Permitted aids for exams, how to write and cite in academic writing and correct use of AI

It is important that you know what the permitted aids for your exam/test are and only use these. Learn how to write academic text and quote correctly from the sources you use.

Learn to use artificial intelligence (AI) to promote learning.

  • It is important that you know what the permitted aids for your exam/test are and only use these.

    Where to find information about permitted aids for exams?

    • The course's web based course description should include the course permitted aids (aid code).
    • Permitted aids should also be stated in the exam questions. 
    • Remember to check the exam's information in the course "room" in Canvas, where details of specified aids must be given, e.g. which written materials are permitted to be used, etc.
    • Only aids that have been commonly used by the students in the course in question and that can be made available to everyone during the examination will be permitted.


    During an exam at campus, the open internet is not permitted, but access to certain websites can be available, e.g. Lovdata Pro.

    Permitted aids for examinations at campus:

    • A1: no calculator, no other aids
    • A2: no calculator, other aids as specified
    • B1: calculator handed out, no other aids
    • B2: calculator handed out, other aids as specified
    • C1: all types of calculators, other aids as specified

    Inspection of aids

    For campus-based examinations where invigilators are used, all aids that the students bring with them will be individually inspected by the invigilators.

    The student’s responsibility – permitted and non-permitted aids

    Permitted aids

    • You must bring permitted aids to the campus-based examination premises yourselves. This does not apply to examinations where NMBU provides the aids (calculators, collection of formulas etc.).
    • You are responsible for ensuring that the aids you bring with you to campus-based examinations do not contain unauthorized notes.
    • For campus-based examinations, the aid 'all types of calculators', means calculators that do not contain files, are not connected to the internet, a power supply or a printer, that do not communicate with other units, that do not make a noise and that only consist of a single object.

    Non-permitted aids

    • You are not allowed to bring or have access to other aids than those specifically permitted for the examination in question.
    • Students are not permitted to share aids during the examination.
    • Any access to or use of mobile phones during a campus-based examination will be regarded as cheating. Accordingly, the same rules apply for other digital aids containing communication. Exceptions are only made if the examination question paper or course description specify that aids containing communication equipment is permitted.
    • Students are not permitted to communicate with each other or other persons during an examination, unless communication has been specified as a permitted aid in the examination question paper or the course description.
  • You can always bring a bilingual dictionary if the exam is held in a language other than your first language (mother tongue). That is to say: from your mother tongue to Norwegian or from your mother tongue to English.

    You cannot bring an advanced dictionary that explains words and expressions.

    The dictionary may not contain any own notes.

  • For home exams, assignments etc., all aids will be available. An aid code is therefore not given for these assessments/courses. 

    What is permitted?

    Students are not permitted to communicate or cooperate with each other or other persons during an examination, unless such communication has been specified as a permitted aid in the examination question paper or the course description.

    During your exam, you should show what you have learned by answering the exam questions using your own words and formulations. You are not be tested in your ability to cut and paste from other sources. This is also important to keep in mind if you use notes that contain direct transcripts from lecture foils etc. or eg joint notes with other students and the like.

    Make use of available online resources, see links, to learn more about writing academic text, referencing correctly and how to avoid plagiarism and cheating. Taking an exam at home might be quite different from taking your exam at campus. This also applies to the aids you have available during your exams and the possibility to get help from someone. Please note that the same rules as always apply to plagiarism and cheating and the consequences of such actions.

    Tips!

    • It is important that you familiarize yourself with what aids that are permitted for your exams and to make sure that you don't use any other aids
    • It is also important that you learn how to write and cite correctly.
    • Write the answer in your own words. Do not "cut and paste" from others.
    • We encourage you to read the information on this page about cheating and plagiarism. You can also find links to useful tools and digital resources.
    • Cooperating with anyone is only allowed if this is specifically stated as permitted for your exam. You will find information about permitted aids in the course room in Canvas, the aids should also be stated on your exam questions.
    • NMBU defines cheating as “any act aimed at giving the student an unwarranted study result or an unjustified advantage in evaluating the student achievement.” Any form of plagiarism is considered cheating under NMBU’s examination guidelines.
    • Plagiarism can be directly copying or partially reproducing another person’s work or ideas and presenting these works or ideas as your own original work. The most common form of plagiarism occurs when you use another person's work or ideas without indicating the original source where you acquired this information from. When using information another person’s work (written or otherwise), it is important that you include both an in-text citation and a bibliographic reference to the original information source. The NMBU library provides manuals on correct citation and referencing styles and their standards where you can learn how to properly cite and reference.
    • Reusing your own writing from earlier assignments and/or examinations can also qualify as plagiarism. This reuse of your own work is considered self-plagiarism, however you can avoid self-plagiarism by using new information sources to reformulate your written ideas. If you reuse any parts of your own text you must remember to cite your own work correctly.
  • Learn more about how to cite and wright correctly. Please also use the e-learning tool Write and cite.

    Tools and resources - academic writing

  • Most of you know artificial intelligence (AI). AI i s a useful tool that can be used for many purposes and also to promote learning. But before using the tool you need to understand the technology behind the AI tools and what it is. It is also important that you check with your lecturers what they consider acceptable AI use in their courses.

    What is AI?

    Many AI tools are, for example, designed to process larger data sets or solve mathematical and/or statistical problems. This type of program is well established and is widely used in research, including at NMBU.

    Relatively new, however, is that AI can imitate the way humans speak and write. This is called a Natural Language Processing Tool - and is a statistical tool that can predict the next word in a given sequence. In other words, it is a context-specific probability distribution of words.

    ChatGPT and other Language Processing Tool

    The most famous language processing tool  is Chat GPT - Generative Pre-trained Transformer. As the name implies, GPT is trained on large amounts of data (text) to be able to generate text in a human-like way by answering questions from the user. It is exclusively trained on data up to September 2021. It is also not on the internet and therefore cannot update itself on what has happened after 2021. In total, the amount of text it has been trained on amounts to 45 terabytes. The other language prosessing tool that exist are trained in the same way. There are many to choose from:

    • The new Bing
    • KI-Chat (Sikt)
    • ChatGPT
    • Google Bard
    • YouChat
    • Jasper
    • Socratic
    • Chatsonic

    Most of these use the technology of Open AI (GPT), and some also have access to the internet. An example is The new Bing, where the chat function is based on ChatGPT 4, but it can also search the internet to generate the most accurate answers possible.

    The language processing tool can create summaries and simplifications of large and difficult texts. This can be useful. But it is also very important to read the texts yourself and process the content. This is how you get a good understanding of academic work in your course and can evaluate the content and what it means. When working with text-generated content, it may be wise to keep these questions in mind

    • Can I trust the answers given?
    • Do I have the opportunity to check the content against original texts?
    • Should I ask the question in a different way to get a more extended or specific answer?

    To use AI-generated text in an academically responsible manner in your writing process, you must actively adhere to academic norms for honesty, accuracy, and transparency. This means that it is important that you

    • clearly indicate when and how you use such texts  
    • critically assess and verify information from AI sources   
    • do not rely on AI as the only or primary source of information  

    Accuracy - probability and bias

    It is in the nature of a language processing tool to generate incorrect information. It cannot distinguish right from wrong on its own and thus composes sentences based on probability, not judgment. Here is an example:

    ChatGPT was asked the question of what is the most cited research article in economics of all time. The answer was "A Theory of Economic History" - written by Douglass North in 1969 and published in the Journal of Economic History. The only problem is that this article does not exist. By searching its own training data, it puts together the words that most often appear together based on the question: "A Theory of Economic History" is the answer we receive from ChatGPT. The choice of author is done in the same way. Douglass North is the author who has published most about economics. Probability therefore dictates that he is the author.

    GPT and the other language processing tools have also programmed ethical guidelines. They are mainly about offensive content and privacy, but they are also influenced by political views dominant in the American tech companies. The language processing tools therefore have a built-in bias. This helps to affect accuracy.

    Prompting

    When speaking with language models, it is important to be able to ask specific questions that contain a lot of context. This action is called prompting that can be explained as question formulations, instructions, or cues. Prompting is your way of giving the AI tool instructions on what you want it to do.  

    It can be challenging to create prompts that provide you with the desired response. Therefore, there is often need for adjustments, corrections, and follow-up questions in your prompts The stronger your grasp on the subject matter, the higher the likelihood of producing useful prompts. The most important thing is not to ask the perfect questions, but to try out and test. In some cases, you might get more accurate results if you prompt in English. For such AI tools to be useful to you, it is important to view the interaction as a dialogue.

    References

    It is important to point out that GPT et al. cannot be referred to as a source. Nor can you make use of sources that the tool states, as these may be not be real sources. This is because the language processing tool respond by searching and combining elements from their own training data. If you use AI in the process of developing your own text, you should be aware of:

    • AI-generated text may contain errors, inaccuracies or be misleading. So always verify the text with several other sources.  
    • AI-generatied text t is not your own. If you use it in your work, you need to be open about which parts of the text is AI-generated, how it was generated and used in your work.    
    • AI-generated text  usually does not refer to sources, or sources it refers to are not necessarily real or relevant. . To be an honest writer, you need to find, explore and reference real academic sources.  
    • AI-generated text may reflect biases or prejudices from the training data. By building on biases or prejudices ,you may contribute to   reinforce such bias and prejudices. .   
    • Do not use AI to write the text for you, but as a support in the writing process, for example to get ideas and improve your own text.

    Data storage and personal data

    The majority of the companies that own and develop the major language processing tools store user data in the US. They require log in by creating a password, registering a phone number and/or email (alternatively via Facebook or a Microsoft account), but also store metadata such as your internet history, browser type and which content you search for and are exposed to when using the program. In addition, some of the language processing tools will be trained further by you interacting with them. Everything you write and all the answers you get are used to further develop the technology. On the basis of regulations regarding data storage outside the EU (GDPR), NMBU or employees at NMBU cannot require students to use such tools as part of the teaching. However, this is something the tech companies are aware of and want to accommodate by changing their own data storage practices.

    • Cheating is any act aimed at giving the student an unwarranted study result or an unjustified advantage in evaluating the student achievement. NMBU takes cheating and plagiarism very seriously as this is a breach of trust from the student towards both fellow students and the institution NMBU.
    • Cheating or plagiarism on campus and home exams, compulsory submissions, and other assignments and work to be submitted during the course of study at NMBU are viewed the same.
    • Remember that incorrect use of artificial intelligence (AI) such as ChatGPT or other tools may lead to suspicion of attempted cheating and/or plagiarism. This can have serious consequences for you.
    • NMBU defines cheating as “any act aimed at giving the student an unwarranted study result or an unjustified advantage in evaluating the student achievement.” Any form of plagiarism is considered cheating under NMBU’s examination guidelines.
    • Plagiarism can be directly copying or partially reproducing another person’s work or ideas and presenting these works or ideas as your own original work. The most common form of plagiarism occurs when you use another person's work or ideas without indicating the original source where you acquired this information from. When using information another person’s work (written or otherwise), it is important that you include both an in-text citation and a bibliographic reference to the original information source. The NMBU library provides manuals on correct citation and referencing styles and their standards where you can learn how to properly cite and reference.
    • Reusing your own writing from earlier assignments and/or examinations can also qualify as plagiarism. This reuse of your own work is considered self-plagiarism, however you can avoid self-plagiarism by using new information sources to reformulate your written ideas. If you reuse any parts of your own text you must remember to cite your own work correctly.

    Examples of cheating and plagiarism

    Cheating is any act that aims to give the student an unjustified study result or an unjustified advantage when evaluating academic performance.

    Examples of cheating and plagiarism. The list is not exhaustive.

    • Breach of the exam regulations at NMBU may be cheating.
    • Cheating may consist in acquiring knowledge of the exam questions prior to the start of the exam with the intention of taking advantage of the knowledge during the exam.
    • Actions that on a false basis aim at giving a student benefits during the exam in the form of extended time or additional aids may be cheating.
    • Cheating may be to manipulate the submitted exam answers for the purpose of obtaining a better mark.
    • Cheating may consist in obtaining access to aids that are not permitted by NMBU's provided aid codes for the relevant written exam. This applies irrespective of whether the illegal aid consists of paper, mobile phone or other equipment, and regardless of whether the aid is in the exam room or other places where the candidate can obtain access to the aid during the exam.
    • Cheating may consist in the fact that a submitted assignment has been prepared by another person than the one listed as the examinee.
    • Plagiarism is cheating. Examples of plagiarism: Reproduction or quotes from books, articles, websites, own or others' assignments, use of images, graphs and the like without source reference, quotation mark or other acknowledgment in the text / picture / drawing showing where the material is taken from.
    • Cheating may consist in the fact that a written answer has been used by the examinee himself for a previous examination, unless such use is agreed upon with the course responsible.
    • Use of artificial intelligence AI to answer the task.

    More examples of cheating and plagiarism

    • Use of mobile phones or other electronic devices during your exam
    • Using or having available aids that are not permitted. Examples of this are notes and sheets with syllabus-related information, own notes etc.
    • Not providing sources or providing fictitious sources
    • Answers/hand-ins copied from the Internet and completely or partially submitted as one's own work
    • Answers/hand-ins that have completely or partially been used by another person at an earlier examination submitted as one's own work
    • Answers/hand-ins that have completely or partially been prepared by another person submitted as one's own work
    • Submitted practical or artistic work that has been produced by someone else than the student submitted as one's own work
    • Violation of the rules on cooperation
    • Reproduction/quotations from textbooks, other scientific books, other's exams/papers, texts published on the Internet, etc. that are presented without any source reference and without clearly indicating that the text in question is a reproduction/quotation.
    • Reproducing or quoting from text you have previously written in a submitted assignment, without clearly marking that it is a reproduction/quotation you have previously submitted (self-plagiarism)

    How cheating and plagiarism can be detected

    • By the examination supervisor during or in connection with the examination.
    • Random sampling performed by employees in the Department of Academic Affairs during the examination
    • By the examiner when assessing an exam or assignment
    • Use of Ouriginal - a text recognition program that checks the student's electronically submitted assignment against other students' assignments and texts from the internet.
    • Suspicion of use of unjustified use of AI.

    Unjustified use of artificial intelligence AI - Annulment of examination and diploma certificate

    Along with the development of AI services that can be used to detect the use of AI will also come. This means, among other things, that if you as a student in spring 2024 use AI for all/parts of your answers, the answer/exam could be annuled when the right tool becomes available in the future. This may also result in your degree being cancelled. The right to annulment has no time limit, cf. the Universities and Colleges Act Sectiopn 4-7 (4).

    • Although language models such as ChatGPT may not be mentioned explicitly in the guidelines for the exam, it is very clear that the answers you give must be your own work.
    • If you copy text from other sources, get others to write the text for you, or you use e.g. Chat GPT or other AI, this is considered attempted cheating. The result can be cancellation of the exam/course and expulsion from the university.

    NMBUs regulations concerning cheating and use of AI

    NMBUs current regulations concerning cheating covers the use of AI-tools as ChatGPT as for now.

    3.1 Cheating is any act aimed at giving the student an unwarranted study result or an unjustified advantage in evaluating the student achievement.

    3.2 a) Breach of the exam regulations at NMBU may be cheating.

    Using a language processing tool to generate text can currently be defined as a way of gaining an "unjustified advantage" when evaluating academic performance. You must use an independent software (with login) that is not included in NMBU's list of approved digital tools.

    3.2 g)Plagiarism is cheating. Examples of plagiarism: Reproduction or quotes from books, articles, websites, own or others' assignments, use of images, graphs and the like without source reference, quotation mark or other acknowledgment in the text / picture / drawing showing where the material is taken from.

    Consequences of cheating and plagiarism

    The NMBUs appeals committee decides on the sanctions to be imposed for cheating or plagiarism. The consequences that cheating can lead to exclusion from NMBU for up to a year, as well as losing the right to sit for exams at other universities and colleges in the same period. Your exam, paper or submission will be annulled.

    Remember that the right to annull an exam, assignment or submission does not expire cf. the Norwegian Act Relating to Universities and University Colleges section 4-7 no. 4. This means that if cheating or plagiarism is suspected, the case can be taken up even if you have left the university. If there is a decision on cancellation, the diploma or transcript must be returned to NMBU