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Supporting students to use AI ethically and effectively in academic writing


King’s, in line with the Russell Group principles, encourages students to use AI-powered tools in their academic writing. One principle is ‘Staff should be equipped to support students to use generative AI effectively and appropriately. This project aims to equip staff with information and instructional materials for providing this support. Currently, not enough is known about how students engage with AI-powered tools. A recent survey of MA students in ECS revealed that most utilise Machine Translation, Digital Writing Assistants, Automated Paraphrasing Tools3 and increasingly generative Large Language Model technologies; however, for which purposes students use these tools in academic writing and the extent to which they use them ethically and effectively remains unclear. Given the possible infringement of academic integrity, and the potential inequality between students who can use AI-powered tools effectively for their academic writing and those who cannot, there is a need to  

  1. find out in more detail how students engage with these tools in academic writing; 
  2. develop workshops and materials to enable students to use them ethically and effectively in academic writing.  

The information and materials generated by this project can be used by staff across King’s.  


Two BA and two MA programmes from ECS will be involved in this project. From each programme, a digitally experienced volunteer is recruited as student collaborator to join the project board. The student collaborators’ knowledge of their programme’s assignments will inform the design of focus group discussions with 6 – 8 students from each programme. These aim to elicit details about students’ use of AI-powered tools and their perceptions of the tools’ effectiveness in assignment writing, challenges they experienced with specific tools, and their desire for support. The findings, as well as our knowledge from the literature on the affordances of AI technologies4, will be used to develop 3-hour workshops for each of the four programmes. The student collaborators will be involved in each step of the project, including data analysis of focus group discussions, pedagogical decision making for the workshop contents, materials development, workshop delivery and evaluation, and project dissemination. 

The workshops have the same core content, but there will be programme-specific elements directly linked to specific assignment tasks. The workshop structure follows the PAIR framework5 and the content addresses the boundaries between ethical and unethical technology use and the affordances of specific tools for the various stages of the writing process. It includes case studies of students using AI tools successfully and unsuccessfully. The core workshop content and the materials will be adapted to a template for use across programmes/departments at King’s. 

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigator