Opinion: Unleash the Power of ChatGPT and A.I. – Graphic

Pepperdine Graphic
Transparency Item: The Perspectives section of the Graphic is comprised of articles based on opinion. This is the opinion and perspective of the writer.
As we stand at the cusp of a new era in education, it’s time to explore the benefits of integrating ChatGPT into academia and beyond despite some feeling that A.I. is detrimental to the learning process.
Early Technological Encounters
I reached my first academic and technological stepping stone when I was handed a first edition MacBook laptop at age 6. I immediately placed a huge, pink Barbie sticker on the case and then immediately went to play typing games that I learned about in school and would then practice in school in our computer lab class.
Learning how this machine worked each day was endless fun. I was hooked.
Next, my mathematics teacher handed me a graphing calculator and taught me how to use Desmos in middle school because, at this point, no class would teach math without it — it was the norm.
Languages have been a constant source of interest to me, and I could use Google Translate to communicate with friends across the globe. Wikipedia was my starting point for a lot of papers and projects and connected me to primary sources.
Grammarly and spell-check on my computer have pinpointed grammar mistakes I rarely make now. Digital libraries and e-books have been my saving grace in college when turn-around times are immediate.
Academia and technology are clearly meant to be intertwined. Throughout my academic career, there have been countless opportunities where academia has had to shift, and ChatGPT should be treated the same, even if it’s expecting more from the education system to adapt.
Balancing Benefits and Criticisms
ChatGPT is instantly available and an inexhaustible reservoir of information. No longer confined to the limited resources of a library, students can now summon a wealth of knowledge right at their fingertips.
This isn’t to say it’s a replacement for thorough research, but rather, it is a tool to augment understanding and provide direction.
Critics might raise an eyebrow, questioning the extent to which students truly engage with ChatGPT. In an article published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, “I’m a student. You Have No Idea How Much We’re Using ChatGPT,” I was shocked by the sheer amount of uses and abilities of ChatGPT, and honestly, it sounds quite accurate.
Embracing and Collaborating with A.I.
For professors, embracing ChatGPT is not a surrender to technological advancements but an opportunity to enhance their teaching methods. It’s a symbiotic relationship that allows educators to transcend the role of knowledge disseminators and guide students on a journey of exploration.
Sharyl Corrado, associate professor of History and Humanities and Teacher Education, shared the A.I. policy stated in her Humanities 313 syllabus: “Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) tools such as ChatGPT are valuable in some situations but must be cited properly. Using A.I. without citing how one used it is not allowed and any issue of A.I. constitutes a violation of Pepperdine’s academic integrity policy.
Corrado views assignments as learning opportunities, and she believes that A.I. can be helpful in that process, she said.
“I’m happy to have students use A.I. as long as they think about how to do it well and do not take credit for work that is not their own,” Corrado said. “I do not require it because I do not teach it in class and don’t want to assume that all students have the same facility in A.I. usage.”
She reiterates that, for exams, A.I. is not allowed. She said she makes her exams specific to her class.
“A.I. would not be very helpful unless the student was able to explain exactly what was needed,” Corrado said. “And if they know exactly what is needed, they don’t need the A.I.”
I wonder, though, if a student knows what is needed and has the knowledge of that for an assignment and still uses ChatGPT — and they are using it as a tool because it is faster — why shouldn’t they?
For students, direct integration could mean using ChatGPT to brainstorm ideas for a presentation, generate outlines for essays or even practice language learning through interactive conversations.
In a biology class, professors might use ChatGPT to explain complex genetic concepts, breaking them down into digestible nuggets. Collaborative projects could involve students working alongside ChatGPT to analyze trends in real-world data or create interactive simulations for physics experiments.
One of ChatGPT’s most remarkable features is its ability to process and analyze information with astonishing precision. In fact, its cognitive prowess can often outshine that of individuals.
ChatGPT can swiftly scan through vast repositories of data, extract relevant insights and present them coherently — a feat that can leave even the most diligent student or professor spellbound. This superhuman processing capacity can be harnessed to accelerate research, solve complex problems and provide multifaceted perspectives on intricate subjects.
Sarah Park, associate director of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Caruso School of Law, allows ChatGPT to help edit grammar, brainstorm and generate idea outlines, she wrote in a Sept. 21 email to the Graphic. If A.I. is used as a tool, it must be cited like any other reference.
“Material, especially citations, generated by A.I. programs may be inaccurate and you are responsible for those mistakes. Beware that use may also stifle your own independent thinking and creativity,” wrote Park.
While the allure of ChatGPT’s capabilities is undeniable, we must also acknowledge its limitations. It doesn’t possess personal experiences, emotions or ethical considerations, which can occasionally lead to misguided or incomplete responses.
The absence of moral discernment in A.I. can manifest in questionable advice or biased viewpoints. It’s essential for users to be discerning and cross-reference ChatGPT’s responses against reputable sources, ensuring a balanced and informed understanding.
Grant Dillion, senior media producer and adjunct instructor of Communication, shared his A.I. policy for the Journalism 270 course. He said he is taking a step forward by integrating A.I. into this course.
“During this course, you will be expected to research, learn, and use generative artificial intelligence (A.I.) tools and services in some or all of the class activities,” Dillion wrote. “Since critical thinking and analysis are key skills required within this course, you will be held responsible for ensuring the accuracy and veracity of the content you will produce.”
Citing A.I. sources is also a requirement for Dillion’s class, and in the submission, there must be a separate document where a student needs to attach the prompts, dialog and iterations used with the A.I. for each assignment.
In one assignment, students in Journalism 270 were assigned to generate an A.I. image and insert it into a slideshow with “man-made” images with a camera and understand the power of human and A.I. abilities.
The Potential of A.I.
The integration of ChatGPT into our educational landscape heralds the dawn of a brave new world. To prepare for this paradigm shift, students and educators alike must focus on cultivating critical thinking skills.
While ChatGPT provides answers, it’s our responsibility to ask the right questions. It’s imperative that we embrace this tool with discernment, recognizing it as an assistant rather than a replacement.
This new era demands a synergy between human ingenuity and artificial intelligence.
In a world where the boundaries between human intellect and A.I. are blurring, ChatGPT stands as a testament to the limitless possibilities of innovation. As students, educators and lifelong learners, we must seize this opportunity to harness its potential.
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Contact Victoria La Ferla via email:
Victoria.laferla@pepperdine.edu or by instagram @vlf_insider
Filed Under: Perspectives