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There are so many folks engaging in conversations about chatGPT, the chatbot launched in late November, 2022. If you follow academic Twitter, barely a day has gone by without numerous posts reflecting varying viewpoints about the pros and cons of the technology. A question continues to spur debate: What does the technology mean for higher education?

(If you’re not familiar with chatGPT, here is an open source slide deck, shared by Dr. Torrey Trust at U of Massachusetts Amherst, to get you started.)

So far there have been a few takes on how faculty could practically deal with the presence of AI:

  • Forbid its use in class under plagiarism policy,
    • And then, perhaps, use some kind of AI detection like the newly developed GPTZero to check student work.
  • Warn students about privacy risks related to using AI,
  • Have conversations with students about our expectations,
  • Determine ways to use it in particular disciplines for specific tasks,
  • Teach students its ethical uses more generally or by discipline.

No matter which approach each of us takes, the AI is here to stay; Microsoft is looking to invest a lot of money into OpenAI, the company that built chatGPT. 

There are some questions that the presence of this AI may prompt:

1. Why do we ask students to write?

2. What else can we ask students to do that might accomplish the same?

3. What are we looking for in student responses?

Some of the answers to these questions might help us arrive at a way to deal with the arrival of a free chatbot like chatGPT. 

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Looking for more food for thought? Try these resources:

A list of practical ways to deal with chatGPT from Montclair State University

“Update Your Course Syllabus for chatGPT” by Ryan Watkins

“AI Text Generators: What Questions Should Writing Teachers Ask?” (anyone who asks students to write) by Anna Mills 

A curated list of resources from Anna Mills, community college writing instructor

My recommendations? Talk to folks in your discipline. Explore using chatGPT. Become familiar with it. Share what you’re learning!

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