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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Asking ChatGPT: How should schools regulate students using the technology?


Recently, the hottest topic in the education world has been ChatGPT. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence technology that can write extremely convincing responses for assignments about any topic. It works by using information found online on the topic and combining it into unique text, which means it can’t be detected by plagiarism checkers the same way other forms of plagiarism can. As schools become aware that students could use this technology to plagiarize their assignments, there has been a new discussion about how classrooms should embrace technology while maintaining academic integrity. 

This idea is scary to academia and poses questions such as; what happens if a student has AI write all of their assignments? and, how can this be caught? 

In a world of lockdown browsers, Turn-It-In plagiarism software, and room scans before virtual exams, how can schools cope with this new form of temptation for students?

The reality is that most students would never have considered writing an assignment on ChatGPT if they hadn’t heard so many teachers warning them not to do it. By being so afraid that students will misuse this technology, teachers are telling students exactly how to get away with it. Every time they give a stern warning to students not to use this technology, they plant the seed that it is a possibility.

On top of teachers’ concerns, the media frenzy around this topic has fueled the problem to astronomical heights. I am getting sick of watching news segments on the dangers of ChatGPT and reading articles about how it will ruin the motivation of students. The topic seems like it has been beaten to death with no one offering any solid solutions. We just keep talking about how this is a problem, which inflates it into a much bigger problem than it actually is.

So, I decided to solve this problem by asking the problem itself: I asked ChatGPT how schools should make sure students use its technology responsibly. If this is the type of AI that can answer any question, research any topic and write any assignment, it should be able to answer this question just like any other. I guess it’s a bit meta to question the technology about its own existence, but I think it would have the best idea as to how it can be used correctly.

The response that ChatGPT gave was:

“Schools should have policies in place to discourage students from using technology like ChatGPT to write their assignments instead of doing the work themselves. Some ways to do this include:
Educating students about academic integrity and the importance of doing their own work.
Implementing plagiarism detection software to detect when students are submitting work that is not their own.
Encouraging open-ended, creative assignments that cannot be completed by simply using a language model like ChatGPT.
Creating a culture of honesty and integrity among students by promoting the idea that cheating is unacceptable.
Teachers should be trained on how to detect the cheating and take appropriate measures.” 

It is important to remember that the ultimate goal is to help students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and writing skills, rather than just completing an assignment.

This response is very interesting to analyze. It summarizes the points I have heard over the news and in discussions about this topic. I was surprised that ChatGPT didn’t try to claim that its technology has no downsides. Instead, it acknowledges that students can use its software to cheat and offers specific suggestions for how to address this new problem. 

ChatGPT puts this responsibility back onto the schools to  manage their students, and it is honest and forthcoming about the problems that it created. As technology continues to advance, we will see new types of writing software that will be even more accurate and grammatically correct. We need to work through this problem without overblowing the situation, but also without ignoring it. We need to work with this technology if we want to succeed in regulating it.

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Abby Counihan, Copy Editor
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