when submitting contract-written work. Findings: While the majority of suggested strategies had a low chance of escaping detection, recommendations related to obscuring plagiarism and content blending as well as techniques related to distraction have a higher probability of remaining undetected. The authors conclude that ChatGPT can be used with success as a brainstorming tool to provide cheating advice, but that its success depends on the vigilance of the assignment markers and the cheating student’s ability to distinguish between genuinely viable options and those that appear to be workable but are not. Originality/value: This paper is a novel application of making ChatGPT answer with inverted moral valence, simulating queries by students who may be intent on escaping detection when committing academic misconduct.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInteractive Technology and Smart Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 2024


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