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The Postgraduate
Computing Student
Perspective: UK Education,
Generative AI and Good
Academic Practice
Professor BeckyStrachan,
Department ofComputing and InformationSciences,
NorthumbriaUniversity, Newcastle
Email: rebecca.strachan@northumbria.ac.uk
Image created by Bing
Our International Student
Population
 Increased numbers of international students from Nigeria and
India
 Many used to a more teacher centred and theoretical approach
to learning
 Variety of reasons to come to the UK – not always to study!!
 Increasing number of students with family and work
commitments
 Use of technology: mainly mobile phones plus some apps e.g.
WhatsApp. Less familiar with many of our digital tools and
systems
 Led to issues around their engagement, academic performance
and increasing instances of academic misconduct, particularly
contract cheating/use of essay mills/Generative AI.
Year
Number of New
Postgraduate
Students
2020-21 193
2021-22 274
2022-23 281
Table 1: New Computing Postgraduate
Taught Students at Northumbria University
Student Led/Centred Projects
Project One: Student Perspective on Generative AI for Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
Student: Ayolana Ijalana
Student Interviews (n=7) followed by Student Survey (n=500, 10% response rate, n=50)
Project Two: Promoting Good Academic Practice/Avoiding Academic Misconduct (AM)
Students: Cynthia Oguna, Ugochukwu Oruche, Adewale Solu
Survey to students (n=500, response n=26) plus Focus Group x 1 on AM
Project Three: Exploration of Co-Created Interactive Digital Resources to Reduce Plagiarism
Student: Adewale Solu
Focus Groups x 2 with Students on Plagiarism & Co-Created Digital Interactive Resources
Project Four: Staff Perspectives on Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct
Student: Anil Medoju
Interviews including AM scenarios (n=9) with Staff on AM
Project One: Key findings on Frequency and Patterns of Use
18%
24%
30%
34%
40%
40%
46%
12%
0%
25%
50%
For presentation(verbal and written)
For Module assessments
For programming /coding /scripting
For paraphrasing /rewriting
to aid your understanding of module contents
As a starting point(to generate initial ideas)
To check understanding
Other
%Usage
5%
8%
10%
18%
3%
23%
15%
11%
12%
21%
23%
30%
26%
22%
30%
39%
18%
26%
31%
25%
28%
26%
27%
25%
22%
21%
26%
44%
45%
33%
31%
49%
23%
24%
50%
37%
0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
For Module assessments
For programming /coding /scripting
For paraphrasing /rewriting
To aid your understanding of module contents
For presentation(verbal and written)
As a starting point(To generate initial ideas)
To check understanding
Other (stated above)
Overall
Usage Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly Never The main use of ChatGPT was to check /aid students’ understanding.
Frequency of use varied from over 50% of students generating
ideas/checking understanding on a daily or weekly basis to 75%
using it monthly or less for module assessments
Project One: ChatGPT Usefulness and Ease of Use
10%
10%
15%
11%
13%
10%
10%
13%
11%
8%
10%
10%
5%
11%
5%
2%
10%
8%
38%
31%
28%
35%
42%
20%
29%
40%
32%
30%
26%
20%
30%
26%
38%
43%
23%
30%
15%
23%
28%
19%
8%
28%
17%
13%
19%
0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
For Module assessments
For programming /coding /scripting
For paraphrasing /rewriting
To aid your understanding of module
contents
For presentation(verbal and written)
As a starting point(To generate initial
ideas)
To check understanding
Other (stated above)
Overall
%Usefulness of ChatGPT
Not useful at all Somewhat not useful Neutral Somewhat useful Extremely useful
5%
5%
5%
3%
6%
5%
2%
7%
5%
8%
11%
0%
0%
3%
3%
2%
4%
4%
33%
32%
29%
35%
47%
29%
27%
52%
35%
21%
26%
29%
24%
19%
29%
29%
15%
24%
33%
26%
37%
38%
25%
34%
39%
22%
32%
0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
For Module assessments
For programming /coding /scripting
For paraphrasing /rewriting
To aid your understanding of module
contents
For presentation(verbal and written)
As a starting point(To generate initial
ideas)
To check understanding
Other (stated above)
Overall
Difficulty /ease of use
Difficult Somewhat Difficult Neutral Somewhat easy Easy
More students(49% and 56%) found ChatGPT useful and easy to use compared to those that did not (19% and 9%).
Around a third (32% and 35%) were neutral
Project One: Impact on Critical Thinking Skills
9%
7%
9%
9%
9%
9%
13%
7%
11%
11%
9%
11%
9%
7%
9%
9%
9%
9%
4%
7%
13%
9%
7%
9%
9%
11%
7%
15%
9%
13%
7%
15%
10%
28%
24%
26%
33%
26%
33%
31%
31%
24%
33%
29%
41%
46%
46%
28%
43%
30%
33%
33%
36%
26%
36%
4%
7%
4%
11%
7%
4%
4%
11%
16%
2%
7%
0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
ChatGPT helps me analyze complex problems.
ChatGPT helps me understand various parts of a problem.
ChatGPT helps me evaluate different options of solving a problem.
ChatGPT helps me determine the best option based on available
information.
ChatGPT helps me draw reasonable inferences(conclusion) based on the
available evidence.
ChatGPT helps me identify assumptions that underlie claims.
ChatGPT helps me interpret data and make predictions based on data.
ChatGPT helps me explain concepts and ideas clearly and effectively.
ChatGPT helps me express my ideas in a logical and organized manner.
ChatGPT helps me provide evidence to support my claims.
Overall
ChatGPT and Critical Thinking Skills
Not Applicable Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree
Examples of ways ChatGPT has been
helpful in enhancing critical thinking
More students (43%) agree that ChatGPT
enhances critical thinking than those
(19%) who disagree. 9% said ChatGPT
was not applicable with 29% neutral
Project One: Impact on Problem-Solving Skills
7%
11%
7%
7%
9%
5%
7%
5%
5%
9%
7%
11%
7%
9%
13%
7%
11%
11%
11%
9%
13%
10%
11%
15%
7%
7%
0%
12%
7%
10%
7%
10%
9%
33%
51%
36%
49%
38%
36%
34%
45%
43%
47%
41%
36%
16%
32%
22%
38%
32%
36%
20%
34%
16%
28%
2%
9%
2%
9%
5%
5%
9%
2%
7%
5%
0% 25% 50% 75% 100%
ChatGPT helps me identify problems accurately.
ChatGPT helps me identify the stakeholders affected by a problem.
ChatGPT helps me gather relevant information to solve a problem.
ChatGPT helps me evaluate the quality of this information.
ChatGPT helps me generate creative ideas to solve a problem.
ChatGPT helps me combine different ideas to create new and
innovative solutions.
ChatGPT helps me assess the feasibility of different solutions.
ChatGPT helps me select the best solution based on available
information.
ChatGPT helps me plan and execute the implementation process of a
solution.
ChatGPT helps me monitor and evaluate the success of the
implemented solution.
Overall
ChatGPT and Problem-Solving Skills
Not Applicable Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree
More students (33%) agree that
ChatGPT enhances their problem-solving
skills than those (18%) who disagree.
41% selected neutral with 7% stating its
not applicable.
Examples of ways ChatGPT has been
helpful in enhancing Problem-Solving
Project One: Student Guidance & Potential Drawbacks
What are your main tips and advice for
other students using ChatGPT?
Do you think there are any pitfalls/drawbacks
to using ChatGPT for your studies?
Project Two: Key Findings
Qualitative Analysis:
 Students realise impact of AM on the university
reputation and the students themselves plus see it as
unfair
 Responsibility lies with the students, the staff, the
university but also for those responsible for UK Higher
Education at government level
 Students are targeted – receiving messages on
LinkedIn and Facebook from essay mills and similar
organisations offering ‘help’ within weeks of starting
their programmes
 University guidance is good but penalties seen as
severe – links to idea of ‘entitlement’ with paying high
course fees.
 Prevent it via good teaching practice, effective
assessment design & support, approachable tutors,
guidance around what constitutes AM
Survey Results (n=26): Main Reasons why
students Commit Academic Misconduct
Research
Findings –
Alignment
with
existing
research
Use of co-created digital interactive resources can help deepen understanding of ethical
academic practice (Mayer and Fiorella,2021).
Collaborative engagement with interactive resources helps foster critical thinking and
creativity (Brookfield, 2012).
Cultural sensitivity and effective language support is crucial to facilitate meaningful
engagement and understanding (Marrun, 2018).
Encourage collaboration and peer learning to help cultivate a culture of authentic
scholarship (Lantolf and Xi, 2019).
Use of interactive digital resources can further develop the technological literacy and
engagement of students (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011).
Project Three: Research Findings and Alignment with Existing Research
Project Four: Main Findings
Ensuring good academic practice is a complex multifaceted
issue with no simple solution
Opinions differed among staff about where the line is
between poor academic practice and AM
Variety of reasons why students do this from easy (and low
cost/free) access to technological tools/essay mills, pressure
to do well, lack of understanding, lack of time, lack of
engagement in their studies
We need to provide good assessments, offer AM guidance to
students, provide help and support, engage students and
understand different cultural perspectives
So what we can do …
The Student Perspective:
Project One: How can we support our students
What support do you
think the university and
academic teams should
provide to students
around using ChatGPT
for their studies?
Practical Steps we are taking:
 Module guide on AI including advice
on the assessments
 Being proactive and discussing it in
our workshop sessions
 Encouraging student feedback on this
 Staff development/information
sessions to share practice/guidance
Project Two, Three and Four Findings
(1) Assessment: Design to reduce opportunity to cheat, ensure students understand what is required
(2) Educational Provision: Should be culturally sensitive, accessible and engaging to every student
(3) Staff Attitudes/Support: Staff need to exhibit the highest academic integrity, and be approachable and
student friendly
(4) Student Opportunity/ Motivation: Students commit AM for a variety of reasons and have plenty of
opportunities to do so. Focus needs to be on reducing the motivation to cheat … and this relates to
(5) Student Belonging/Engagement: seen as a crucial element to develop good academic
practice/reduce AM
(6) Student-Friendly Guidance/Resources: Students not always aware of what constitutes AM so
guidance needs to be student friendly (including accessible/culturally sensitive), and ideally co-created
with students, not just developed from a quality assurance perspective.
(7) Collaborative Learning: Helps students share practice, be engaged and learn from each other
(8) Staff Development and Shared Learning: Provide opportunities for staff to share and learn from one
another and develop consistent practice in relation to AM
Outline of Talk: The Postgraduate Computing Student Perspective: UK Education, Generative AI and Good
Academic Practice
We have, alongside many other universities experienced an increase in our postgraduate students particularly
those from overseas. Many of these find our higher education provision quite different from what they have
experienced previously and this has led to issues around their engagement, academic performance and
increasing instances of academic misconduct. This Pecha Kucha will provide an overview of several student
centred and student led projects we have been working on during this past academic year primarily with
international postgraduate students in our Department of Computer and Information Sciences to address these
issues. It will explore their views and experiences of UK Higher Education including the use of Generative AI tools
and how to promote good academic practice. It will also outline what we can do as educators to tailor our
delivery and guidance with a particular focus on engaging these students, enabling them to use good academic
practice and the ethical use of generative AI.

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RStrachanOct23.pptx

  • 1. The Postgraduate Computing Student Perspective: UK Education, Generative AI and Good Academic Practice Professor BeckyStrachan, Department ofComputing and InformationSciences, NorthumbriaUniversity, Newcastle Email: rebecca.strachan@northumbria.ac.uk Image created by Bing
  • 2. Our International Student Population  Increased numbers of international students from Nigeria and India  Many used to a more teacher centred and theoretical approach to learning  Variety of reasons to come to the UK – not always to study!!  Increasing number of students with family and work commitments  Use of technology: mainly mobile phones plus some apps e.g. WhatsApp. Less familiar with many of our digital tools and systems  Led to issues around their engagement, academic performance and increasing instances of academic misconduct, particularly contract cheating/use of essay mills/Generative AI. Year Number of New Postgraduate Students 2020-21 193 2021-22 274 2022-23 281 Table 1: New Computing Postgraduate Taught Students at Northumbria University
  • 3. Student Led/Centred Projects Project One: Student Perspective on Generative AI for Problem Solving and Critical Thinking Student: Ayolana Ijalana Student Interviews (n=7) followed by Student Survey (n=500, 10% response rate, n=50) Project Two: Promoting Good Academic Practice/Avoiding Academic Misconduct (AM) Students: Cynthia Oguna, Ugochukwu Oruche, Adewale Solu Survey to students (n=500, response n=26) plus Focus Group x 1 on AM Project Three: Exploration of Co-Created Interactive Digital Resources to Reduce Plagiarism Student: Adewale Solu Focus Groups x 2 with Students on Plagiarism & Co-Created Digital Interactive Resources Project Four: Staff Perspectives on Academic Integrity and Academic Misconduct Student: Anil Medoju Interviews including AM scenarios (n=9) with Staff on AM
  • 4. Project One: Key findings on Frequency and Patterns of Use 18% 24% 30% 34% 40% 40% 46% 12% 0% 25% 50% For presentation(verbal and written) For Module assessments For programming /coding /scripting For paraphrasing /rewriting to aid your understanding of module contents As a starting point(to generate initial ideas) To check understanding Other %Usage 5% 8% 10% 18% 3% 23% 15% 11% 12% 21% 23% 30% 26% 22% 30% 39% 18% 26% 31% 25% 28% 26% 27% 25% 22% 21% 26% 44% 45% 33% 31% 49% 23% 24% 50% 37% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% For Module assessments For programming /coding /scripting For paraphrasing /rewriting To aid your understanding of module contents For presentation(verbal and written) As a starting point(To generate initial ideas) To check understanding Other (stated above) Overall Usage Frequency Daily Weekly Monthly Never The main use of ChatGPT was to check /aid students’ understanding. Frequency of use varied from over 50% of students generating ideas/checking understanding on a daily or weekly basis to 75% using it monthly or less for module assessments
  • 5. Project One: ChatGPT Usefulness and Ease of Use 10% 10% 15% 11% 13% 10% 10% 13% 11% 8% 10% 10% 5% 11% 5% 2% 10% 8% 38% 31% 28% 35% 42% 20% 29% 40% 32% 30% 26% 20% 30% 26% 38% 43% 23% 30% 15% 23% 28% 19% 8% 28% 17% 13% 19% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% For Module assessments For programming /coding /scripting For paraphrasing /rewriting To aid your understanding of module contents For presentation(verbal and written) As a starting point(To generate initial ideas) To check understanding Other (stated above) Overall %Usefulness of ChatGPT Not useful at all Somewhat not useful Neutral Somewhat useful Extremely useful 5% 5% 5% 3% 6% 5% 2% 7% 5% 8% 11% 0% 0% 3% 3% 2% 4% 4% 33% 32% 29% 35% 47% 29% 27% 52% 35% 21% 26% 29% 24% 19% 29% 29% 15% 24% 33% 26% 37% 38% 25% 34% 39% 22% 32% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% For Module assessments For programming /coding /scripting For paraphrasing /rewriting To aid your understanding of module contents For presentation(verbal and written) As a starting point(To generate initial ideas) To check understanding Other (stated above) Overall Difficulty /ease of use Difficult Somewhat Difficult Neutral Somewhat easy Easy More students(49% and 56%) found ChatGPT useful and easy to use compared to those that did not (19% and 9%). Around a third (32% and 35%) were neutral
  • 6. Project One: Impact on Critical Thinking Skills 9% 7% 9% 9% 9% 9% 13% 7% 11% 11% 9% 11% 9% 7% 9% 9% 9% 9% 4% 7% 13% 9% 7% 9% 9% 11% 7% 15% 9% 13% 7% 15% 10% 28% 24% 26% 33% 26% 33% 31% 31% 24% 33% 29% 41% 46% 46% 28% 43% 30% 33% 33% 36% 26% 36% 4% 7% 4% 11% 7% 4% 4% 11% 16% 2% 7% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% ChatGPT helps me analyze complex problems. ChatGPT helps me understand various parts of a problem. ChatGPT helps me evaluate different options of solving a problem. ChatGPT helps me determine the best option based on available information. ChatGPT helps me draw reasonable inferences(conclusion) based on the available evidence. ChatGPT helps me identify assumptions that underlie claims. ChatGPT helps me interpret data and make predictions based on data. ChatGPT helps me explain concepts and ideas clearly and effectively. ChatGPT helps me express my ideas in a logical and organized manner. ChatGPT helps me provide evidence to support my claims. Overall ChatGPT and Critical Thinking Skills Not Applicable Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree Examples of ways ChatGPT has been helpful in enhancing critical thinking More students (43%) agree that ChatGPT enhances critical thinking than those (19%) who disagree. 9% said ChatGPT was not applicable with 29% neutral
  • 7. Project One: Impact on Problem-Solving Skills 7% 11% 7% 7% 9% 5% 7% 5% 5% 9% 7% 11% 7% 9% 13% 7% 11% 11% 11% 9% 13% 10% 11% 15% 7% 7% 0% 12% 7% 10% 7% 10% 9% 33% 51% 36% 49% 38% 36% 34% 45% 43% 47% 41% 36% 16% 32% 22% 38% 32% 36% 20% 34% 16% 28% 2% 9% 2% 9% 5% 5% 9% 2% 7% 5% 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% ChatGPT helps me identify problems accurately. ChatGPT helps me identify the stakeholders affected by a problem. ChatGPT helps me gather relevant information to solve a problem. ChatGPT helps me evaluate the quality of this information. ChatGPT helps me generate creative ideas to solve a problem. ChatGPT helps me combine different ideas to create new and innovative solutions. ChatGPT helps me assess the feasibility of different solutions. ChatGPT helps me select the best solution based on available information. ChatGPT helps me plan and execute the implementation process of a solution. ChatGPT helps me monitor and evaluate the success of the implemented solution. Overall ChatGPT and Problem-Solving Skills Not Applicable Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree More students (33%) agree that ChatGPT enhances their problem-solving skills than those (18%) who disagree. 41% selected neutral with 7% stating its not applicable. Examples of ways ChatGPT has been helpful in enhancing Problem-Solving
  • 8. Project One: Student Guidance & Potential Drawbacks What are your main tips and advice for other students using ChatGPT? Do you think there are any pitfalls/drawbacks to using ChatGPT for your studies?
  • 9. Project Two: Key Findings Qualitative Analysis:  Students realise impact of AM on the university reputation and the students themselves plus see it as unfair  Responsibility lies with the students, the staff, the university but also for those responsible for UK Higher Education at government level  Students are targeted – receiving messages on LinkedIn and Facebook from essay mills and similar organisations offering ‘help’ within weeks of starting their programmes  University guidance is good but penalties seen as severe – links to idea of ‘entitlement’ with paying high course fees.  Prevent it via good teaching practice, effective assessment design & support, approachable tutors, guidance around what constitutes AM Survey Results (n=26): Main Reasons why students Commit Academic Misconduct
  • 10. Research Findings – Alignment with existing research Use of co-created digital interactive resources can help deepen understanding of ethical academic practice (Mayer and Fiorella,2021). Collaborative engagement with interactive resources helps foster critical thinking and creativity (Brookfield, 2012). Cultural sensitivity and effective language support is crucial to facilitate meaningful engagement and understanding (Marrun, 2018). Encourage collaboration and peer learning to help cultivate a culture of authentic scholarship (Lantolf and Xi, 2019). Use of interactive digital resources can further develop the technological literacy and engagement of students (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011). Project Three: Research Findings and Alignment with Existing Research
  • 11. Project Four: Main Findings Ensuring good academic practice is a complex multifaceted issue with no simple solution Opinions differed among staff about where the line is between poor academic practice and AM Variety of reasons why students do this from easy (and low cost/free) access to technological tools/essay mills, pressure to do well, lack of understanding, lack of time, lack of engagement in their studies We need to provide good assessments, offer AM guidance to students, provide help and support, engage students and understand different cultural perspectives
  • 12. So what we can do …
  • 13. The Student Perspective: Project One: How can we support our students What support do you think the university and academic teams should provide to students around using ChatGPT for their studies? Practical Steps we are taking:  Module guide on AI including advice on the assessments  Being proactive and discussing it in our workshop sessions  Encouraging student feedback on this  Staff development/information sessions to share practice/guidance
  • 14. Project Two, Three and Four Findings (1) Assessment: Design to reduce opportunity to cheat, ensure students understand what is required (2) Educational Provision: Should be culturally sensitive, accessible and engaging to every student (3) Staff Attitudes/Support: Staff need to exhibit the highest academic integrity, and be approachable and student friendly (4) Student Opportunity/ Motivation: Students commit AM for a variety of reasons and have plenty of opportunities to do so. Focus needs to be on reducing the motivation to cheat … and this relates to (5) Student Belonging/Engagement: seen as a crucial element to develop good academic practice/reduce AM (6) Student-Friendly Guidance/Resources: Students not always aware of what constitutes AM so guidance needs to be student friendly (including accessible/culturally sensitive), and ideally co-created with students, not just developed from a quality assurance perspective. (7) Collaborative Learning: Helps students share practice, be engaged and learn from each other (8) Staff Development and Shared Learning: Provide opportunities for staff to share and learn from one another and develop consistent practice in relation to AM
  • 15.
  • 16. Outline of Talk: The Postgraduate Computing Student Perspective: UK Education, Generative AI and Good Academic Practice We have, alongside many other universities experienced an increase in our postgraduate students particularly those from overseas. Many of these find our higher education provision quite different from what they have experienced previously and this has led to issues around their engagement, academic performance and increasing instances of academic misconduct. This Pecha Kucha will provide an overview of several student centred and student led projects we have been working on during this past academic year primarily with international postgraduate students in our Department of Computer and Information Sciences to address these issues. It will explore their views and experiences of UK Higher Education including the use of Generative AI tools and how to promote good academic practice. It will also outline what we can do as educators to tailor our delivery and guidance with a particular focus on engaging these students, enabling them to use good academic practice and the ethical use of generative AI.

Editor's Notes

  1. Students generates ideas daily, checks understanding on a weekly basis, module assessment on a monthly basis and 50% never use it for any other thing
  2. Significant 32% of responses remained neutral. 4 participants (8%) reported that they had never or do not use ChatGPT while most participants reported (49%) reported that ChatGPT was either somewhat useful and extremely useful for various components of their postgraduate studies while a significant 19% of responses was either not useful or not useful at all for those various components. The participants reported different difficulties and ease of use of ChatGPT for different usage with a significant 35% staying neutral. Most participants 56% found ChatGPT somewhat easy or easy to use but there exist a few 9% that reported somewhat difficult or difficult to use.
  3. There was a mixed views on the impact of ChatGPT on their critical thinking skills. A significant percentage 29% of the participants choose to be neutral while 9% reported that ChatGPT is not applicable in some aspects of critical thinking to them, more participants 43% agree or strongly agree that ChatGPT enhances their critical thinking skills than those (19%) who disagree or strongly disagree with it.
  4. There was a mixed views on the impact of ChatGPT on their problem-solving skills. A highly significant percentage 41% of the participants choose to be neutral while 7% reported that ChatGPT is not applicable in some aspects of problem-solving to them, more participants 33% agree or strongly agree that ChatGPT enhances their problem-solving skills than 18% those who disagree or strongly disagree with it.