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ChatGPT in education: When cheating isn’t cheating2 min read

September 4, 2023 2 min read


ChatGPT in education: When cheating isn’t cheating2 min read

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As institutions grapple with the challenges and opportunities posed by emerging technologies, recent research from New York University Abu Dhabi brings the conversation about AI’s role in education into sharp focus. According to a study published on 24 August 2023 by Hazem Ibrahim, Fengyuan Liu, Rohail Asim, Balaraju Battu, Sidahmed Benabderrahmane, and others, ChatGPT, OpenAI’s language model, can produce answers to college-level assignments that are comparable or even superior to those of human students. While this raises valid concerns about academic integrity, it also beckons us to reconsider the role of AI tools like ChatGPT in education.

Adapt, Don’t Repress ChatGPT

The spotlight on AI’s potential for facilitating academic dishonesty is neither new nor surprising. As previously noted, the fear of widespread ChatGPT-based cheating is no different from age-old concerns about students helping others. Technological advancements have always tested the boundaries of academic integrity. However, a critical point often overlooked is that these same advancements can be harnessed for constructive educational purposes.

As claimed in the article in Scientific American, Debora Weber-Wulff, a computer science professor at HTW Berlin, has taken a proactive approach. By running exam and homework questions through ChatGPT, she modifies them to be more resistant to automated answers. This is not just about “tricking” the machine; it’s an acknowledgment that educational evaluation should evolve to encourage skills like critical thinking, creativity, and deep understanding that machines can’t replicate.

Reimagining the Education

In this context, as suggested by Scientific American, educators should consider adopting strategies like “flipped classrooms,” which encourage self-directed learning. Such methodologies make it nearly impossible for a machine to assist in cheating because the focus shifts to skills like collaboration, problem identification, and creative solutions, where AI still lags behind human capabilities.

ChatGPT has already proved to be an excellent mentor and an infinitely patient personal tutor, as we have discussed. Why not leverage this capability for constructive brainstorming sessions to facilitate more profound engagement with the learning material?

The Road Ahead

As we continue integrating ChatGPT in education, the focus should not be on suppression but on adaptation. The conversation should shift from how to prevent AI-assisted cheating to how we can use AI to enrich the learning process as it is in Wharton Business School or Helsinki University. It’s not about eliminating the machine but about understanding its capabilities and limitations and, most importantly, aligning those with pedagogical goals.

By adopting a more nuanced, integrated approach, we can aim for a future where machines don’t just mimic human intelligence but augment it. This way, educators and students stand to gain in an educational environment that is both challenging and enriching.