What is ChatGPT’s Use in Higher Education?

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Student Select AI does not use generative AI. Our technology leverages Natural Language Processing to deliver the first genuinely non-invasive way to objectively understand and assess your applicants’ psychology, personality traits, competencies, and motivation.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a wide-ranging branch of computer science concerned with building intelligent machines capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence. AI includes multiple approaches, but advancements in machine learning and deep learning create a paradigm shift in every tech industry sector.

Two types of AI are most useful in a school setting: rules-based or machine learning-based AI. According to experts, machine learning-based AI is a more robust approach because machines can learn and improve over time when synthesizing large amounts of information from diverse sources.

Recently, everyone has been talking about one of the latest AI advances, ChatGPT. 

San Francisco-based AI research and deployment company, OpenAI, launched ChatGPT in November 2022. The tool offers conversational responses and remembers the previous dialogue thread, using questions and answers to inform its following responses. 

In higher education, some universities fear that students will use the ChatGPT to complete assignments, while others embrace the tool. 

What is ChatGPT?

OpenAI trained ChatGPT to interact conversationally. The dialogue format allows the tool to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate responses. 

ChatGPT is a sibling model to InstructGPT, a tool trained to follow instructions in a prompt and provide a detailed response. 

Individuals can utilize ChatGPT for many things, including organizing travel, scheduling appointments or meetings, translating text or speech, creating content, providing recommendations, and even finding cooking recipes. 

And in the classroom, students can use ChatGPT for everything, including homework help, researching, and writing poems or essays. 

ChatGPT Sparks Concern for Some Professors & Students

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools are turning to AI-powered chatbots that crank out detailed responses 24 hours a day using data from a knowledge base that acts as a central repository of information.

And now, ChatGPT is sending many educators and institutions into a panic as it creates a shortcut for solving problems or writing essays. A recent NPR release even referred to ChatGPT as “thrilling the Internet with its superhuman abilities to solve math problems, churn out college essays, and write research papers.” 

Some school districts have already banned the new technology, while others are attempting to teach students how to use it responsibly. 

Current and former teachers see danger signs, including writing coach and founder of Crush the College Essay, Peter Laffin, who warned that ChatGPT and other AI chatbots will “lead to a crisis in learning, forcing educators to rethink schooling entirely.”

A recent Study.com survey showed that 43% of educators feel that ChatGPT makes their jobs more difficult. The others, however — nearly six in 10 teachers — predict it will make their lives easier.

Recently, a version of ChatGPT powered by OpenAI's GPT-4 passed freshman year at Harvard

To experiment, Maya Bodnick, a Harvard student, asked eight professors and teaching assistants to grade ChatGPT's essays generated in response to actual Harvard prompts. To lessen potential bias, she told the professors the essays would either be written by her or an AI.

The bot achieved primarily As and Bs and one C across the social science and humanities-focused first year. The grades averaged out to a 3.34 GPA, the newsletter said.

Can Application Essays Be Trusted in the Age of ChatGPT?

While some universities, like the University of Michigan Law School, are taking a hard line and banning CHatGPT in application essays, other colleges are taking the opposite approach.

Arizona State University Law School announced in July that “future applicants will be allowed to use ChatGPT in their applications, specifically for their statements, which are akin to the essays required in undergraduate applications,” according to Lauren Coffey at Inside Higher Ed.

“It’s sort of accepting reality,” said Gary Marchant, ASU’s Center for Law, Science and Innovation director. “If the assumption is going to be that they’re using it, it makes sense to allow its use under supervision and guidance…. That’s how they’re going to work in the real world — lawyers use it every day now.”

Whether universities elect to accept ChatGPT in admissions, application essays and personal statements will require more scrutiny than ever. 

For those colleges and universities looking to circumvent the influence of ChatGPT, Student Select AI provides a seamless way to perform a holistic applicant personality, competency, and motivation assessment — right from the interview transcript.

Going far beyond traditional metrics like test scores, Student Select AI objectively measures candidates’ performance across 17 unique traits, from leadership and communication skills to analytical thinking, proactiveness, and grit. 

Is your admissions program ready to move away from traditional success metrics to measure what really matters? 

Schedule a live demo today to see first-hand how Student Select AI reduces time-to-decision while providing a holistic, unbiased view of each candidate so you can be confident in your admissions decisions.

Students accessing ChatGPT is sending higher education into a panic, as it creates a shortcut for essays and other writing assignments. But if utilized responsibly, can the tool create a positive teaching experience?


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