Students in Sweden are positive about AI tools such as ChatGPT in education, but 62% believe that using chatbots during exams is cheating. However, the limits of cheating are very blurred. This is shown in a survey conducted by Chalmers University of Technology, the first large-scale study in Europe to investigate student attitudes towards artificial intelligence in higher education.
“I am afraid of artificial intelligence and what it could mean in the future.“
“Don’t worry too much! Keep up with the evolution and adapt your teaching for the future.“
“ChatGPT and similar tools will revolutionize the way we learn, and we will be able to create amazing things.“
These are three out of nearly 2,000 optional comments from a survey of nearly 6,000 students in Sweden recently.
“Students express opinions that are strong, diverse, and in many cases emotionally charged,” says Hans Malmström, a professor in the Department of Communication and Learning in Science at Chalmers University of Technology. He conducted the study with colleagues Christian Stohr and Amy Wanyo Ow.
More than a third use ChatGPT regularly
The majority of respondents believe that chatbots and AI language tools make them more efficient as students and argue that these tools improve their academic writing and language skills in general. Almost all of the responding students are familiar with ChatGPT, the majority use the tool, and 35 percent use the chat program regularly.
Lack of routing – ban viewer
Despite their positive attitude towards AI, many students feel anxious and lack clear guidance on how to use AI in the learning environments they are in. It is simply difficult to know where the limits of cheating lie.
“Most students have no idea if their educational institution has any rules or guidelines for using AI responsibly, which is of course worrying. At the same time, the vast majority are against banning AI in educational contexts,” says Hans Malmström.
There is no substitute for critical thinking
Many students view chatbots as a mentor or tutor from whom they can ask questions or get help, for example, with explanations of concepts and summaries of ideas. The prevailing position is that chatbots should be used as an aid, not a substitute for students’ critical thinking. Or as one student put it: “You should be able to do the same things as an AI, but it should help you do it. You shouldn’t use a calculator if you don’t know what the plus sign does.”
Assistance in case of disability
Another important aspect that emerged in the survey is that AI acts as an effective aid for people with various disabilities. A student with ADD and dyslexia described how they spent 20 minutes writing their survey answer and then improved it by entering text into ChatGPT: “It’s like being colorblind and suddenly being able to see all the beautiful colors.”
Give a voice to the students
The researchers have now collected a wealth of important information and compiled the findings into a public report.
“We hope and believe that the answers from this survey will give students a voice and thus the results will be an important contribution to our collective understanding of AI and learning,” says Christian Storr, associate professor in the Department of Communication and Learning in Science at Chalmers.
More about the study
“Chatbots and other artificial intelligence for learning: a survey on usage and opinions among university students in Sweden” was conducted in the following way: Researchers at Chalmers conducted the survey between April 5 and May 5, 2023. Students at all universities in Sweden can take part. The survey was distributed through social media and targeted efforts from several universities and student organizations. In total, the survey was answered by 5,894 students.
- 95 percent of students are familiar with ChatGPT, while the awareness of other chat software is very low.
- 56 percent are positive about using chatbots in their studies; 35 percent use ChatGTP regularly.
- 60 percent oppose banning chatbots, and 77 percent oppose banning other AI tools (such as Grammarly) in education.
- More than half of the students do not know if their institution has guidelines on how to use AI in education; One in four openly say their organization lacks such regulations.
- 62 percent believe that using chatbots during exams is cheating.
- Students express some concern about the development of artificial intelligence, and there is particular concern about the impact of chatbots on education in the future.