How local colleges are addressing ChatGPT in the classroom

As AI and ChatGPT take the tech world by storm, college professors are looking for a human answer to using ChatGPT ethically in the classroom.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 5:21 PM CDT
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DENISON, Texas (KXII) - OpenAI’s ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence bot that can answer just about any question you ask it, including questions about itself.

ChatGPT will tell you it’s an AI trained to engage in conversations and answer questions.

It even notes it’s not perfect.

Here’s its full response when News 12 asked the bot to describe itself:

I am ChatGPT, an AI language model developed by OpenAI. I have been trained on a diverse range of data, including books, articles, and websites, to provide information and assist with various tasks. I can engage in conversations, answer questions, offer explanations, and even generate creative content. However, it’s important to note that while I strive to provide accurate and helpful information, I may occasionally generate responses that are incorrect or nonsensical. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to verify any critical information I provide through reliable sources.

Now ask a human:

“ChatGPT is an AI-driven software, right, that will right things for you, and it can be things from ‘how do I write a cover letter?,’ all the way to full papers,” said Grayson College Professor Mary Linder.

Linder teaches government and oversees Turnitin at Grayson College, a different type of AI meant to catch plagiarism and AI-generated content turned in by students.

“When that software launched, I was like, ‘holy moly,’” said Linder. “This is more widespread than I thought.”

She said her students flagged for using AI usually are just trying to improve their work.

“I would say 99.9 percent of my students were like, ‘I was just trying to make it better,’” said Linder. “It wasn’t from a place like ‘I’m trying to cheat.’”

At Texas A&M Commerce last week, the university announced it’s investigating the use of AI in the classroom.

The university sent the following statement to News 12:

Several recent news articles have addressed allegations that seniors in an agriculture class at Texas A&M University-Commerce received a failing grade and were temporarily denied their diplomas due to questions about AI-generated assignments.

A&M-Commerce confirms that no students failed the class or were barred from graduating because of this issue. Dr. Jared Mumm, the class professor, is working individually with students regarding their last written assignments. Some students received a temporary grade of “X”—which indicates “incomplete”—to allow the professor and students time to determine whether AI was used to write their assignments and, if so, at what level.

Currently, several students have been exonerated and their grades have been issued, while one student has come forward admitting his use of ChatGPT in the course. Several other students have opted to complete a new writing assignment made available to them by Dr. Mumm.

University officials are investigating the incident and developing policies to address the use or misuse of AI technology in the classroom. They are also working to adopt AI detection tools and other resources to manage the intersection of AI technology and higher education. The use of AI in coursework is a rapidly changing issue that confronts all learning institutions.

Texas A&M University-Commerce is one of eleven independent schools that make up The Texas A&M University System. It is not a branch or satellite of Texas A&M University in College Station or any other school in the Texas A&M System.

“Students are using it as a way to try to strengthen their writing as the way they’re looking at it, but the levels to which it changes a student’s writing is quite significant,” said Linder.

ChatGPT not only acknowledges these concerns, but it provides suggestions for teachers on how to address them.

“There’s a responsibility that comes with it as well,” said Linder. “I don’t know what the future may be, but we’ve got to continue to adapt to it.”

ChatGPT doesn’t have an exact answer for what its future will look like either.

It’s important to note that the future of AI and Chat GPT is still uncertain, and these are speculative possibilities based on the current trajectory of AI research and development. The actual direction and rate of progress will depend on various factors, including technological advancements, ethical considerations, and societal acceptance.

If there’s one thing both humans and AI can agree on, the future is quite uncertain.