A Practical Agenda for Using AI in the Classroom

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Monday, May 15, 2023
By George Sammour
Photo by iStock/Irene Puzankova
Faculty can incorporate ChatGPT into their courses if they make sure that both they and their students understand its capabilities and limitations.
  • While AI tools might enable more student cheating, they also allow educators to create profound learning experiences and useful assessment strategies.
  • Instructors must ensure that students use ChatGPT ethically and responsibly, employing it as a tool that complements their own creative efforts.
  • Faculty can discourage students from misusing ChatGPT by devising assignments in which students critique the responses produced by the AI tool.

Today, we are seeing the rise of tools that use artificial intelligence to generate text that sounds like it was written by a human. One of the most recent and controversial entrants into this space is ChatGPT, which was released last year by OpenAI. When users provide prompts to the chatbot, it needs only seconds to produce answers that range from brief responses to comprehensive essays. This technology will have wide-ranging repercussions across many industries, including the field of education.

ChatGPT and similar AI-based tools present academic leaders with a host of challenges and benefits, and academic leaders need to understand both. While these tools may lead to increased plagiarism and cheating, they also offer educators opportunities to reevaluate their assessment strategies and create more profound and significant learning experiences for students.

For instance, faculty can use ChatGPT to design quizzes, create lesson plans, and even develop educational materials. Students can utilize the tool to get help with research projects—they can ask specific questions related to their topics, and ChatGPT will provide relevant information.

Although many educators are nervous about the potential negative impacts of AI tools, others have already started relying on it to help with tasks such as preparing lesson plans and writing letters of recommendation. Because ChatGPT is already part of the educational landscape, it is important that both students and faculty understand how to use it responsibly. When they do, it can lead to new opportunities for innovation, efficiency, and creativity.

At the King Talal School of Business Technology at Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) in Amman, Jordan, we wanted to explore the opportunities and challenges of using ChatGPT for education. We organized several workshops with faculty and students to discuss the possibilities of integrating ChatGPT in teaching and learning.

For example, a March 2023 workshop focused on topics such as the ethical considerations of using AI software, the advantages and limitations of its capabilities, the impact of ChatGPT on student engagement and academic performance, the use of ChatGPT as a tool to promote collaborative learning and group work, and the ways teachers could integrate ChatGPT effectively into the classroom. Furthermore, PSUT formed a specialized committee to explore ways to overcome the potential challenges of the technology, particularly amid the emergence of ethical and academic concerns.

At the same time, the university began revising its rules, regulations, and code of conduct so teachers would understand how the university views the use of AI tools in the classroom. Ultimately, we developed an action plan that serves as a resource for both faculty and students. We share some of our conclusions and recommendations here to offer insights to other schools that want to incorporate ChatGPT into their teaching strategies.

Setting Guidelines

An important first step is to make sure faculty fully understand the chatbot’s capabilities and limitations so that they are aware of its benefits as well as its potential for misuse. Before instructors bring an AI tool into the classroom, we would suggest they take the following steps:

  • Be certain that the use of tools such as ChatGPT aligns with the university’s mission and values.
  • Ensure that the use of AI tools aligns with the learning outcomes of the course and enhances student learning and engagement.
  • An important first step is to make sure faculty fully understand the chatbot’s capabilities and limitations so that they are aware of its benefits as well as its potential for misuse.
  • Communicate to students the university’s policies and guidelines for using AI in the classroom and in research activities.
  • Provide clear guidance and expectations for students on how to use the new technology to complete assignments in ethical and responsible ways.

Introducing ChatGPT to Students

That last point is complex and multifaceted. Because students are going to employ ChatGPT whether or not they perfectly understand it, instructors must educate them about its proper use. Some suggestions for how faculty can accomplish this:

  • Organize workshops and training sessions that cover acceptable ways to use AI-generated text.
  • Educate students about the capabilities and limitations of ChatGPT. Emphasize that it is not a reliable source, and it can sometimes generate text that is biased or offensive.
  • Ask students to properly reference answers provided by ChatGPT in their coursework or research. Scribbr provides examples of proper citations.
  • Teach students to use ChatGPT ethically. Review the importance of academic integrity, privacy, fairness, and accountability.
  • Emphasize that ChatGPT is a complementary tool that can assist in research, writing, and data analysis. It cannot replace human creativity and critical thinking, but it can be used to support and enhance these abilities.
  • Ask students to perform a critical review of the results they generate through ChatGPT. Have students check additional sources to make sure the ChatGPT results are accurate and reliable.
  • Advise students to use a plagiarism checker before they submit their work. This will help them guarantee the authenticity of their work.

Creating and Assessing Assignments

Faculty also can design specific assignments and exercises that will give students practice in using ChatGPT and that will offer faculty opportunities to assess student knowledge. Some ideas:

  • Ask students to write answers to essay questions and submit ChatGPT’s version of the answer alongside their own. Consider asking students to write critiques of the responses created by ChatGPT.
  • In writing assignments, require students to link course content to topics discussed in class and to their individual experiences. This will show them how challenging it is for ChatGPT to make connections between these sources of knowledge. It also will highlight the fact that they have personal knowledge that ChatGPT cannot match.
    Faculty can design specific assignments that will give students practice in using ChatGPT and allow faculty opportunities to assess student knowledge.
  • Before giving an assignment in class, run it through ChatGPT and share the results with students. Make it clear that the ChatGPT output has been saved. When students realize teachers are familiar with ChatGPT’s responses to specific questions, they will be less likely to rely solely on the AI’s answers in their own papers.
  • To discourage students from using ChatGPT, consider requiring handwritten assignments. Students still might use the platform, but at least they will have to write down what the AI has generated, which means they will learn something.
  • Create assignments that include figures, charts, or images that students must analyze before they can formulate answers. For instance, in his knowledge management systems course, Adiy Tweissi developed experimental course content to test the features and immersive experience of the metaverse using the Workrooms app in the Meta Quest VR technology. Students were exposed to the course content through the metaverse experience and were asked to write reflection papers afterward.
  • Divide written assignments into specific topics that have different due dates, and require students to combine them to complete a final submission.
  • Replace essays or written assignments with questions that require students to submit answers through podcasts, videos, figures, diagrams, or tables. Alternatively, require students to make oral presentations. For instance, Nadia Sweis developed podcast lessons that allowed students to listen to her macroeconomics course anywhere at any time. At the end of each lesson, she asked students a set of questions, and they had to submit their answers as audio files. As another example, for a management communications skills course, Ola Alhadeed developed an assessment tool that required students to produce and submit video presentations on predefined topics. Assessments were based on the presentation performance of each student in the video.

Challenges and Opportunities

New technology frequently presents challenges to educators when it is first introduced—but just as often, it presents opportunities as well. Artificial intelligence is only going to become more prevalent in the corporate world, so it’s important for students to understand how and when to use it.

The task for educators is to make sure their graduates know how to employ AI responsibly and ethically. When managers regard AI as a complement to other business tools—not as a replacement for them—they will be more creative, achieve greater efficiency, and generate more innovative solutions.

George Sammour
Associate Professor, Dean of King Talal School of Business Technology, Princess Sumaya University for Technology
The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
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