What does ChatGPT mean for students?

The first time I ever heard of ChatGPT was while researching for this article, so be patient as I explain what ChatGPT is and why it’s so controversial.

According to ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue, the model is designed to work as if you were conversing with someone. ChatGPT’s dialog format allows the site to “answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge false premises, and deny inappropriate requests.”

ChatGPT is the textbook definition of artificial intelligence, or “AI” for short. AI is the development of technology in the hope that it will be able to do things that normally only humans can do. Essentially, AI wants to give technology a brain so it can think for itself.

Many people have wondered if teachers and professors can find out if a student is using ChatGPT, and the short answer is yes.

This website can basically do all your homework for you. ChatGPT can write essays, answer math problems, and give you all the reasons why the Revolutionary War started. ChatGPT has so many different features, but that doesn’t mean it’s a reliable tool to get the job done.

But here’s what I want to know: is using ChatGPT considered cheating?

Short Answer: Yes, using ChatGPT is cheating, but there is also a long answer which I think goes into more detail on whether using ChatGPT for your duties should be considered cheating.

I think you can walk a very fine line between using ChatGPT because you’re stuck on a task and using it to write an entire essay for you. It’s a very slippery slope once you start using the site for extra help.

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ChatGPT is basically a robot that can do all your homework for you, and something like that sounds very tempting to say the least. Being in college is stressful, especially when you have a job (or several) or other commitments that are taking up your time.

Many articles have been published that have stated very clearly that using ChatGPT is cheating and can be considered plagiarism.

According to “EXPLANATOR: What Is ChatGPT and Why Are Schools Blocking It?” School districts across New York have begun blocking student access to ChatGPT. When New York blocked ChatGPT, it meant one of the largest school districts in the United States had made its move. The question that stands however is this; Will other school districts follow New York’s lead?

As a future educator, I am very aware that cheating will happen in my classroom, but I also need to be aware of what leads to cheating. School districts that have begun blocking ChatGPT may need to take a step back and ask why their students are willing to commit plagiarism rather than missing assignments.

Cheating is wrong and I don’t condone it in any way, but I think many things can make a student feel so lost and helpless on an assignment that they turn to a site like ChatGPT.

Something like ChatGPT is not a good resource. It teaches students that they can skip their assignments because there is an online bot that will do it for them.

The precise setup of ChatGPT does more harm than good, but I think the idea behind the site can be a good template for future sites. Sometimes it’s a godsend to reach your teacher or professor when you have a question, so it’s a good idea to have websites you can turn to for help.

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But ChatGPT is not a site to turn to when you get stuck. ChatGPT is a site designed to help you cheat, and when you cheat you rob yourself of your knowledge and prepare to fail in the future.

Going forward, sites like ChatGPT need to be more careful about how smart they make their AIs, because as we’ve seen so far, ChatGPT does more harm than good.

Sophie Makhoul

Sophie is a junior history and education major. In her free time she likes to cuddle with her cat, read books and write new stories.