ChatGPT and Teaching and Learning

ChatGPT and Teaching and Learning

ChatGPT is a chatbot, a program that simulates an online conversation using artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, and its release has higher education teaching and learning faculty, instructors and staff considering its role in and out of the classroom given the (relative) quality of its responses and potential misuse regarding academic integrity.

Or as ChatGPT will tell you, "ChatGPT is a large language model trained by OpenAI. It uses deep learning techniques to generate human-like text based on the input it receives. It can be used for a variety of natural language processing tasks, such as text completion, summarization, and question answering."

Be part of the conversation

The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment invites OHIO instructors to participate in the development of resources on this technology by:

  • Attending a panel organized to discuss implications and early adoptions of teaching strategies related to ChatGPT (Tuesday, Feb. 7, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Teams). Register here.
  • Joining a “pop-up” Faculty Learning Community to explore ChatGPT and AI in the classroom and other learning contexts. The FLC will open in February. Indicate interest by filling out this form.
  • Submitting a teaching tip (written or multimedia) sharing how you are approaching this new technology (establishing or reinforcing course policies, using ChatGPT as part of an assignment, redesigning assignments or assessments). Simply email CTLA so we can further develop this website with OHIO case studies.
  • Putting a hold on your calendar for the Spotlight on Learning conference. This year, the focus of its featured speaker, panels and presentations will be further exploration of teaching, learning and (new and not-so-new) technology. Tuesday, April 25, 9:30 to 12:30 a.m., in-person kickoff event with virtual lunchtime sessions throughout the week. 

ChatGPT and higher education

Faculty, administrators, staff and students have become increasingly aware of the potential benefits and harms this AI poses in the classroom. At the beginning of the spring 2023 semester, no other technology has garnered as much attention.

CTLA asked ChatGPT to identify the critical issues associated with the technology and the classroom. Here's ChatGPT's verbatim response (with our added bolding of text):

  1. Plagiarism: ChatGPT can generate high-quality text that may resemble original work, making it difficult for educators to detect plagiarism.

  2. Lack of originality: ChatGPT can generate text based on input, which may lead to a lack of originality in student work.

  3. Reduced critical thinking: ChatGPT can generate text based on input, which may lead to a reduction in critical thinking among students.

  4. Dependence on technology: ChatGPT may lead to a reliance on technology to generate text, which may reduce students' ability to think critically and independently.

  5. Ethical concerns: The use of ChatGPT in the classroom may raise ethical concerns about the authenticity of student work and the role of technology in education.

  6. Lack of human interaction: ChatGPT relies on a machine to generate text, which may lead to a lack of human interaction in the classroom.

  7. Inadequate feedback: ChatGPT may not be able to provide adequate feedback on student work, which may hinder the learning process.

  8. Privacy concerns: ChatGPT may be used to collect and analyze student data, which may raise privacy concerns for students and educators.

And when asked how ChatGPT might support learning, the following were outlined:

  1. Generating personalized study materials: ChatGPT can be trained to generate personalized study materials based on a student's individual learning style and needs.

  2. Providing answers to questions: ChatGPT can be used as a virtual tutor, providing answers to students' questions and helping them understand difficult concepts.

  3. Enhancing language learning: ChatGPT can be used to support language learning by generating text in different languages and providing translations.

  4. Generating creative writing prompts: ChatGPT can be used to generate creative writing prompts, helping students improve their writing skills and creativity.

  5. Supporting research projects: ChatGPT can be used to generate research proposals, summaries, and literature reviews, helping students with their research projects.

  6. Generating assessments and quizzes: ChatGPT can be used to generate assessments and quizzes, providing a personalized and adaptive learning experience for students.

Recommended by CTLA

Because this list will be updated frequently, we recommend contacting the staff at the Libraries should you need access to any of the content.

  • ChatGPT and AI: It’s always valuable to review what the developers have to say about a product. 
  • ChatGPT Advice Academics Can Use Now: This Inside Higher Ed article offers practical advice from practioners. Most important -- Don’t panic!
  • Willl ChatGPT Change the Way You Teach? from the Chronicle of Higher Education: Especially valuable are the documents shared under “Want More on AI?” 
  • Bryan Alexander’s Blog on Resources for Exploring ChatGPT and higher education: Like the CTLA website, this is a living document exploring implications and curating readings. 
  • Hard Fork by the NYT podcast on ChatGPT Transforms a Classroom. One of the most insightful commentaries on the role of this AI in the classroom comes from Cherie Shields, who teaches dual credit enrollment and high school writing courses. (But don’t worry, everybody is talking about it, just search your favorite pocasts for the topic.) 
  • National Public Radio on a ChatGPT detection app developed by a 22-year-old Princeton student. 

Approaches to ChatGPT use

Become familiar with its uses in your discipline and in your courses.

The implications of ChatGPT differ for various disciplines. Part of evaluating the value or challenge of a particular technology involves understanding how instructors and students might use it in the classroom or laboratory setting. How does ChatGPT and other AI differ from what is already available to students via the internet or in other support services and programs? How might it actually support your instruction?

Reflect on your current concerns related to teaching and learning and/or academic integrity.

What worries or excites you about this new technology from a teaching and learning standpoint? It would be helpful to list the positive and negative implications of something like ChatGPT. If your greatest concern is around academic integrity, for example, you might want to examine your graded activities and assessments for susceptibility. If you are excited about how ChatGPT can be used to evaluate aspects of student writing so you don’t have to, how can you incorporate its use into an assignment?  

Identify current assignments and assessments where students might leverage ChatGPT.

New technology that may affect how your students learn is worth considering in light of your currently planned activities, assignments and assessments.

  • Are the questions you pose in a discussion board easily answered by ChatGPT? Are they worth keeping if so?
  • Can ChatGPT or another program take multiple choice questions with great accuracy? If so, are you asking for memorization of an essential and scaffolded knowledge set? And if that is the case, how should you best test for that?
  • Do you teach coding? How might ChatGPT impact particular assignments?

Be strategic and transparent in adjustments you choose to make.

The more transparent you are in developing assignments, exams or other graded activities, the more students engage with those activities. CTLA recommends Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) frameworks to support students’ meaningful engagement with instructional activities and most effective use of technology.

Engage students in the conversation and course design around new technologies.

Ask your students about their use of AI in learning. How does it help them learn? How does it hinder their learning? How are they and their colleagues using ChatGPT? Do they have concerns about ethical use or academic integrity? Students may be the best resource for feedback on how to adjust or refine instructional strategies to support their learning.

Assess the effectiveness of new policies and instructional practices.

If you make a significant change to an instructional strategy or assignment, consider how you will assess its effectiveness. To gather student feedback on their experiences or a course policy change, a short survey or question at the end of the assignment might provide valuable information. Maybe students perform differently on an essay assignment or a set of test questions. CTLA is always here to help you strategize on how to best assess the impact of instructional change on student learning.