ChatGPT, in simple terms, is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) chatbot trained on vast amounts of data. It can answer questions in essay form in professionally written English. While it can produce accurate and well-written answers, it may occasionally produce inaccurate, untruthful, biased, and harmful content. It should be noted that here we are referring to ChatGPT, but the information is intended to be applicable to other AI text-generative tools that are popping up.
ChatGPT has gained some notoriety as a tool that enables students to cheat on written assignments and take away people’s jobs. ChatGPT has been featured in the media sensationalizing the potential impact including: “The College Essay is Dead,” “Students Are Using AI to Write Their Papers, Because Of Course They Are,” and “ChatGPT Won’t Take Your Job, But You Will Need To Learn How To Use It.”
There is a real chance students may use the tool to misrepresent the output from ChatGPT as their own. We expect innovative solutions to be developed in the future to evaluate potential plagiarism. However, it is also our responsibility to help guide students to use ChatGPT with academic integrity, as there is enormous potential for this tool to impact the higher education landscape.
Yes, but please consider privacy and data collection policies of the AI tool. Review the terms you agree to and do not use student or personally identifiable information when making queries. You may also want to consider, as an instructor, the possible implications of entering test questions or other academic work into the tool.
ChatGPT is currently in research preview and is free for anyone to use. Go to: https://chat.openai.com/ You'll need to create an OpenAI account. It has been in high demand, so it is often down. You may want to try it out for yourself to see how it works, what its capabilities are, and what it knows about your discipline.
You can always visit the CITL Innovation Studio during open hours Tuesdays 10a-4p and Thursday 1-4p (or schedule an appointment) to try it with one of our educational technology experts (if ChatGPT is running at the time).
Academic Integrity is a critical issue, and we should address the concept with our students and include it in the syllabus. CITL has guidance on “Dealing With Cheating” and “Discouraging & Detecting Plagiarism.”
Your syllabus should be designed to address (repeat in class to emphasize) the importance of academic integrity. Propose alternative assignments or assessments if there is the chance that students might use the tool to misrepresent the output from ChatGPT as their own. Avoid punitive language which can break trust. Stress the positive. Tell them why you are you doing the assignment/assessment, what is the true outcome you are seeking, and how does the assessment help students (and using AI would defeat the desired outcome).
It is important to understand why students might “outsource” their work and address those issues. Often, time management skills are to blame, or the student does not know how to get started with a project. You can assign students to speak to a librarian about a topic, provide them with instructional resources, or structure assignments in such a way that they complete bite-sized, manageable components over time, and do not get in rush at the end.
Students should be aware of the benefits of academic integrity and the consequences. It is often better for the student and instructor to focus on ways to improve learning and disincentive cheating overall.
If AI is the future of work, then it is beneficial to prepare our students for the future and professional practice. We may want our students to try it, analyze it, and critique it.
It is prudent to evaluate threats and opportunities in your teaching independently from students by using the tool and exploring its strengths and weaknesses. That said, it is also valuable to have open discussions, as well as identify and communicate opportunities in your course by co-creating class expectations with your students. Talk about how it should and should not be used. Use it in class as an activity. What would ChatGPT say? Why is its response right or wrong?
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has some specific sample activities of how to explore the strengths and weaknesses of AI, establish course norms for using AI, and integrating AI into writing assignments.
Traditional writing assignments are not dead with the introduction of ChatGPT, but it may be important for us to re-evaluate what the core purpose of student writing is and refocus on those key elements.
Writing is not the only way to assess students. Alternative means of assessment provide students with rich and meaningful ways to demonstrate their learning. By being creative with a rubric, we can assess a variety of assignments fairly and equally. Giving the students options lets them be more engaged in their assignments. Here is a small sampling of assignments, beyond writing:
Our campus plagiarism tool Turnitin is developing a ChatGPT and AI writing detection tools that will eventually be available for campus. As these solutions are being developed (e.g., the ability to compare writing style and watermarking AI generated content) it is also important to recognize the potential for ChatGPT in supporting innovation and the need to educate our students in the best ways to interact with new and disruptive technologies.
CITL put together a diverse group of campus stakeholders to open up the conversation around this disruptive technology and discuss the implications for teaching and learning in higher education. Our panel discussion, Artificial Intelligence: Implications on Teaching & Learning, is hosted by Jordan Leising, Instructional Designer (CITL) and Jamie Nelson, Assistant Director, Emerging Technologies (CITL) and Associate Director, Educational Technologies (Gies)
Our panelists include:
Please watch the recording by clicking on the image below.
We gave ChatGPT the prompts below to see what advice it could give us and our students. It will also give you an idea of the kinds of responses it is capable of.
Response: Here are some suggestions for advice that can be given to faculty who are worried about students using ChatGPT to author papers:
Response: ChatGPT can help you write a paper in a few ways:
It is important to note that while ChatGPT can be a useful tool in writing a paper, it is not a substitute for your own critical thinking and writing skills. The suggestions provided by ChatGPT should be used as a guide and not a replacement for your own ideas and writing. Additionally, it's important to carefully review and edit the text generated by ChatGPT and to ensure that all sources are properly cited.
ChatGPT and other AI creation tools are here with more coming on the horizon. We hope that the guidance in this document will help you navigate this exciting (and disruptive) innovative technology. We would be happy to continue the conversation with you and talk about your specific course needs. Please feel free to reach out and schedule a consultation.
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