I'm chiming in because I do think there is too much ado about ChatGPT. I think there is magnificent possibility in this tool
I teach college freshmen writing classes. You know, those general education classes that students believe they just have to get through so they can get to the good stuff: their major courses.
College faculty have contributed to the perception that ENG101 and ENG102, or whatever your course code, are necessary evils although they are quick to grumble when their juniors and seniors can't write. But that's a different story. Or is it?
I've long thought that we need to redesign ENG101 and ENG102. And I believe so even more fervently in a post-pandemic era of teaching and learning. Many students lost whatever fragile learning skills they had and college can be a very difficult place to learn how to be a learner. I speak from experience.
Just recently administrators at my college shared an article about ChatGPT and some insights. Few of us had experimented with it. It is not benign, but I don't think it is cause for as much hand-wringing as there seems to be.
On the other hand, I teach at the collegiate level and my classes are smaller than the average high school English class. Most of my students mostly want to be where they are even if they don't want to be in my class, so I'm talking now about college writing rather than high school writing.
Quite frankly, I think we can make use of this. We want students to be critical thinkers. We want them to develop and refine the skills of a critical thinker. Now, we may not agree on what it means to be a critical thinker--the internet doesn't. There could be five skills, or maybe there are ten principles. It's confusing depending on the field, but there are some fundamentals upon which most seem to agree. (Oh how I love qualifiers.)
|Thadomi Shahani Centre for Management|
- Require student reflection in their responses so there must be some sort of personal connection (text-to-self)
- Ensure assignments have some specificity such as including something from specific sources (text-to-text)
- Have students do some of their work in class and present their work in a portfolio form
Revising classwork to include ChatGPT could involve students collaborating with the chatbot throughout. In the book review assignment, for example, they could critique ChatGPT’s output and write a reflection on how and why they used the tool and where its capabilities worked and fell short. The key is that the students, rather than ChatGPT, are still in control of the assignment.
ChatGPT has the potential to unlock powerful new learning capabilities. While before, a student could only read other people’s writing, draw conclusions about their techniques and try to apply them to her own work, she can now watch her own thoughts be transformed into prose. This direct translation has the potential to teach students to be better writers.
ChatGPT can summarize complex passages for struggling readers, giving them enough of a toehold to read the original text; rephrase difficult concepts in ways that can help students relate them to their own experiences; and provide a second opinion to students on their written work. With capabilities like these, ChatGPT has the potential to be a tool that finally enables robust personalized learning at scale.
In "The Brilliance and Weirdness of ChatGPT" (Dec 2022) published in The New York Times, Kevin Roose wrote: