Using AI to support learning

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By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

Can I use artificial intelligence to translate a learning diary? Or ask it to help me write an essay? On this page you can find information on the University policies on the use of AI to support teaching and learning.

What are AI-based applications like?

ChatGPT, Google Bard, DeepL and other familiar artificial intelligence (AI) applications available online are based on large language models. More recently, language models have evolved to the point where they can produce human-like text and conversations.

They can also correct and transform text at such a high level that it can be difficult to distinguish the final result from human-generated text. In the future, more such models are sure to emerge and their functionalities will continue to evolve. It is therefore important that we take their existence into account in teaching and research.

University encourages the use of AI

The existence of large language models should be seen as an opportunity. The University encourages degree programmes and teachers to use AI in their teaching. This way, we can prepare you for a society of the future where AI methods will be widely used.

As AI brings new possibilities for producing text whose origin and reliability is unclear, it’s important to use them in a controlled way. The teacher can, for example, restrict the use of AI in situations where using it would not promote your learning.

If you are unsure of whether you can use AI to support completing a task, you can always ask the teacher before you get to work.

Artificial intelligence guidelines in a nutshell

  1. Large language models can, as a rule, be used in teaching and as a support for writing. The teacher for the course has the final call on the topic. If there’s a risk that the use of large language models impedes achieving the set learning objectives, the teacher can prohibit the use of AI (independent work included).
  2. If you use a language model to produce the work you are returning, you must report in writing which model (e.g. ChatGPT, DeepL) you have used and in what way. This also applies to theses. Please note that you should never name AI as the author of the text or other written output. AI cannot take responsibility for the content of the text – this responsibility always lies with humans.
  3. Use of language models is never allowed in maturity tests.
  4. Your home faculty, degree programme, or the University Language Centre can make additional guidelines on the use of AI in their teaching.
  5. The responsible teacher should tell the student about the principles, disadvantages and benefits of using language models. If use of AI is prohibited on the course, the teacher should explain and motivate the limits of prohibited use in writing.
  6. Equality is a core value when planning education: ChatGPT and other large language models are not always available or there may be a charge for their use. You should never be required to use a language model that is not available for free.
  7. If you use a large language model in a course, part of a course or examination where it is prohibited in advance, please note that this constitutes cheating and will be treated in the same way as other cases of cheating. The same rules if you fail to report the use of a language model as instructed.

When using AI, always try to be precise and follow your teacher's instructions!

In addition to the University guidelines, the use of AI in teaching and learning is governed by the ethical guidelines set by the European Commission. The guidelines, available on the EU Publication Office website, are aimed especially for teachers, but taking a look at them can also be useful to students.

What are the guidelines based on?

The Guidelines for the use of AI in teaching at the University of Helsinki (pdf) were confirmed by the Academic Affairs Council on February 16, 2023. Please note that they may be further specified in the light of future regulation and technological developments.

If you have questions on the guidelines, you can contact the Strategic Services for Teaching: