Teachers, students debate if AI should be allowed in college

OSWEGO, N.Y – The use of AI has been growing and students and teachers are debating whether or not it should be used in college. Students have been using AI to help them with their work but also to do their work for them. 

The most popular AI program being used is Chat GPT. Chat GPT is an online chat bot tool that will create humanlike responses based on the prompt you give it. It is used to create content like essays, news articles, social media posts, and emails.

“The whole thing started after a paper was written by a group of researchers from Google and the University of Toronto,” said Mohammad Tajvarpour, business professor at SUNY Oswego. “This paper suggested a method that could understand the meaning of the words based on the whole context.”

Many people started using the AI program to help them with their business, create computer codes, and even generate art. It also started to be used in schools to help professors. 

Students also discovered the AI program and began using it to help them with their school work. But some students also started using the program to do their work for them.

A lot of questions have been asked about AI being used in schools recently and whether it should be allowed or not. While a lot of professors support the use of AI to assist with students doing research or writing essays, they don’t support using it for doing all the work. Students are using the program to do their work for them and a lot of teachers are considering it cheating. 

“I think students could use Chat GPT when they are researching for their papers,” said Juliet Giglio, professional screenwriter and writing professor at SUNY Oswego. “But when they write their arguments and do the actual writing, the words should be their own. However, it’s going to be difficult to be that disciplined.  I see a hard road ahead for professors who are grading analytical papers.”

But can teachers detect if students use this? The program generates human-like responses so it is hard to detect if it’s AI. But it’s not totally accurate because sometimes the responses can come out sounding unnatural and end up sounding like a machine.

Professors can also detect it if the students’ work does not sound like them at all. The prompt they submit from the program can sound nothing like the student’s previous work and that raises red flags for professors.

“It’s kind of easier to tell than it seems,” said Robert O’Connor, creative writing professor at SUNY Oswego.“ At least with the AI’s now there doesn’t seem to be a person behind it and so part of what you look for in fiction is the connection between the writer and the reader and there doesn’t feel like there’s a person there.”

There is also a debate about whether using Chat GPT is considered plagiarism. Students just copy and paste the prompts for their work and that creates the debate for plagiarism. Chat GPT also does not cite the sources where it got its information from.

“If using Chat GPT is similar to plagiarizing, then yes, students should be penalized,” said Giglio. “However, if it’s being used for research purposes, then no.”

However some professors are welcoming the use of AI in classes. They think that the program is an excellent tool and that it should be used a lot more as a resource for both students and professors.

One professor is even teaching a class about how AI can be used to help with businesses at SUNY Oswego. The class is called Chat GPT for Business and it is taught by professor Mohammad Tajvarpour. In this class students are able to learn the potential AI has to offer when it comes to business. 

“That course is designed in three modules, in the first module what we do is we go over the fundamentals like what is a large language model, what is the data set that was used to train Chat GPT, what are the biases, what are the errors and ethical aspects of using AI,” said Tajvarpour. “The second module we discuss is prompt engineering. After the second module I give my class a case to study, they have to do a marketing campaign to hire someone.” 

It is very likely the use of AI will grow. Its popularity is rapidly growing so everyone is going to be seeing a lot more AI. 

“I think that society as a whole will definitely use more AI, I think schools will as well,” said Ulises Mejias, communication professor at SUNY Oswego. “I know we’re already using it for chatbots that students could talk to to express concerns about their mental health or about financial aid.”