Incorporating AI Chatbots Into Higher Education
In a recent article on EdSurge, a doctoral student from the University of California at Los Angeles offers an illuminating perspective on the role of AI chatbots in higher education. The author critically examines the current stance of institutions on the use of chatbots and proposes a reframing of their potential roles in the educational landscape.
The student, who is also a former teacher and editor for EdSurge, was prompted to write the article following a directive from their university equating the use of AI chatbots to “receiving assistance from another person”. The author argues against this binary approach, underlining the valuable assistance that chatbots can provide in academic settings, particularly when other human resources are not available.
Potential Roles of Chatbots in Higher Education
They suggest three potential roles that chatbots can fulfill:
- As on-campus tutors, chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT can simplify complex concepts, providing an approachable, on-demand, and free resource for students.
- As editors, they offer a free alternative to tools like Grammarly, addressing the constraints of limited hours and expertise in university writing centers.
- As sparring partners, chatbots can provide instant responses and counterpoints to an argument, aiding students in crafting more robust arguments.
However, the article is not a simple advocacy piece for AI chatbots. The author stresses the importance of responsible use and the need for effective policies that prevent misuse while enabling productive usage. One such example is an approach adopted by an adjunct professor at Villanova University, who involved students in defining an “acceptable use policy” for AI chatbots, leading to a comprehensive and balanced guideline that encourages responsible usage while forbidding misuse.
Engaging With AI Chatbots
The author’s call to action is for educators and universities to actively engage with this latest technological tool—AI chatbots—rather than dismiss them. They emphasize the importance of incorporating student voices in understanding the usage of these tools and in policy formulation, ensuring that the policies are truly reflective of the needs and realities of the campus community.
This article provides an insightful view into the nuanced role AI chatbots can play in higher education. It serves as a reminder that technology, like AI chatbots, should not be viewed in binary terms, but rather through a lens of utility and potential value-add to the educational process.
In conclusion, this thought-provoking piece on EdSurge invites us to rethink the roles of AI chatbots in education, calling for a more nuanced and student-centric approach in formulating policies governing their use. The author’s insights underscore the need for active engagement with these technologies, acknowledging their potential while also ensuring responsible usage within the academic community.