Rethinking Academic Integrity in the Age of Generative Artificial Intelligence

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As professors, our responsibility to uphold academic integrity becomes increasingly complex with the integration of generative artificial intelligence (genAI) in the learning environment, prompting a need to rethink academic integrity in educational institutions. You may have seen some of the following effects of genAI in the teaching and learning space:

Unethical Use: GenAI can be used unethically to generate complete assignments, undermining academic integrity by circumventing independent learning.

Poor Academic Practice: Students may not fact-check or critically evaluate the output of genAI, leading to poor academic practice.

Impact on Learning Outcomes: Using genAI in assessment may impact learning outcomes, which need to be carefully assessed and adjusted for (Michel-Villarreal et al., 2023).

The current complexity in genAI and academic integrity can be simultaneously worrying, confusing, and exciting for educators. However, as Eaton (2024) notes, neither students nor educators can win the academic integrity arms race. This Hub post aims to offer key ideas that may come in handy as you begin to strike a balance that upholds the principles of academic integrity while embracing the benefits of genAI in education.

As a faculty, you may want to begin by:

Embracing genAI as a Catalyst for Critical Thinking

Rather than viewing genAI as a threat, you may leverage it as a catalyst to strengthen learning ecosystems and cultivate student agency. This involves reframing integrity concerns as opportunities to enhance student engagement, critical thinking, and metacognitive growth. By proactively developing new pedagogical approaches suited to the genAI age, you can empower your students to navigate the ethical use of genAI and develop essential cognitive skills. For example, you might invite students to critically respond to genAI outputs they generate in response to specific prompts you provided or that you co-created as a class. Perhaps students evaluate the genAI output using an assignment rubric from your course and note areas where the genAI would perform well on the assessment task and where (and why!) it fell short. Also, you can use genAI to generate annotated work samples that show the features of novice, proficient, and very proficient work. This could be used as an exemplar to support students’ learning.

Reconsidering your Educational Approach

Instead of solely relying on punitive measures, fostering an educational approach to academic integrity may be helpful to you and your students. You may begin by considering and conceptualizing genAI as a tool for enhancing student learning, engagement, and success. With this understanding, you could emphasize the value of learning for personal and professional growth rather than merely for grades. For instance, you might invite students to experiment with a genAI tool appropriate to the assessment task. You could then ask students to identify the different roles the genAI played in supporting their learning. Was the technology a tutor? A peer reviewer? Did it help them generate ideas efficiently? Introduce alternative perspectives? Get students to identify how the tool can assist their learning, what tasks they are performing in the process, and what work the genAI is doing.

Rethinking your Assessment Strategies

Incorporating genAI-resilient assessment strategies is crucial in the age of genAI. You may begin to design assessments that encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, reducing the potential misuse of genAI tools. By focusing on tasks that require higher-order thinking skills and authentic application of knowledge, your course assessments can become more resistant to AI-generated content. However, a note of caution here is that assessments must align with the course learning outcomes and attainment levels. For example, in a course with CLOs at the ‘understanding’ level, you will not get students to ‘analyze’ to deter genAI use. This hub post offers strategies to promote academic integrity and ensure students provide evidence of learning outcomes in assessments

Fostering Digital Literacy and Ethical Awareness

Promoting digital literacy and ethical awareness among your students is another way to foster the ethical use of genAI in your courses. You can incorporate teaching elements that focus on understanding the capabilities and limitations of genAI and the ethical considerations associated with its use. You can share with students the ethical concerns some of these technologies raise, including biases in algorithms, unequal access globally, environmental damage, and exploitative labour practices used to create and maintain some of these technologies. In addition, you can educate your students on the responsible use of technology by guiding proper citation methods, the distinction between collaboration and plagiarism, and the ethical considerations surrounding genAI tools in education. Here is a Hub Post that provides examples you can use to communicate to your students about how to cite genAI.

Helping your Students in the Process…

You can employ the following strategies to socialize your students to use genAI tools responsibly to promote ethical use in courses.

Having Open Communication: Endeavour to foster an open and honest dialogue about academic integrity. Encourage students to discuss the challenges they face in their coursework and provide resources for academic support. Creating a culture of trust can reduce the temptation to resort to dishonest practices.

Being Transparent and Obtaining Permission: It is a good idea to be transparent about using genAI tools in the classroom and encourage students to obtain permission before using such tools for their assignments. A transparent approach can help promote students’ responsible use of genAI. Conestoga has guidelines for experimenting with AI. Ensure to consult the guidelines and socialize students as appropriate.

Teaching Responsible Use: Teaching students to use genAI tools responsibly and to follow ethical guidelines is a good idea. This includes emphasizing the importance of original work, proper attribution, and transparency in using AI-generated content.

Promoting Critical Thinking: Encourage your students to think critically about using AI tools and analyze their potential biases. This can help them understand the ethical implications of using genAI in their work.

Engaging in Conversations and Debates: You may organize class debates on the use of genAI in the classroom to help your students understand the ethical considerations and implications of using genAI tools.


The age of genAI presents more opportunities than challenges for student success (Eaton, 2023). By embracing genAI as a catalyst for critical thinking and metacognitive growth, rethinking assessment strategies, and developing ethical guidelines, you can navigate this evolving landscape while upholding the highest standards of academic integrity. In doing so, you are contributing to the development of ethical, critical thinkers prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.

Works Cited

Eaton, S. E. (2023). Postplagiarism: Transdisciplinary ethics and integrity in the age of artificial intelligence and neurotechnology. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 19(23), 1–10.

Eaton, S. E. (2024). Teaching, learning, and Academic Integrity in a postplagiarism age: Generative Artificial Intelligence and other advanced technologies. Keynote paper presented at Conestoga College.

Michel-Villarreal, R., Vilalta-Perdomo, E., Salinas-Navarro, D.E., Thierry-Aguilera, R., Gerardou, F.S. (2023). Challenges and opportunities of Generative AI for higher education as explained by ChatGPT. Education Sciences, 13(9), 856.

Rethinking Academic Integrity: Leveraging AI as a catalyst for critical thinking and metacognitive growth. Retrieved from Rethinking Academic Integrity: Leveraging AI as a Catalyst for Critical Thinking and Metacognitive Growth | A Sonder Studio Insight (

Monsurat Raji

Monsurat completed her Doctoral program in Education at the University of Ottawa, Canada, with a focus on Educational Assessment and Teaching Pedagogies. She has an M.Ed. (with thesis) from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; M.Sc. in Educational Research Methods, Assessment, and Evaluation from Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, United Kingdom, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (Educational Assessment & Evaluation) and Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from University of Ilorin, Nigeria. She recently completed a Graduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning from the University of Ottawa, and has facilitated teaching, learning, and assessment workshops for graduate students, newly recruited faculty, instructors, and tenured faculty members. She brings her international education background and career experience derived from studying, teaching, and consulting in different education systems and levels to work at Conestoga’s Teaching and Learning Department.

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