The Rise of ChatGPT:
How AI Chatbots are Disrupting Higher Education
Get ready to be blown away by the revolutionary technology that is changing the face of higher education! The GPT family of chatbots has caused a stir in universities and colleges like no other technology since the introduction of Wi-Fi in classrooms. Meet ChatGPT and its younger, smarter cousin, GPT-4. They can create a realistic facsimile of a college term paper on command or populate the answers to a midterm. This innovative technology has disrupted traditional education and instruction, leaving professors and educators scrambling to keep up with it.
Some are skeptical of this disruptive technology, fearing its implications for academic honesty and learning. Others, however, are excited about the potential it holds for learning. As Jenny Frederick, executive director of the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, says, “the university is absolutely a wonderful place to consider all the implications both good and bad and challenges and new questions raised by any kind of new technology.”
Although there are concerns about cheating, universities are finding ways to ensure that ChatGPT is not as attractive to students. Assignments are being made more personalized to students’ interests, and students are being required to complete brainstorming assignments and essay drafts instead of just one final paper.
The popularity of ChatGPT has sent both small and large schools scrambling to develop guidelines on how to approach it. Columbia College, for instance, has formed a task force to decide how faculty should handle chatbots, while Drexel University is studying chatbots to issue guidance to the school by the end of March. Justin Shaddock, the chair of the Honor and Discipline Committee at Williams College, believes that his school can handle suspected cases of cheating with a student panel.
Policing plagiarism before ChatGPT was relatively easy. Plagiarism checkers can match a passage in a student essay to identical wording on Wikipedia, for example, catching the offender red-handed. However, with ChatGPT, the challenge is more significant since it creates different answers every time. The professor has to put their question or prompt or whatever in the ChatGPT, maybe do it a couple of times, and then try to show that there’s more similarity between the suspected essay and ChatGPT responses than there is between the suspected essay and a range of other student responses.
In conclusion, the GPT family of chatbots has had a significant impact on higher education, with both positive and negative implications. As universities continue to adapt and find ways to address the challenges of this technology, it will be interesting to see how it transforms higher education in the years to come.