Students and staff at Queen’s University visited ChatGPT 28,000 times in just two months

The uni said it’s currently reviewing the capabilities of ChatGPT

Students and staff at Queen’s University Belfast visited the ChatGPT website almost 28,000 times in December and January, The Belfast Tab can reveal.

There were 10,901 visits to the chatbot website in December using the university’s Eduroam WiFi and 17,085 in January, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request sent by The Tab shows.

The data comes as universities are battling to review and update their assessment policies over fears students are already using the software to aid them in exams.

Last month, The Tab submitted a final year Bristol University essay using ChatGPT to be marked by a lecturer at the university.

The essay, which was completely written by the AI software, was put together in 20 minutes with the lecturer giving it a 2:2 grade.

The lecturer said: “You definitely can’t cheat your way to a first class degree, but you can cheat your way to a 2:2.”

While some universities have taken to trying to ban the use of ChatGPT by students, Queen’s is taking a more progressive approach.

The university has admitted a “blanket ban” on the software is unrealistic and instead it needs “to focus on responsible usage by staff and students”.

A spokesperson for Queen’s University told The Belfast Tab: “The University has been engaged in university and sector-wide discussions on the potential of ChatGPT and the challenges it could pose, not just for education but also more widely for the world of work.

“We are currently reviewing the capabilities of the technology and the implications that need to be considered.”

The Tab’s study into ChatGPT use by Russell Group university students found there were more than one million total views to the website in December and January.

Open AI, the company behind ChatGPT, made the chatbot website available to the public on 30th November.

In December, FoI responses from eight different Russell Group institutions shows there were 128,402 visits to the website from the universities’ WiFi.

This figure snowballed to 982,809 visits in January, coinciding with most universities’ winter assessment period.

The remaining two-thirds of the Russell Group said they do not track the internet browsing activity of users.

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