Designing Assignments In The ChatGPT Era

Designing Assignments In The ChatGPT Era
AI (Artificial Intelligence), specifically ChatGPT, poses some serious challenges for teachers. We explore the importance of teaching students how to attribute the work and ideas of others.

Susan D'Agostino's article in Inside Higher Ed, Designing Assignments in the ChatGPT Era, got me wondering how teachers will handle their students' use of ChatGPT. ChatGPT is so easy to use and its answers so precise that it's inevitable that ChatGPT's answers will show up in essays and term papers. That's fine as long as students attribute their answers to ChatGPT as they must do with any source. However, our digitally adept young people will find workarounds to make ChatGPT's work appear to be theirs. I hate to be cynical, but that's the way things work.

Here are some suggestions on how to design assignments in the ChatGPT age.

Use pop quizzes frequently.

Pop quizzes are a valuable tool on many levels. With a group of students you know well, a pop quiz allows you to spot-check retention and identify material that needs to be retaught or explained. As you do with all your teaching materials, design your pop quizzes, so they are systematic and comprehensive. While informal oral quizzes can be effective, a written pop quiz provides the documentation you will need if a dispute over ownership of the answers arises.

I asked ChatGPT the best way for a teacher to use pop quizzes. Here's the answer:

Pop quizzes can be a useful tool for teachers to assess students' understanding of material and ensure that they are paying attention in class. Here are some best practices for using pop quizzes effectively:

  1. Use pop quizzes regularly: Regular pop quizzes can help students stay engaged and on track, as they know that they need to be prepared for a quiz at any time.
  2. Make the quizzes brief and to-the-point: Pop quizzes are meant to be quick assessments, so keep the questions focused and concise.
  3. Vary the format of the quizzes: Mix up the format of the quizzes to keep students on their toes. For example, you can use multiple choice, true/false, or short answer questions.
  4. Give immediate feedback: After the quiz, go over the answers and give students feedback on their performance. This can help reinforce the material and highlight any areas where students may need further support.
  5. Use pop quizzes as a formative assessment: Pop quizzes should be used to gauge students' understanding of the material and inform future instruction, rather than as a high-stakes evaluation.
  6. Be fair and transparent: Let students know in advance when you plan to give a pop quiz, and be transparent about the purpose of the quiz. This can help build trust and reduce anxiety among students.

By following these best practices, pop quizzes can be a valuable tool for teachers to assess student understanding and support their learning.

ChatGPT's answer demonstrates the power of this AI tool. Its answers are authoritative and expressed idiomatically. For example, I have asked it questions about some obscure, highly-specialized topics in the classical music field. While ChatGPT thought for a few minutes before answering, its answers were accurate. That underscores the importance of teaching students how to attribute work that is not their own.

This video offers a ChatGPT tutorial for teachers.

Teach students how to attribute.

Before ChatGPT arrived, students used Wikipedia for answers. It is so easy to copy and paste material from Wikipedia. And it's even easier to rephrase Wikipedia's information as your own without attributing the source. That's why teachers have spent countless hours teaching the importance of attributing work that is not theirs. Students may think that not attributing material is harmless or that everybody does it, but if it becomes a habit, not attributing the work of others can come back to haunt you later in life. We've all heard about people in the public eye who have been caught plagiarizing. Being found guilty of plagiarizing somebody else's work may not necessarily land you in prison, but it is unethical, unprofessional, and possibly illegal.

Because stealing somebody else's work or ideas starts at an early age, I asked ChatGPT if plagiarism could become a habit. Here's the answer.

Yes, plagiarism can become a habit if a person consistently engages in the act of using someone else's work or ideas without proper attribution. Habit formation often occurs when a behavior is repeated frequently and becomes automatic or unconscious.

However, it's important to note that plagiarism is not only a habit, but also an unethical and potentially illegal act. Using someone else's work or ideas as your own can have serious consequences, such as loss of credibility, decreased trust, and potential legal action.

It's essential to educate students and others about the importance of academic integrity and the proper ways to cite and reference sources. By promoting a culture of honesty and originality, individuals can avoid the harmful habit of plagiarism and build a foundation of trust and respect in their academic and professional lives.

Back to the article from Inside Higher Ed. The following expresses the essence of teachers' and parents' challenges with AI.

When Boris Steipe, associate professor of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto, first asked ChatGPT questions from his bioinformatics course, it produced detailed, high-level answers that he deemed as good as his own. He still encourages his students to use the chat bot. But he also created The Sentient Syllabus Project, an initiative driven by three principles: AI should not be able to pass a course, AI contributions must be attributed and true, and the use of AI should be open and documented.

I couldn't agree more. AI should not be able to pass a course; rather, AI should be a tool that we use to help us understand the material being taught. Learning to attribute the work and ideas of others is critical. The is certainly no shame in using AI or any other sources as long as we do so honestly.

This video shows students how to use ChatGPT.

When I was a youngster, I loved encyclopedias. I spent hours pouring over them, absorbing information about all kinds of things like a sponge. I can only imagine what young people today can do with AI. It is a remarkable tool. Ignore it at your peril. Embrace it. Teach how to use it properly and effectively.

Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @privateschoolreview

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