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ChatGPT as a Force For Good in Higher Education

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the landscape of higher education, from personalised learning plans to authentic assessments and enhanced student feedback. However, to harness the potential of AI, it is essential to understand its limitations, address inequities, and use it creatively and responsibly. The conversation about AI in higher education is playing out on a global stage and the opportunity to learn from one another is moving us all forward.

So when the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in the UK (QAA) invited me to join their event ‘ChatGPT: How do I use it as a force for good?” of course I said ‘Yes! I’d love to!’

In this article, I summarise several key messages shared at the event and explore the ways in which AI, particularly ChatGPT, can be used as a force for good in education, highlighting its potential, limitations, and ethical considerations.

To create this article, I experimented with a cool new AI tool, which I’ll tell you about at the end.

Watch the full presentation of the QAA event below, and visit the QAA YouTube channel for more great educational content.

Maximising ChatGPT’s Potential in Education: Creative Usage and Understanding of Limitations

To use ChatGPT effectively in education, educators and students should be aware of the limitations of AI.

Perhaps the greatest (current) limitation of ChatGPT is its ability to generate untruths or ‘hallucinations’, which means that the output generated should not be trusted, and must be reviewed before being used in any educational context.

To maximise the potential of ChatGPT, we can use it creatively by providing detailed prompts with specific objectives, contextual information, and constraints. By doing so, educators and students can use ChatGPT for brainstorming ideas, generating content for presentations or articles, and proofreading. For example, a teacher can provide a detailed prompt asking students to generate ideas for a research paper on a particular topic. ChatGPT can be used to generate a list of possible topics, which can then be refined and selected by the teacher and students.

Another example of using ChatGPT creatively in education is to use it as a tool for proofreading and providing feedback on written work. When students submit written work, teachers can use ChatGPT to rephrase sentences and improve the clarity of their feedback. This way, students can receive more accessible and actionable feedback, leading to improvements in their writing.

Addressing Inequities and Enhancing Transparency in Education

Inequities in AI can perpetuate existing biases and inequalities in education, which can be particularly harmful to marginalised or underrepresented students. Therefore, it is essential to recognise the inherent biases in AI and the inequalities in the data sets that it uses. In addition, the inaccessibility of AI in some countries can widen the digital divide, further exacerbating inequities in education.

Transparency is also a crucial aspect of using AI in education. Educators should be transparent about how AI is used in the classroom, how it impacts student learning, and what data is being collected.

Redefining plagiarism is another essential aspect of fostering metacognitive learning with AI. Instead of focusing solely on the originality of a student’s work, educators can use AI to evaluate the quality of the writing, encouraging students to produce high-quality work.

Understanding AI and its limitations can help educators to use AI effectively.

Educators will need to balance the use of AI with the needs of individual students. Building trust between educators, students, and AI is essential for the effective use of AI in the classroom. 

Finally, imagining the future of AI in education can help educators anticipate new challenges and opportunities and create a more equitable and effective educational system.

AI as a Tool for Feedback, Instruction, and Inclusivity

ChatGPT has immense potential in education, but its effectiveness depends on the quality of the prompts used. Good prompts can yield better outputs and help educators and students use ChatGPT to its full potential.

One way to use ChatGPT in education is as a tool for student feedback. By rephrasing and improving the clarity of teachers’ feedback, AI can make feedback more accessible and actionable for students. This way, students can receive feedback targeted to their needs.

To avoid copyright concerns, teachers should paste their own feedback into AI platforms, rather than students’ work. This way, they can ensure that the feedback generated by ChatGPT is based on their input and expertise, rather than on the students’ work, or potential ChatGPT hallucinations.

AI can also be used as a conversational tool and an instructional resource to help students learn new skills.

For example, AI-powered chatbots can be used to provide instant feedback to students, answer their questions, and help them learn at their own pace. Additionally, AI can help educators create personalised learning plans for individual students, taking into account their strengths, weaknesses, and learning preferences.

However, addressing the digital divide and ensuring all students have access to AI tools is crucial for equitable education. Schools and educational institutions will need to think about how they provide access to AI tools and training to all students, regardless of their socio-economic background. This way, students from disadvantaged backgrounds can benefit from AI’s potential to enhance their learning experience and improve their academic outcomes.

The Role of AI in Academic Publishing and Assessment: Ensuring Responsible Use and Promoting Authenticity

AI can be a valuable tool in assessments by encouraging educators to emphasise authentic assessments. Educators can contribute to ensuring that AI is used to enhance the learning experience and improve student outcomes, rather than as a replacement for authentic assessment methods.

Recognising the need for regulation, responsible use, and balancing the benefits of AI with its environmental and energy costs is crucial for long-term success. The energy consumption of AI models and their impact on the environment are areas of growing concern, and it is important to address these challenges to ensure the sustainable use of AI in education.

Moreover, AI may lead to a two-track world in academic publishing, where academics should focus on conducting meaningful research rather than abusing AI’s potential to increase productivity. While AI can assist in peer review and research, authenticity and academic integrity must be maintained to avoid potential ethical concerns.

Conclusion

In conclusion, AI has the potential to transform higher education and make it more accessible, personalised, and equitable. However, to use it as a force for good, we must recognise its limitations, address inequities, and enhance metacognitive learning with AI.

By harnessing the potential of ChatGPT, educators can use AI as a tool for student feedback, rephrasing and improving the clarity of teachers’ feedback, and generating tailored and useful results for lesson plans, assessments, and activities.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, consider signing up to my newsletter ‘T3’, where I share tips, tricks, and tools on AI + Technology for the higher education sector.

Bonus! Cool AI tool

So… about that AI tool that I mentioned in the introduction.

YouTube Digest is a free Chrome browser extension that integrates with YouTube to summarise video content.

You can use it to:

  • Summarise the video into a paragraph,
  • an article,
  • a set of bullet points, or
  • a set of titled sections.

I created this article by using the tool to first generate an article summary of QAA’s uploaded video. Then, I cut and pasted that article summary into ChatGPT and went about expanding the article using custom-designed prompts I wrote. Finally, I edited the text before uploading it to my website.

Pretty cool. And, bonus, it’s free!

I can see potential uses for this tool in my teaching. For example, creating educational articles to accompany YouTube videos shared with my students.

Learn more about the summarisation tool on their YouTube channel.

Another similar tool is YouTube Summary with ChatGPT.

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