I wish I had ChatGPT when I was in college. This is why

Illustration of a typing robot on a computer with notebooks and office documents on the table

Image: iStock / Getty Images Plus

After nearly three months of testing ChatGPT and it Chatbot AI spinoffsI keep coming back to the same conclusion — I wish I had this technology in college.

Here’s why.

Students go to college to develop skills that will serve them in the longer term and ultimately help them land in their dream roles. And while having the opportunity to go to college is great in the first place, there’s no denying that it’s a big time commitment.

Full-time college students typically study about 15 credit hours per semester, meaning students spend 15 hours in class each week, typically distributed over three-credit grades.

Fifteen hours a week may not seem like much, but you also have to factor in study time.

The golden ratio between study time and study time in college is 2:1. Using that rate, a student taking 15 credit hours would study at least 30 hours a week. Now, if you add up the number of hours students spend in the classroom with the time spent studying, there will be 45 hours per week in school alone.

That’s already more time than your average nine to five hour job.

Also: This professor asked his students to use ChatGPT. The results were unexpected

Students also participate in extracurricular activities and internships to become competitive candidates in the job market and graduate programs. An average internship during the school year can last from 10 to 20 hours, according to Career Recruitment. If you have an internship totaling 20 hours a week like I did, you’re at a whopping 65 hours per week.

In addition, there are personal, daily, essential tasks that need to be completed, such as laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. Mental and physical wellness activities such as Therapy and exercise also occupy a portion of a student’s day. Time is a very limited resource in college and students must use it wisely.

This is where ChatGPT can shine.

There are many instances in college where time-consuming tasks don’t really add much to your educational experience. For example, as a journalism and political science student, I wrote a weekly newspaper (I wish I was exaggerating). Most of my time is spent scouring the internet just to find sources for my articles — a task that taught me nothing.

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “How hard is that a Google search?”, but I wish it was that simple. Most of the time you click on a website and click out, only to repeat that pattern over and over. An AI chatbot connected to the internet, such as Microsoft’s New Bing with ChatGPTwould be a huge time saver.

To test this theory, I used Bing’s AI chatbot to help me source an article about the effects of gasoline on the atmosphere. Let me be clear: the chatbot didn’t give me an A+ essay at all.

Screenshot Bing ChatGPT

Image: Screenshot of Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Instead, it provides me with resources to read, analyze, and synthesize into an essay. Even using this tool, the essay is still entirely my work.

The only real change? Chatbot saves me time researching basic information.

Also: The new Bing waiting list is long. Here’s how to get earlier access

Sure, a student could ask the chatbot to write an essay, then copy and paste it, but the AI ​​isn’t smart enough to generate an A+ essay based on a prompt. The result of a student attempting to plagiarize in that way will be a low score regardless.

Ethan Mollick, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has added AI tools to his curriculum. He designated student to write an essay using ChatGPT, with at least five prompts.

The results show that, from just using a prompt, the result is always a mediocre C essay. However, by using different cues, which provide better guidance, students can fine-tune the results. Students who added user knowledge and co-edited the essay with ChatGPT produced the best results.

“Producing good AI-written documents isn’t really trivial,” Mollick said. “For an AI to be able to create meaningful content requires both subject matter expertise and skill.”

Also: ChatGPT can code. Now researchers say it’s also good at fixing bugs

And don’t forget: there are many websites dedicated to writing and selling essays that students can use to get good grades. If there is fear that students will plagiarize, the sources and temptations to do so already exist. What stops me from stealing ideas is not my lack of opportunity but my integrity.

Chatbot AI can also be especially useful in coding classes. If you’ve ever had to code, you know how frustrating it can be to not be able to figure out how the code you’re writing is preventing you from achieving the results you want.

In a political data class that required R Studio, I often struggled with the tiniest things, and after spending hours trying to figure it out by watching YouTube videos, going back to class notes, Google searches, etc., I’ll end up having to take office hours to find my answer.

With ChatGPT, I can get my answer in seconds and get on with my project — without sacrificing the quality of my learning.

Think of ChatGPT as a teaching assistant that is always available, even in the classroom.

If a professor mentions a new concept that a student is unfamiliar with during a lecture, instead of having to raise their hand in a lecture hall of 100 people, which might discourage them from asking in the first place, they might just ask ChatGPT and get a response. thorough response. ONE learn shows that ChatGPT is a better resource than Google for intermediate or advanced questions of a more complex nature due to the chatbot’s ability to provide detailed and contextual answers to the user.

Also: ChatGPT or Google: Which gives the best answer?

Another way to think of ChatGPT is a computer. In college advanced math classes, students are allowed to use calculators in class because the ability to correctly apply all equations to find the right answer is more important than performing simple calculations.

As Sid Nag, cloud services and technology analyst at Gartner, previously told ZDNET, “It’s like saying, ‘Does computer use hinder the quality of people’s ability to add one and one plus two?’ ARE NOT.”.

And yet, both primary and secondary educational institutions across the country have been taking measures to try and limit the potential negatives of using AI chatbots. For example, the New York City Department of Education, the largest school district in the country, Student and teacher access is blocked to ChatGPT on its networks.

If students want to access technology, regardless of restrictions, they will find a way to access it, whether at home, on their personal devices or even through a VPN. Banning something doesn’t necessarily make it go away — can I show how well Banning went?

Mollick says that even if he doesn’t use AI in his classroom, because it’s everywhere, his students still have access to it. And the results of AI assistance in generating project ideas are positive.

Also: ChatGPT productivity tips: Five ways to use chatbots to make your life easier

“As a result, the projects this semester are much better than the grades before AI,” says Mollick. “This has resulted in higher project success rates and more engaged teams.”

Block students from accessing ChatGPT or other Generation AI tools is just a missed opportunity for student growth, especially at the rate at which innovative AI is predicted to accelerate. Interest in AI by bots, such as ChatGPT and DALLE-2, has skyrocketed over the past few months, as seen in this Google trend chart.

Google Creative AI Trends Screenshot

Aggregated AI search term results for the past 5 years, starting February 2018.

Source: Screenshots by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Given these upward trends, it will be more valuable to teach students how to use general AI tools to accelerate their learning and growth than to protect them from it. Redirecting students’ curiosity about AI toward skilled, ethical use of technology will be more valuable to their education in the long run than banning it outright.

Even with the limited innovative AI tools currently available, students, especially college students, will be able to focus their attention on tasks that are more conducive to their learning and self-improvement. Surname. I just wish ChatGPT was there to save me time in college too.


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