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Supporting students to use AI ethically and effectively in academic writing

20 Mar 2024

Join us for a talk by Dr Ursula Wingate, Professor of Language Education at King’s College London.

In the talk, Dr Wingate will cover how students are currently using machine translation tools, including ChatGPT to improve their writing skills. She will then consider students' perspectives on the use of AI before covering ethical use of AI. 

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Supporting students to use AI ethically and effectively in academic writing

Drawing on the concept of translanguaging and research evidence from the Chinese higher education context, I will begin by discussing the affordances of machine translation for facilitating the various stages of text composition. My talk will then focus on an ongoing pedagogical intervention funded by the King’s College Teaching Fund. For this project, we recruited student collaborators from two BA and two MA programmes to support us with the project management, the delivery and analysis of focus group discussions, as well as the design, delivery and evaluation of programme-specific workshops on the use of AI in academic writing.

The four focus group discussions revealed that most students regularly use ChatGPT in addition to an extensive range of other freely available tools such as machine translation, citation generators, automated paraphrasers, and digital writing assistants. However, whilst many participants acknowledged the helpfulness of these tools in assisting with the planning and revision of their texts, there was a considerable presence of negative perceptions. These ranged from uncertainty about academic conduct policies, ethical concerns as well as the fear of compromising autonomy and losing one’s authorial voice. 

On the basis of these findings, the workshops address ethical issues and pitfalls of using AI tools. In addition, they aim at improving social justice by levelling the linguistic playing field for non-native speakers of English as well as enabling digitally less experienced students to use the most effective tools for the enhancement of their texts. The content of one of these workshops will be presented in this talk.

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