ChatGPT, Generative AI are Wake Up Calls for Higher Education

Generative Artificial Intelligence (Generative AI) is an emerging technology that is changing the dynamics of higher education. It utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create new content from existing data and uses machine learning algorithms to analyze large datasets and generate insights based on what it learns.

ChatGPT is a product of OpenAI and is an example of Generative AI. GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. ChatGPT reached 100 million users within months of the latest versions being launched. Its impact on higher education has been divisive with a number of universities banning it over fears of plagiarism in essays and exams. Such fear is a product of the little knowledge that institutions currently have only about Generative AI per se but, most importantly, about how this tool can be used to advance education to the next level. Meanwhile, a great number of forward-thinking students, academics, and researchers have welcomed this latest technological development which, like it or not, belongs in the future of higher education.

Generative Artificial Intelligence does not threaten academic integrity. Instead, in addition to being a time saver it is a much-needed wake up call for higher education leaders and faculty to fundamentally re-examine pedagogical approaches and assessment tools. It is the beginning of a fundamental change that can not and must not be stopped. Generative AI is yet another tool that must be accepted and adopted. Higher education must better prepare to adapt to the continued advances in AI. However, before that, higher education must defeat its fear of the unknown and embrace the current unprecedented change in the way teaching and learning was understood before. 

The use of Generative AI in higher education has many potential benefits; the following are just a few.

Generative AI for assessment: Generative AI can be used to automate assessment processes such as grading multiple-choice tests much faster than manual grading methods while ensuring accuracy and reducing teacher workloads significantly as well. AI can also generate questions for quizzes or exams automatically from an article provided by the teacher, the system could create the questions related to different aspects of the topic. This approach helps ensure students receive assessments tailored specifically for their needs while reducing teacher workloads.  

Generative AI for generating resources: Generative AI can also be used to generate learning materials such as worksheets and online activities. By leveraging Natural Language processing (NLP) algorithms, AI systems can automatically create resources based on a given input. It could even go further and suggest other topics or activities that are relevant to the subject matter in order to provide students with more comprehensive learning experiences.

Generative AI to support personalized learning: Generative AI can be used to personalize content for students based on their interests and needs. AI systems can analyze large datasets of texts and identify topics that are relevant to each student’s learning goals and areas of interest. This helps ensure they get personalized material tailored specifically for them while helping faculty save time by avoiding having to manually create resources from scratch. AI could be used to provide feedback on student work in real-time by quickly identifying common errors or mistakes within the submitted material. If a student is writing an essay about a particular topic, the system could detect issues and suggest corrections before submission, serving as a teaching tool during the process and contributing to increased information retention.

Generative AI in higher education is still in its infancy. However, the sooner institutions realize the benefits of this emergency technology for both students and faculty the bigger the chances to defeat the fear of the unknown and unleash one of the most promising tools that has ever entered the classroom.  

For more articles on ChatGPT, Generative AI, and AI in higher education see:

Presence of AI Content Detector Impacts Student Usage

ChatGPT: Reimagining Assessment in Higher Education

Artificial Intelligence to Play Instrumental Role in the Future of Higher Education