What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is the term to describe the creation of computer systems that are capable of carrying out tasks that traditionally require human intelligence. AI is used in a wide range of fields, including healthcare, finance, and entertainment. It is developing quickly and altering how we live and work―but most importantly, it is changing the way we learn.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a computer application that can communicate with human beings in real-time. It uses artificial intelligence to comprehend or interpret what you say and responds like a human. ChatGPT can be used in a variety of ways, such as to provide information, answer questions or chat back and forth―hence the name. It has been trained on just about all material from the internet.
ChatGPT in academia: Is the future artificial?
This semester, I am studying abroad in Florence Italy where my classes consist of wine tasting, Italian cooking, and fashion. To say the least, ChatGPT is the last thing I think I would ever need to succeed. In fact, I did not even know it was gaining in popularity until I FaceTimed a friend from home. She told me she had not once written an essay, without its help, this semester. I thought how could this be? This cannot be a real thing. But it is very real. In January 2023, ChatGPT reached over 100 million users, making it the fastest-growing consumer application to date.
Thinking about the pros of ChatGPT in academia
- Research Assistance: ChatGPT may help academics locate relevant research papers, summarize publications, or provide quick information on a variety of topics, possibly saving them time and energy in the process of information retrieval.
- Idea Generation: ChatGPT can be used as a brainstorming tool to help generate new research ideas, explore different perspectives, or maybe even assist in developing hypotheses for experiments.
- Language Support: It may assist academics in honing their writing abilities by offering recommendations for sentence construction, grammar usage, and vocabulary selections, perhaps resulting in more professional and coherent academic writings.
- ChatGPT can converse in numerous languages, potentially assisting researchers in language translation projects or enabling them to work with intellectuals from various linguistic backgrounds.
- Teaching Aid: Academics may be able to utilize ChatGPT as a teaching tool to create sample questions, offer explanations, or set up interactive practice sessions.
- ChatGPT can conceivably serve as a virtual assistant for academics, helping deliver productivity support and organizational assistance as they manage their calendars, create reminders, or retrieve information.
These are just a few of the many positive things that I think ChatGPT can offer in academia and how it could change the dynamic of higher education.
Using ChatGPT in academia to study
ChatGPT may be used to help students study. When used correctly, I believe it can be just as helpful as some learning apps.
- Students can ask ChatGPT to give them a brief explanation or examples of a difficult concept or topic to possibly help in grasping it.
- ChatGPT can generate practice questions based on a certain subject or topic. Students could use these questions to gauge their understanding and practice answering.
- ChatGPT can produce questions and prompts to turn into flashcards and quizzes.
- In a group study environment, ChatGPT may be able to act as a conversation buddy. Study sessions could become more engaging as students can discuss the subject matter, swap ideas, and ask questions.
How can you, as a student, use AI to help you rather than harm you academically?
The first step is to get out of the mindset that ChatGPT in academia can only be used as a cheating tool. The idea is to use ChatGPT as a study tool and to support your own learning. Instead of relying on ChatGPT’s responses, it’s crucial to use your own understanding and critical thinking. Just like most things in life… use it in moderation, so you do not depend on it. After all, AI is not going away, so we should become familiar with it and learn to use it to our advantage.
About the author: Chloe Adamowicz is a Marketing student at the Isenberg School of Management and a Cengage Student Ambassador
Generative AI is an evolving area in higher education. How do you consider dealing with it as a faculty member? Check out our Empower Educator webinar “Embracing the Power of Generative AI” to discover first-hand experiences, insights and concerns from our grassroots panel. Plus, watch out for our Empowered Educator Virtual Conference coming in February.