Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Decoding the honor code

Aruna Muthupillai

Over the past year, the battle against academic dishonesty has become increasingly complex. With the introduction of open-source artificial intelligence, the internet is now more than just a learning tool, and universities are finding new ways to adapt. Rapid advancements in the field of AI have led to inconsistent student guidelines across areas of study. 

Students using AI to gain an unfair advantage in classes should by no means be allowed to do so, but in a world so reliant on technology, neglecting the value of AI can limit the relevance of students’ education. A middle ground between completely banning AI and allowing students to use it freely is necessary to protect the integrity of a UT education going forward.

Art Markman, a psychology professor and the vice provost for academic affairs, explains how the honor code was intentionally worded so that professors can determine their own guidelines on AI.

“The honor code deliberately creates opportunities for faculty to be able to clarify what is and isn’t acceptable in their class because there isn’t going to be a policy that would say you could never use AI in your class,” Markman said.

The recent updates to the honor code foster a creative and explorational outlook on education that students can use as a guiding principle during their time at UT. Besides an outlook on education, the honor code purposefully leaves the majority of clarification on policies up to faculty.

Leaving room for individual interpretation allows professors to keep up with the rapid advances in AI. It also creates a variety of policies for students to keep track of and can be difficult for students to manage across the assortment of classes offered by the university. 

“I think it needs to be more specific, especially since it just refers to someone else’s work,” undeclared freshman Ben Crowley said. “What classifies as someone else’s original work when we are talking about (AI)?” 

Currently, the guidelines provided by UT leave the specifics surrounding AI up to professors. Placing responsibility on students to manage the different policies provided to them in order to make sure they are not misusing AI is potentially problematic as it leads to inconsistencies across fields of study, showing how even the current approach to AI still has its flaws. Although leaving guidelines up to professors creates conflicting policies across courses, the ambiguity of the honor code allows students to properly use the tool that is AI to enhance their education.  

When considering something as serious as academic dishonesty, rules and regulations must have clear boundaries about what constitutes cheating. The updated honor code does little to provide students with a clear-cut definition of where AI does and does not belong. While the University’s efforts to encourage honesty are a step in the right direction, the honor code must include specific guidelines to mitigate this problem.

Henneke is an anthropology sophomore from Austin, Texas.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Aruna Muthupillai, Opinion Illustrator
Aruna is a Plan II Honors and International Relations freshman from Pearland, TX. Currently, she works as an opinion illustrator. Outside of working for the Daily Texan, she’s involved in various political campaigns/organizations and enjoys eating pho.