Using AI tools

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yellow robotAI tools have many uses that can potentially be helpful when completing your assessments. Before reading the information below, make sure you have also read the information for Current Students on the Open Polytechnic’s main website, under Assessments Using AI Artificial Intelligence services.


Can I use AI tools when writing/researching my assessments? 

It’s a good question! What’s important is knowing what is acceptable use, versus what the risks may be, and when use becomes inappropriate within an academic context.


What are the risks when using AI tools?

There are a number of risks with using AI tools to complete your assessments:



Incorrect information

Some of the information generated by an AI tool may be incorrect, irrelevant, out of date or biased. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy of information by verifying it with other reliable sources.

Academic Dishonesty

If it is detected that you have used AI to write your assessment for you, this is considered a form of academic dishonesty/plagiarism and can result in serious academic penalties.
If you are specifically asked to use an AI tool as part of your assessment, make sure you follow the instructions carefully.


AI tools can sometimes include made-up sources, i.e. the citations and references generated may not exist. These are called ‘hallucinations’. Use of these will also result in academic dishonesty.

Intellectual Property breach

You could inadvertently be using words that the AI tool has ‘written’, that are actually someone else’s intellectual property, also resulting in plagiarism.


So, how can I use Gen AI safely?

You may have tried or heard of a number of different AI tools such as Chat-GPT, Consensus, DALL.E, Rytr, along with many others. The quality and useability of these is rapidly changing and developing and there are many different thoughts and opinions on which tools are ‘best’ for a particular purpose.

Scroll down to see some examples of appropriate and inappropriate ways to use AI tools for your study. We are not specifying a particular tool here, but rather, things to consider when using any AI tool. As AI tools are constantly changing, the ways in which we use them will continue to change and evolve.


How should I reference content generated by AI?

For a quick example, see our 'AI generated information' example in our Open Polytechnic APA Referencing Guide. For more detailed information see Referencing AI generated content.

Contact us if you have any questions.


Examples of appropriate and inappropriate use of AI

Assessment writing

green tickAlani needs to describe a term for her assessment. She asks a GenAI tool to explain the term in simple language. She takes the explanation generated by the tool and inserts this as a direct quote into her assessment, citing it as (OpenAI, 2023)*. She includes a reference list entry as follows:

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].

* Some courses may be happy for you to occasionally use pieces of information from an AI tool directly. Check with your tutor/programme area to see if this is permitted.


red crossSimon is studying education. He needs to write an essay which explores cultural competencies for teachers working in New Zealand. He gives a GenAI tool his assessment question and asks the tool to write an essay on this topic. He makes a few changes and then submits the essay as his own work.


Generating ideas / brainstorming

green tickJia needs to choose a research topic for his Environment studies course. He is interested in water quality but is finding it difficult to narrow and refine his research question. He asks a GenAI tool to suggest five potential research questions related to his topic.


red crossLouisa is studying business. As part of her assessment, she is required to come up with five innovative ways to market a new product. She asks a GenAI tool to generate five ideas and then copies and pastes this into her assessment as her own work.


Finding sources of information

green tickTeumu needs some background reading on child literacy development. He asks a GenAI tool to give him some ideas of books to help him. The tool suggests a range of books. Teumu checks to see if these exist and finds that some are available in the Open Polytechnic Library.

red crossAlex is studying Psychology. She has written her essay but hasn’t included many references. She asks a GenAI tool to suggest three quotes from peer-reviewed journals that are relevant to three of her points. She inserts these quotes and citations into her assessment without going to the articles to read them, or to check if they exist.


Creating images

green tickYuki is studying Communication. She is asked to use a GenAI text-to-image tool to create a series of images. The images are all to be on the same subject, but she must prompt the AI tool in different ways to compare results. She uses the tool to create the images and inserts these into her presentation, acknowledging the use of the particular AI tool used.

red crossStefan is studying interior design. As part of his assessment, he is asked to re-design the interior of a living room by either hand-drawing or using CAD software. Stefan instead uses a GenAI text-to-image tool to draw the perspectives in a hand-drawn style and submits this as his own work.


* Note, some assessments may permit the use of generative AI tools to create images. Make sure you confirm with your tutor/programme area if this is allowed.

Last updated: 29 June, 2023