Law schools grapple with ChatGPT use in classrooms

updated on 30 May 2023

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University law schools across the country are beginning to grapple with the use of AI models such as ChatGPT in the classroom, as students begin to use the programme to aid their work.

The need for a policy is evident as Andres Guadamuz, a reader in intellectual property law at the University of Sussex, recently discovered that “around 90%” of his students had admitted to using ChatGPT. As a result, Guadamuz has started using the platform, alongside Google’s AI tool Bard, in his classes and is integrating it into his teaching.

The lecturer noted that he’s received essays “clearly written by ChatGPT”, which he says is possible to identify because “there’s a language you start noticing”.  

One of his objectives has been to demonstrate ChatGPT’s limitations: “There was a little bit of a perception by some students that ChatGPT was almost omniscient. Just showing them how it can make mistakes […] was very useful. It’s very confident when it makes mistakes.”

Guadamuz is not the only lecturer making a point of integrating ChatGPT into classes, Professor Susan Blake, an associate dean at the law school at City, University of London, is currently putting together an initial draft paper of suggestions to integrate ChatGPT into university policy.  

Blake notes: “We’ve got to look at it seriously in terms of learning and teaching and assessment. We can’t ignore it, it’s not going to go away. We’ve got to come up with really constructive ways of dealing with it.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from The University of Law said it’s “currently exploring the capabilities and limitations of AI systems” and that it’s already asking to students to “confirm that their work is not derived from AI generative systems”.

A University of Oxford spokesperson commented: “Students have been informed that until further notice we will not permit the use of AI tools such as ChatGPT in their assessed work.”