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Generative AI tools can be prompted in conversational ways to create new content including text, images, audio, video and computer code. As the tools develop, they are becoming integrated into existing business and personal applications such as web browsers, the Microsoft Office suite and Google Docs.  New plugin architectures are evolving allowing other businesses to integrate their services within the tools.

Generative AI Tools such as ChatGPT, Google Bard, DALLE-2 and CoPilot can be helpful for generating content. This has obvious implications for assessment and some institutions have banned their use. Here at Ulster, we believe that these tools will be a part of our personal and professional lives and we wish to explore their use with students in ethical, transparent and reasonable ways.  Our position is to:

  • Develop an understanding of Generative AI and promote AI literacy across the staff and student body
  • Provide guidance on the appropriate use of GenAI tools
  • Encourage critical dialogue when AI tools are used within the curriculum.
  • Encourage a University culture that upholds the value of integrity
  • Reinforce the expectation that work submitted for assessment is students own original work.
  • Remain open to the benefits of the use of AI whilst highlighting the dangers of relying on the outputs as accurate sources of information.
  • Encourage learning, teaching and assessment design that encourages creativity and innovation


Whilst these tools can generate content that appears reasonable, they should not be relied upon to be wholly accurate, and students should know how to evaluate the information critically using other reliable sources.

Some of the current limitations of Large Language Model (LLM) AI tools are as follows:

  • The tools do not understand the meaning of the words they produce.
  • The tools will often generate arguments that are factually wrong.
  • The tools will often generate false references and quotations.
  • Content generated is not checked for accuracy.
  • The tools can distort the truth and emphasise the strength of an opposing argument.
  • The tools may struggle to maintain contextual understanding over extended conversations however,  there are current developments in this area.
  • The tools may struggle to generate responses based on visual and auditory input.
  • Generated content can include harmful bias and reinforce stereotypes. These biases can be reinforced through further human interaction with the model.
  • The tools rely heavily on data access to generate responses. This has led to concerns about data privacy
  • The models are trained on a data set from a Western English-speaking perspective again reinforcing particular perspectives. Developing skills to prompt AI tools is likely to be a useful digital skill but users should also understand the limitations, remain open, curious, and critical when making judgements about the accuracy of the content generated.

Over reliance on these tools will limit the development of your writing and evaluation skills which are skills that you will use in future careers. You should therefore approach the use of these tools with a critical lens by understanding the their limitations.

Developing skills to prompt AI tools is likely to be a useful skill but students should remain open, curious, and critical when making judgements about the accuracy of the content generated.

Using AI Reasonably

You should not feel under and pressure to make use of the tools and you will not be disadvantaged if you decide not to use them. However, Ulster University recognises that these tools may be used in reasonable ways and that they will evolve to become embedded in many of our workflows.

In their current state, reasonable use of the tools might be for:

  • Planning the structure of written work.
  • Developing creative ideas and inspiration.
  • Answering questions of web-based material.
  • Helping to improve writing skills.
  • Asking for an explanation of a topic.

Importantly, unless you are specifically asked to do so, you should avoid using GenAI to create content for assessed coursework and research.  The use of AI tools must not substitute your critical thinking, problem-solving skills and thought processes. Your work must be original and reflect your own informed perspective and understanding.

When using GenAI technology, you are expected to exercise responsible and ethical practices. This includes:

  • critically evaluating the outputs of AI generated content,
  • understanding the limitations and potential biases of AI algorithms
  • maintaining academic integrity by appropriately citing and acknowledging all sources

Data Security

As Generative AI learns from data drawn from a wide range of digital platforms, all users must be particularly cautious when inputting data.

While  writing prompts for Chatbots for example, you are at risk of sharing personal, proprietary and confidential data and sharing intellectual property.

This data will be stored and potentially misused by service providers and re-used for other generated responses. For this reason:

Never input:

  • personal information,
  • sensitive or confidential data
  • copyright protected information.

Acknowledging the use of Generative AI tools

As an Ulster student, you are expected to comply with the University Regulations which include appropriate academic conduct.

The Academic Misconduct Policy has been updated to explicitly reference the use of AI, and the student declaration for coursework submission states that:

I declare that this is all my own work.

Any material I have referred to has been accurately referenced and any contribution of Artificial Intelligence technology has been fully acknowledged.

I have read the University’s policy on academic misconduct and understand the different forms of academic misconduct. If it is shown that material has been falsified, plagiarised, or I have otherwise attempted to obtain an unfair advantage for myself or others, I understand that I may face sanctions in accordance with the policies and procedures of the University.

A mark of zero may be awarded and the reason for that mark will be recorded on my file.

It is therefore not appropriate to misrepresent AI generated content as your own original work. Where content is used without being acknowledged, it will be considered  as a form of academic misconduct.

Ulster’s Academic Misconduct Policy has been updated to explicitly mention the use of Generative AI and contains information about acknowledging the use of Generative AI.

Where generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools have been used for academic purposes, they must be acknowledged appropriately to ensure that any output is not misconstrued as the author’s own work. Before students begin any piece of assessed work, they should be clear that the use of AI tools is authorised and appropriate as this practice may differ across modules and programmes of study.

The below links provide more information about citing and referencing AI in the Harvard style and the Library Subject Team can provide more guidance if other referencing styles are used.