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AI, ChatGPT & university

Soon AI will be easily an easily accessible tool that makes writing high quality essays easy for all, ChatGPT power means that frankly lots of the research will be gathered by AI.

What does this mean for university assessments? let me know your opinions...

IMO its very possible the future will be based on students submitting AI generated essays and the skill will be in how you program AI and all assessments will with require viva examination or paper exam as it will be impossible to measure quality and student understanding via essay style coursework with this technology.

How would you feel about having to verbally defend your work or have more exams at university?

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Reply 2
We will just stop doing essay assessments, or will need detailed draft plans to submit with the final version so that we can trace the common thread. More in-person assessment, be they viva or written. It'll be a big cost on staff time so hey maybe more of us will get decent contracts!
Reply 3
Eddie Tian's thing is pretty good at determining a ChatGTP submission.
Original post by gjd800
We will just stop doing essay assessments, or will need detailed draft plans to submit with the final version so that we can trace the common thread. More in-person assessment, be they viva or written. It'll be a big cost on staff time so hey maybe more of us will get decent contracts!


Hopefully, I do think generally this a good thing overall from an academic perspective if it goes this way, forcing students to defend work in higher pressure i.e. viva/exam allows real quality to shine. It also means students will spend more time on justification & therefore advanced & development of complex arguments rather then the exhaustive grind aspects of reading vast quantities of information.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by mnot
Soon AI will be easily an easily accessible tool that makes writing high quality essays easy for all, ChatGPT power means that frankly lots of the research will be gathered by AI.

What does this mean for university assessments? let me know your opinions...

IMO its very possible the future will be based on students submitting AI generated essays and the skill will be in how you program AI and all assessments will with require viva examination or paper exam as it will be impossible to measure quality and student understanding via essay style coursework with this technology.

How would you feel about having to verbally defend your work or have more exams at university?

This is something I'm rather interested in. At least for my degree when I tried it on a couple of questions on assignments I'd already submitted and got a grade back before it came out, I noticed it definitely wasn't using the technical language that would get you the marks and stuff in the assignment brief. All in all very poorly worded. The online textbooks provided for my course are way better.

But you could say that I could ask it to 'summarise X book!' Well yes, I tried that and it was pretty useless. I don't think that sort of tech is there yet. Or maybe I'm just using it wrong, idk. But that wouldn't help me learn.

There's also notes on a reddit sub for it that when you ask it to cite references it can sometikes bring up fake ones that don't exist. So you'd have to go and fact check everything that's cited anyway.

The technology is fun and new but wouldn't be much use for some degrees which are more niche. Although for things like computer science I can see where it would come in useful.

Also, since ChatGPT came out the updates put in place appear to have made it dumber. It's only the beta model which is free atm, and possibly likely to become subscription based in the future.
(edited 1 year ago)
I'm skeptical how well an AI could write an actual scholarly essay that is more than "passable". Feels a lot like techbros being like "yeah anyone can do literary analysis lol" and then failing to understand even basic metaphors in media and texts because they never deigned to learn even the basic principles of literary criticism...
Original post by Chronoscope
This is something I'm rather interested in. At least for my degree when I tried it on a couple of questions on assignments I'd already submitted and got a grade back before it came out, I noticed it definitely wasn't using the technical language that would get you the marks and stuff in the assignment brief. All in all very poorly worded. The online textbooks provided for my course are way better.

But you could say that I could ask it to 'summarise X book!' Well yes, I tried that and it was pretty useless. I don't think that sort of tech is there yet. Or maybe I'm just using it wrong, idk. But that wouldn't help me learn.

There's also notes on a reddit sub for it that when you ask it to cite references it can sometikes bring up fake ones that don't exist. So you'd have to go and fact check everything that's cited anyway.

The technology is fun and new but wouldn't be much use for some degrees which are more niche. Although for things like computer science I can see where it would come in useful.

Also, since ChatGPT came out the updates put in place appear to have made it dumber. It's only the beta model which is free atm, and possibly likely to become subscription based in the future.


This is interesting, I suppose everyone has a different experience. Ive been really quite impressed with a couple AI tools i demo’d.

I think it’s not necessarily the finished project yet, but when i see how powerful it is, I just don’t see how in 5 or 10 years academic assignments cant remain the same.

where is gen 2,3,4 of AI going to be .. especially when people inevitably start finding ways of building on extensions to academic search engines or paper repositories.


Currently a pretty active topic of conversation over coffee at my institution, but no official policy yet. I think it likely that regs are going to be updated in the near future to specifically include penalties for submitting machine generated text for credit. I note that there is also “action” out there to train AIs to recognize text generated by tools like ChatGPT - robot wars commence :smile:.

There are some “obvious” brute force solutions if it becomes a real issue for assessments, simply moving to in person essay writing in physical exam room or a viva. Hard to game either of those, but they do burn up staff time. We might end up moving to feedback only on some exercises. The dumb students will likely still try to game the system on those with an AI, but that’s a losing strategy as it does not train you to write or help you to improve as the feedback is then near useless. It would be interesting to see what an AI could do along the lines of writing a decent lab report with error analysis and conclusions based on real data. I think that’s going to be very hard to game as it requires actual insight about what things “mean”.

I am not unduly worried yet, I am old enough to recall when students first got the idea that they could cut n’ paste from the web, that was pretty easy to spot long before Turnitin came along and did some of the “look here” work for us.
Original post by Mr Wednesday
Currently a pretty active topic of conversation over coffee at my institution, but no official policy yet. I think it likely that regs are going to be updated in the near future to specifically include penalties for submitting machine generated text for credit. I note that there is also “action” out there to train AIs to recognize text generated by tools like ChatGPT - robot wars commence :smile:.

There are some “obvious” brute force solutions if it becomes a real issue for assessments, simply moving to in person essay writing in physical exam room or a viva. Hard to game either of those, but they do burn up staff time. We might end up moving to feedback only on some exercises. The dumb students will likely still try to game the system on those with an AI, but that’s a losing strategy as it does not train you to write or help you to improve as the feedback is then near useless. It would be interesting to see what an AI could do along the lines of writing a decent lab report with error analysis and conclusions based on real data. I think that’s going to be very hard to game as it requires actual insight about what things “mean”.

I am not unduly worried yet, I am old enough to recall when students first got the idea that they could cut n’ paste from the web, that was pretty easy to spot long before Turnitin came along and did some of the “look here” work for us.

Thanks, the Internet copy & paste analogy is not one I had considered so is worth remembering that wide scale Internet access and online encyclopaedia is probably less than 20 years old.
For even more context, school teachers are currently very interested in ChatGPT for how it might be able to save them time and reduce workload pressures. This might be something that is gradually normalised within school cultures but frowned upon in HE. I'd like to think that so far with new technology the story has been true the other way around.
It is better to change the written system to oral Vivas. Still the way Turnitin and other plagiarize checker helped the teachers to catch plagiarized assignments there will be AI based checking tools to detect AI written work.
Original post by Average1-2-3
It is better to change the written system to oral Vivas. Still the way Turnitin and other plagiarize checker helped the teachers to catch plagiarized assignments there will be AI based checking tools to detect AI written work.

Indeed, there already is. Edie Tian wrote one over Christmas.
Original post by 04MR17
For even more context, school teachers are currently very interested in ChatGPT for how it might be able to save them time and reduce workload pressures. This might be something that is gradually normalised within school cultures but frowned upon in HE. I'd like to think that so far with new technology the story has been true the other way around.


Im curious how you intend to implement ChatGPT/alternatives to help reduce workload pressure?

My sense on it made me think it will save students time, and increase the workload of academics & teachers.

My gut feeling was it will drastically help saving time and costs in professional industries however in education i.e. both school & university it will be vital to instil as high a quality as possible of the underpinnings of researching material, forming arguments and writing persuasive literature such that when students enter the real world they have maximum potential to harness the technology.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by gjd800
Indeed, there already is. Edie Tian wrote one over Christmas.


Thanks for sharing. I found an article on this:
https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3206581/who-edward-tian-he-wants-keep-his-gptzero-app-free-users-sniff-out-aigiarists

Whats impressive is he built the tool as a student programmer, when a company with deeper research and professional validation methods gets behind AI the tools will be much stronger.
Original post by mnot
Im curious how you intend to implement ChatGPT/alternatives to help reduce workload pressure?

My sense on it made me think it will save students time, and increase the workload of academics & teachers.

My gut feeling was it will drastically help saving time and costs in professional industries however in education i.e. both school & university it will be vital to instil as high a quality as possible of the underpinnings of researching material, forming arguments and writing persuasive literature such that when students enter the real world they have maximum potential to harness the technology.

As an example, I just asked it to design a lesson about relations between England and Wales. And it did.

Starter, teacher explanation, main task, plenary, assessment opportunities, resources needed. All listed out.

I could have done this myself (and have started to), I would have changed my mind 4 times (already changed it twice) and in total the lesson might have taken me 3-4 hours to plan from scratch. This has probably saved me an hour. Things I was considering doing, came up in ChatGPT's lesson - so that gave me the confidence to decide on them properly.
As someone else has mentioned, from a teacher perspective and currently working as one, I've found it extremeley beneficial in keeping things sturctured and giving a great lesson plan whilst saving a tonne of time. On my own I would be overcomplicating things and probably going off on a tangent not related to the lesson in the first place. I found the AI Chat is great and giving an organised structure and keeping things on track.
Original post by 04MR17
As an example, I just asked it to design a lesson about relations between England and Wales. And it did.

Starter, teacher explanation, main task, plenary, assessment opportunities, resources needed. All listed out.

I could have done this myself (and have started to), I would have changed my mind 4 times (already changed it twice) and in total the lesson might have taken me 3-4 hours to plan from scratch. This has probably saved me an hour. Things I was considering doing, came up in ChatGPT's lesson - so that gave me the confidence to decide on them properly.


Original post by angelofessence
As someone else has mentioned, from a teacher perspective and currently working as one, I've found it extremeley beneficial in keeping things sturctured and giving a great lesson plan whilst saving a tonne of time. On my own I would be overcomplicating things and probably going off on a tangent not related to the lesson in the first place. I found the AI Chat is great and giving an organised structure and keeping things on track.


I can see this. It will really help gather information, perhaps allow teachers more time to focus on methods, lesson activities & teaching style as opposed to content behind the lesson.

I think this is also a double edged sword however, & that if you can do this, therefore homework/ learning outside of a classroom will inevitably be impacted.. (which will make it more restrictive when trying to develop the raw skills as opposed to content).
I'd have buzzed off this 2 years ago doing the PGCe when I was spending 4 hours a night doing A Level lessons :lol:
Original post by mnot
Soon AI will be easily an easily accessible tool that makes writing high quality essays easy for all, ChatGPT power means that frankly lots of the research will be gathered by AI.

What does this mean for university assessments? let me know your opinions...

IMO its very possible the future will be based on students submitting AI generated essays and the skill will be in how you program AI and all assessments will with require viva examination or paper exam as it will be impossible to measure quality and student understanding via essay style coursework with this technology.

How would you feel about having to verbally defend your work or have more exams at university?


Hey!
ChatGPT and AI are new inventions which gives the opportunity for evolution. Sometime back in late nineties, internet was also released, that gave the opportunity to release plagiarism detection softwares. Similarly, soon ChatGPT and AI detection softwares will be released to protect the integrity of education. Further, there is possibility in change of pattern of exams like practical and workshop based assessments, something which AI can’t perform to the matter it being very subjective. Future holds a lots of possibilities and we just need keep evolving and upgrading our skills and knowledge.

Best Wishes
Priya:smile:
Postgraduate Ambassador
University of Southampton