Educators Battle Plagiarism As 89% Of Students Admit To Using OpenAI’s ChatGPT For Homework
A large majority of students are already using ChatGPT for homework assignments, creating challenges around plagiarism, cheating, and learning. According to Wharton MBA Professor Christian Terwisch, ChatGPT would receive “a B or a B-” on an Ivy League MBA-level exam in operations management. Another professor at a Utah-based university asked ChatGPT to tweet in his voice – leading Professor Alex Lawrence to declare that “this is the greatest cheating tool ever invented”, according to the Wall Street Journal. The plagiarism potential is potent – so, is banning the tool a realistic solution?
New research from Study.com provides eye-opening insight into the educational impact of ChatGPT, an online tool that has a surprising mastery of learning and human language. INSIDER reports that researchers recently put ChatGPT through the United States Medical Licensing exam (the three-part exam used to qualify medical school students for residency – basically, a test to see if you can be a doctor). In a December report, ChatGPT “performed at or near the passing threshold for all three exams without any training or reinforcement.” Lawrence, a professor from Weber State in Utah who tested via tweet, wrote a follow-up message to his students regarding the new platform from OpenAI: “I hope to inspire and educate you enough that you will want to learn how to leverage these tools, not just to learn to cheat better.” No word on how the students have responded so far.
Machines, tools and software have been making certain tasks easier for us for thousands of years. Are we about to outsource learning and education to artificial intelligence? And what are the implications, beyond the classroom, if we do?
Considering that 90% of students are aware of ChatGPT, and 89% of survey respondents report that they have used the platform to help with a homework assignment, the application of OpenAI’s platform is already here. More from the survey:
- 48% of students admitted to using ChatGPT for an at-home test or quiz, 53% had it write an essay, and 22% had it write an outline for a paper.
- 72% of college students believe that ChatGPT should be banned from their college’s network. (New York, Seattle and Los Angeles have all blocked the service from their public school networks).
- 82% of college professors are aware of ChatGPT
- 72% of college professors who are aware of ChatGPT are concerned about its impact on cheating
- Over a third (34%) of all educators believe that ChatGPT should be banned in schools and universities, while 66% support students having access to it.
- Meanwhile, 5% of educators say that they have used ChatGPT to teach a class, and 7% have used the platform to create writing prompts.
A teacher quoted anonymously in the Study.com survey shares, “’I love that students would have another resource to help answer questions. Do I worry some kids would abuse it? Yes. But they use Google and get answers without an explanation. It’s my understanding that ChatGPT explains answers. That [explanation] would be more beneficial.” Or would it become a crutch?
Modern society has many options for transportation: cars, planes, trains, and even electric scooters all help us to get around. But these machines haven’t replaced the simple fact that walking and running (on your own) is really, really good for you. Electric bikes are fun, but pushing pedals on our own is where we find our fitness. Without movement comes malady. A sedentary life that relies solely on external mechanisms for transport is a recipe for atrophy, poor health, and even a shortened lifespan. Will ChatGPT create educational atrophy, the equivalent of an electric bicycle for our brains?
Of course, when calculators came into the classroom, many declared the decline of math skills would soon follow. Research conducted as recently as 2012 has proven this to be false. Calculators had no positive or negative effects on basic math skills.
But ChatGPT has already gone beyond the basics, passing medical exams and MBA-level tests. A brave new world is already here, with implications for cheating and plagiarism, to be sure. But an even deeper implication points to the very nature of learning itself, when ChatGPT has become a super-charged repository for what is perhaps the most human of all inventions: the synthesis of our language. (That same synthesis that sits atop Blooms Taxonomy – a revered pyramid of thinking, that outlines the path to higher learning). Perhaps educators, students and even business leaders will discover something old is new again, from ChatGPT. That discovery? Seems Socrates was right: the key to strong education begins with asking the right questions. Especially if you are talking to a ‘bot.
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