What’s Wrong if 49 Percent of Students at Cambridge Use ChatGPT?


TL;DR Breakdown

  • The Tab survey reveals that almost half of Cambridge students admit to using ChatGPT for academic tasks.
  • The University of Cambridge has not investigated students for ChatGPT cheating, raising concerns.
  • Students’ perspectives on ChatGPT as a learning tool, highlighting benefits and limitations.

In a recent survey conducted by The Tab, a tabloid-style youth news site, it was revealed that 49 percent of students at the University of Cambridge admitted to using ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, to help them complete their academic work. Surprisingly, despite the significant number of students acknowledging their use of this technology, the university has not investigated a single student for cheating with ChatGPT or similar chatbots. Let’s delve into the details of this phenomenon, highlighting the survey results and exploring the perspectives of both students and faculty members regarding the use of AI chatbots in academic settings.

Is ChatGPT use a form of cheating? OSCCA inaction

According to the survey conducted by The Tab, almost half of the Cambridge students (49 percent) admitted to using ChatGPT to aid in completing their degree-related tasks. A similar poll by Varsity yielded similar results, indicating that the use of chatbots for academic purposes is not limited to a particular group of students. However, despite the high number of students openly acknowledging their reliance on AI chatbots, the Office of Student Conduct, Complaints, and Appeals (OSCCA) at the University of Cambridge has confirmed that no investigations using the Student Discipline Procedure have been conducted for cheating through the use of ChatGPT.

This absence of investigations raises questions about the university’s response to this issue. Although faculties have previously issued warnings about academic misconduct related to the use of AI platforms, it appears that the guidelines have not been strictly enforced. The Department of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics has explicitly stated that the use of ChatGPT and similar tools is considered a form of academic misconduct and could result in disciplinary action. However, despite these warnings, many Cambridge students continue to utilize ChatGPT to assist them in their studies.

ChatGPT is considered as a learning tool

The survey conducted by The Tab reveals that students predominantly use ChatGPT for essay planning and information retrieval purposes. Many students find it helpful to summarize complex articles, optimize their search process, and even aid in planning essays. Although some students refrain from using ChatGPT to write their essays, they admit to leveraging its capabilities to organize their thoughts and structure their arguments effectively.

Interestingly, some students have reported that ChatGPT has also provided post-exam support. By providing the chatbot with the exam’s marking scheme and an essay they have written, students claim it can even provide a rough grade, offering them reassurance and closure after the exam.

Not only students but also some supervisors have recognized the value of ChatGPT. They find it useful for obtaining easy examples and assessing the quality of their students’ essays. However, it is important to note that while ChatGPT has its benefits, it does not replace the expertise of professors or the vast resources available in Cambridge’s libraries.

Lack of clear guidelines despite faculties warning

Despite almost half of Cambridge students admitting to using ChatGPT to aid in their studies, the university has not investigated any students for cheating with the AI chatbot. While faculties have warned against the use of such technologies, it appears that enforcement of the guidelines has been lacking. Students primarily use ChatGPT for essay planning and information retrieval, with a clear understanding that its use is limited to providing and organizing existing information. Also, some ethical concerns have been raised, including its environmental impact.

As the University of Cambridge continues to navigate the challenges posed by technological advancements, it will be crucial to establish clear guidelines and consequences regarding the use of AI chatbots in academic settings. Striking a balance between leveraging technological tools for learning enhancement and maintaining academic integrity will be essential to ensuring a fair and equitable educational environment for all students.

Share link:


Written by Aamir Sheikh

Amir is a media, marketing and content professional working in the digital industry. A veteran in content production Amir is now an enthusiastic cryptocurrency proponent, analyst and writer.