ChatGPT: Using Chatbots in Higher Education
“[…] ChatGPT feels different. Smarter. Weirder. More flexible. It can write jokes (some of which are actually funny), working computer code and college-level essays. It can also guess at medical diagnoses, create text-based Harry Potter games and explain scientific concepts at multiple levels of difficulty.” Kevin Roose, “The Brilliance and Weirdness of ChatGPT,” NYTimes, 12.05.22.
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Chances are you’ve heard about ChatGPT. Released late in 2022, OpenAI’s ChatGPT has turned the heads of educational institutions and teachers in every field. From doomsday predictions to enthusiasm for creative and educational possibilities, there is a plethora of media coverage for the new Artificial Intelligence. Regardless of what they’ve heard, instructors will benefit from giving the tool’s capacities to generate readable prose some thought as they prepare their courses and assignments.
“ChatGPT is not without precedent. Souped-up spell-checkers such as Grammarly, Hemingway, and Word and Google-doc word-processing tools precede ChatGPT and are often used by students to review and correct their writing. Like spellcheck, these tools are useful, addressing spelling, usage, and grammar problems, and some compositional stylistic issues (like overreliance on passive voice). However, they can also be misused when writers accept suggestions quickly and thus run the danger of accepting a poor suggestion. Automation bias is in effect — we often trust an automated suggestion more than we trust ourselves. Further, over-reliance can mean students simply miss opportunities to grow and develop as writers” (Montclair State University, 1.08.22).
This post serves to introduce faculty to ChatGPT and link them to resources that will be developed by the CFC (see the bottom of this post for the FAQ page). These resources will be continually updated as this technology advances, best practices are developed, and research is published. Our next post will address ways to create and adapt assignments in the reality of a time where A.I.-powered programs are being used by students and faculty alike.
Here is what ChatGPT had to say when asked to write a blog post introducing itself to higher education faculty:
ChatGPT in Higher Education
ChatGPT is a chatbot developed by OpenAI that uses natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to understand and respond to user input. ChatgGPT is capable of generating responses that are similar to those produced by a human, making it a useful tool for a variety of applications. In recent years, chatbots like ChatGPT have gained popularity in higher education as a way to enhance student learning and engagement.
One way that ChatGPT can be used in higher education is as a study aid. ChatGPT can be programmed to provide students with practice questions and quizzes to help them review and reinforce key concepts. ChatGPT can also provide personalized feedback to students based on their responses, helping them to identify areas where they may need to focus more attention.
Another way that Chatgpt can be used in higher education is to facilitate discussions. ChatGPT can be programmed to ask questions or prompt students to share their thoughts on a particular topic, helping to create a more interactive and engaging learning environment. ChatGPT can also be used to provide students with additional resources, such as links to relevant articles or websites, to help them explore a topic in more depth.
However, it’s important to consider the risks associated with using ChatGPT in higher education, including the potential for academic misconduct. ChatGPT can produce responses that are similar to those produced by a human, which means that it could potentially be used to cheat on assignments or exams. It’s important for educators to be aware of this risk and to take steps to prevent academic misconduct, such as using plagiarism detection tools and proctored exams.
While Chatgpt has many potential benefits in higher education, it also has some limitations. One limitation is that Chatgpt is only as good as the data it has been trained on, and may not be able to produce accurate responses to questions or prompts outside of its training data. ChatGPT is also not capable of demonstrating the same level of critical thinking or originality as a human, and should not be used as a substitute for traditional teaching methods.
(Written by ChatGPT as prompted by Ian Selig)
Have questions about the use of A.I. Chatbots in higher education?
Head over to our F.A.Q. on A.I. Chatbots
This post was written with content from Teaching Resources by Montclair State University Office for Faculty Excellence and the use of ChatGPT by Ian Selig