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College instructor put on blast for accusing students of using ChatGPT on final assignments

A spokesperson said Texas A&M University-Commerce is investigating, noting that none of the students in the class received failing grades.
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Texas A&M University–Commerce said it is investigating after a screenshot of an instructor's email — in which he accused students of having used artificial intelligence on their final assignments — went viral on Reddit.

Jared Mumm, an instructor in the agricultural sciences and natural resources department, reportedly told students that they would be receiving an “X” in the course after he used "Chat GTP" (referring to the AI chatbot actually known as ChatGPT) to determine whether they’d used the software to write their final assignments. He said that he tested each paper twice and that the bot claimed to have written every single final assignment.

“I copy and paste your responses in [ChatGPT] and [it] will tell me if the program generated the content,” according to the email, a copy of which NBC News has reviewed. Rolling Stone first reported the story.

Attempts to reach Mumm by email, LinkedIn and phone were unsuccessful Wednesday. A university spokesperson confirmed Mumm sent the email.

The Rayburn Student Center at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
The Rayburn Student Center at Texas A&M University-Commerce.Google maps

The screenshot was shared Monday in the subreddit r/ChatGPT, a community made up of 1.6 million users. Many blasted him, and others came to his defense, noting that AI is still a very new tool. The discussion reignited debate around the impact chatbots could have on education.

After its viral launch in December, ChatGPT was lauded online by some as a dramatic step forward for artificial intelligence and the potential future of web search. But with such praise also came concern about its potential use in academic settings. In January, the New York City Education Department announced a ban on ChatGPT from its schools’ devices and networks, citing the potential for increased student cheating.

A university spokesperson rebutted parts of the Reddit post, which claimed “Texas A&M commerce professor fails entire class of seniors blocking them from graduating- claiming they all use ‘Chat GTP’”

No students flunked or were prevented from graduating because of the issue, the spokesperson said.

"Dr. Jared Mumm, the class professor, is working individually with students regarding their last written assignments," the university said in its statement. "Some students received a temporary grade of ‘X’—which indicates ‘incomplete’—to allow the professor and students time to determine whether AI was used to write their assignments and, if so, at what level."

The spokesperson said that since the email was posted on Reddit, "several students have been exonerated and their grades have been issued, while one student has come forward admitting his use of Chat GTP in the course. Several other students have opted to complete a new writing assignment made available to them by Dr. Mumm."

The Reddit post was shared by a user named DearKick, who claimed to have obtained the email from their fiancé, a student in the class.

Hundreds of people responded in the comments.

A user suggested that there "be an AI introductory class that is mandatory for teachers and everyone else to understand the biases of AI and how it functions." Another took the criticism a step further and suggested the instructor should face disciplinary action from the university.

“I know several university lecturers that are actively embracing the reality of ChatGPT and other AI and are looking at how to increase the learning potential that can be gained while finding better ways of analysing students skills and capabilities,” wrote another user. “This all reminds me of the time we were told that calculators would never be allowed in classrooms and, god forbid, in exams, only to be proved wrong the following year.”

AI technology is already being used to help detect plagiarism. Many students have long used computer-assisted writing tools, such as Grammarly or Google Docs’ Smart Compose. Platforms like Grammarly and Chegg also offer plagiarism-checking tools.

In April, Turnitin, a plagiarism detection service, announced it will activate its AI writing detection capabilities to "help educators and academic institutions identify AI-generated text in student-written submissions."

The Texas A&M University–Commerce spokesperson said the school will work to "develop policies to address the use or misuse of AI technology in the classroom." Officials also plan to use AI detection tools.

"The use of AI in coursework is a rapidly changing issue that confronts all learning institutions," the spokesperson said.