Studying with Generative Artificial Intelligence

Learn how to use Generative Artificial Intelligence effectively and responsibly.

Generative AI (Gen-AI) is increasingly impacting our daily lives. Knowing when and how to use them is critical for your studies, personal life and ultimately for your work readiness and career prospects. In education, it promises to be a powerful tool with the potential to transform learning and teaching. Equally, it challenges us to use it effectively in an ethical and accountable way.

What is Generative-AI?

A myriad of AI tools is available to us, yet at their core they operate in the same way. Gen-AI is based on Large Language Models that were trained on a huge amount of human-created data. When you give them a prompt, these models generate content such as images, text, video, and sounds by accessing this data making predictions and connections.

While sharing foundational similarities, each tool possesses unique features and capabilities, and will respond differently to your prompts. Thus, it is worth investigating what the best fit is for your needs.

Using Gen-AI tools varies from course to course. Academic integrity, essentially showing your knowledge and skills, remains a top requirement; therefore, it is your responsibility to fully understand permissions and restrictions applying to your assessments and research. For more detailed information, make sure that you read  Advice for students on using Generative Artificial Intelligence in coursework.

Why are academic skills still relevant?

At University, Gen-AI can be an effective collaborator in the development of your academic skills and in achieving your study goals. At the same time, it must be carefully balanced with upholding academic integrity and not over-rely on these tools. You are the leader, you are accountable.


  • Develop your language and written communication skills – before using Gen-AI to generate a draft of academic writing, you will need to be clear about your task, criteria, and context. Equally, you need to thoroughly check the generated content for relevancy, appropriate language and terminology.
  • Develop well-articulated prompts – as it works on the principle of prediction, only effective prompts can generate relevant results. The more specific the better.
  • Develop effective searching skills to locate academic sources – Gen-AI provides you with information that it thinks you want, based on all sorts of available data sources – reliable or non-reliable. It is different from academic databases in that it is not transparent about the source. Hence, you must verify the information by locating evidence-based, credible, and primary sources via academic databases, such as the University of Auckland Library.
  • Develop your critical thinking skills – as with any information source, fact-checking is critical. Gen-AI outputs always sound confident and are well-written, even if the information is inaccurate, outdated, or purely made up. You will still need to know your subject area and be able to evaluate anything you read about.

How can I use Gen-AI in my studies?

Support your academic writing

Do you want some help with your academic writing? Gen-AI can help you to generate drafts, provide writing examples, help edit, revise, and give feedback on your writing.


Finding it hard to make a start with your assignment? Use Gen-AI to generate some ideas, or questions to investigate further on the topic

Learning Assistant

Wanting to test yourself or create a few questions for your study buddy session? Gen-AI can create some quizzes that suit your learning outcomes and level of difficulty. Finding it hard to grasp a new and complex concept or text? Ask Gen-AI to simplify it for you.

Organising content

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of course material? Gen-AI can assist you in organising it in logical structure, generating summaries and rephrasing study notes.

Source of information

Not knowing much about upcoming lecture content? As a starting point, Gen-AI can provide you with an overview about the topic.

Support your research process

Conducting research is a complex, time-consuming, and often daunting task. Gen-AI can assist you along the way during the four stages: research design, data collection, data analysis, and the write-up. Examples include refinement of research questions, qualitative theme analysis/coding, literature searching, and translation.

What are the limitations of using Gen-AI?

As capable as Gen-AI tools are, they are not a magic bullet. Remember that you are the human held accountable for your work. Here are a few limitations and risks to be aware of:

Academic Misconduct

If you use Gen-AI in ways that are not permitted by your Course Director, you may be in breach of the Student Academic Conduct Statute. Make sure that you know your assignment and exam requirements for each course.

Bias of information

Gen-AI data may perpetuate established stereotypes, misinformation as well as underrepresent certain populations (e.g., females, minority groups).

Currency and relevancy

Whilst the tools are increasingly interconnected with the Internet, be mindful that they may not provide you with the most up-to-date information depending on the data they are trained on. Gen-AI also tends to make generalisations that may not apply to your given context.

Copyright concerns

This is an area that is currently raising more questions than there are answers. Lack of regulations is still commonplace. Potentially using generated data can mean a copyright breach.


Gen-AI can draw information from unreliable sources or even create fake content and references. Traditional research tools such as library databases remain important resources in your toolkit.

Privacy and online safety

Gen-AI tools may collect your input data, as they learn from it to improve future outputs. Read the fine print of their policies as some allow you to opt out. Regardless, do not share any private and sensitive information, especially with commercial third-party providers.

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