New AI task force prepares recommendations on how college will handle ChatGPT use in the classroom – The Columbia Chronicle

Luke Martinez

By the end of this week, the college’s newly formed AI task force will send recommendations to the Provost on how to handle artificial intelligence technologies like ChatGPT in classrooms.

While no new policy is expected immediately, the college plans to offer resources explaining what ChatGPT is, how to cite it, ethical ways to use it, and also its limitations.

Stephanie Frank, associate professor of teaching in the Faculty of Humanities, History and Social Sciences and faculty representative on the task force, said her primary goal is to provide guidance to faculty and students on how to use ChatGPT “responsibly and ethically.”

“Whether you like chatbots or not… we’re navigating a new reality and what does that mean for education,” Frank said. “So the question is how do we as an institution react to this?”

Educators across the country have been grappling with how to address the growing use of artificial intelligence since ChatGPT went viral after its launch last November. The bot is part of a new generation of artificial intelligence that can write essays for users based on a prompt and even generate videos and images.

A survey of educators found that 72% of college professors are concerned about ChatGPT’s impact on cheating, compared to 55% of elementary school teachers.

For Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, professor of journalism in the Department of Communications, it is important that educators understand what ChatGPT can and cannot do.

“When you hear people getting upset about ChatGPT, a lot of teachers say, ‘Oh my god, that’s the end of the college essay,'” Bloyd-Peshkin said.

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In theory, the software could help students work on stories, write and tidy up essays, or anticipate a counter-argument for a term paper.

Despite its potential benefits: “I think we need to figure out how to capitalize on it; it will be here,” Bloyd-Peshkin said. “It’s just part of the landscape now. So how do we use it as a tool?”

Jeanne Petrolle, associate professor and interim chair of the English and creative writing department, said the department’s policy for now is to “design extremely original tasks so that no AI program can possibly develop an answer.”

Hilary Sarat-St. Peter, associate professor and director of Columbia’s Writing and Rhetoric Program, said it would be misguided for the college to ban ChatGPT altogether.

“I think these technologies exist in the world and we have a responsibility to prepare students to assess their affordability and limitations, e.g. B. what is a good ethical use of ChatGPT”, Sarat-St. Peter said.

Undergraduate Admissions associate vice president Derek Brinkley said the college is just beginning the conversation about ChatGPT, including how students can use it to write admissions essays.

“I think we’ll continue to monitor this and see if we need to make adjustments to our policies and procedures as we review applications,” Brinkley said.

Columbia requires students to submit an essay when applying to college; However, Brinkley said Admissions doesn’t just look at what students write. They also take into account a prospective student’s academic record.

“I think it’s much more useful to focus on the three or four years of work that a student did each day in their high school environment, or the work that they did at a previous college,” called Brinkley. “We really try to spend most of our time focusing on the transcript itself.”

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Students told the Chronicle that they are getting mixed reactions to ChatGPT from their teachers. Some teachers are so concerned about students using the bot to cheat that they no longer allow writing assignments to be done outside of class. Other faculty encourage their students to explore how their industries are already using it.

At her job in sales at Hippo Video, Catherine Espada, a PR major, uses ChatGPT on a daily basis.

“I think we need to evolve with that, to be perfectly honest. So. And it might be something that kind of falls away, but I think it’s always good to embrace new technology; I love it,” Espada said. “But I think it’s important to embrace and understand new technology. And even if you don’t use it, you just know it’s going to be a part of the world.”

Sophomore Music Major Skyla Blumenscheid, said she has used ChatGPT on occasion, but draws the line on classroom use.

“I personally don’t think I would ever do that [use it in an educational setting], but you can definitely see the temptation,” said Blumenscheid. “It could have many uses, but there are also many ways to abuse it.”

Blumenscheid said she used the chatbot to create songwriting prompts and found that he knows how to write a four-verse pop song.

“I think that really depends on what you’re using it for,” Blumenscheid said. “Start an outline? Perhaps. Write a research paper? Definitely not.”

After the AI ​​task force completes its initial recommendations, the Provost’s Office will provide feedback, which the AI ​​task force will then review after spring break, said Frank, a member of the faculty Senate Executive Committee.

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The college’s policies and guidelines on AI use will likely evolve over time as technology changes, Frank added.

The AI ​​Task Force consists of five faculty representatives, four staff, and two students from Columbia’s Student Government Association.

Greg Foster-Rice, Associate Provost for Student Retention Initiatives and Associate Professor in the Photography Department, said the task force is not solely focused on ChatGPT. It also examines visual image generators such as Midjourney and DALL-E.

“Our goal is to design a faculty resource page and a Provost’s Office notice to all faculty and staff so they can share some basic guidelines with students and offer a range of supports for different approaches to AI in our diverse curriculum,” Foster- Rice said in an email to the Chronicle.