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Dawson AI guiding College through challenges of Chat GPT

At this point, you’ve surely heard of ChatGPT, the A.I. text generation system developed by OpenAI. Perhaps you are even a little sick of hearing about it already!

For better or worse, ChatGPT and its soon to be released, much more powerful cousin GPT-4, will have dramatic consequences for higher education. Members of the Dawson A.I. Initiative have already offered and will continue to organize various activities and workshops for faculty, staff and students at the College to map out the constructive uses and concerning challenges that these machine learning/text generation systems pose.

Fellows of the Dawson A.I. Teaching Community of Practice started off 2023 with a well-attended workshop entitled How will Generative A.I. Reshape the College Classroom? during the Intercollegiate Ped Days. A.I. and Fellows have since been busy giving smaller department-specific workshops for faculty since the beginning of the term. Here is a rundown of recent and upcoming activities organized by the Dawson A.I. Initiative regarding ChatGPT.

Reassessing assessment
One of the biggest concerns with systems like ChatGPT is the ability they have to create believably human-sounding text, and with that the spectre of students using it to write their assignments and “cheat” in a potentially untraceable way.

While there are “A.I. detectors” (see links here and here) currently available that faculty can use to check student submissions, they are not yet very dependable. Turnitin is also developing solutions for dealing with A.I.-generated text, which you can read about here.

Workshops for faculty and staff
Dawson A.I. Fellows have been offering department-specific workshops for faculty since the beginning of the term to demonstrate how students might abuse ChatGPT in various disciplines, and how well the detectors are able to spot such academic misconduct.

So far, A.I. Fellows have given such workshops to the Humanities, English, and French departments. (Please note that any departments interested in a discipline-specific workshop are welcome to contact Robert Stephens to set something up.) Additionally, demonstrations on the capabilities of ChatGPT have also been given to members of Dawson’s administration and management, and we expect discussions will be ongoing regarding how Dawson academic misconduct policies may potentially need revising in the wake of a new sort of plagiarism.

WID workshops
DawsonA.I. has also teamed up with Writing in the Disciplines (WID) to begin an ongoing series of workshops of redesigning and rethinking writing assignments in light of text generators. The first workshop, Rethinking Writing in the Age of AI, which was held March 9, focused on the motivation for and expectations of writing assignments in classes more generally, and future iterations of the series will focus on the role text generators can and will play in this.

Finally, be on the lookout for a Faculty Hub workshop later this term specifically on the subject of reassessing assessment in the wake of text generation.

(How not to) Rage Against the Machine Learning
The impact technology like ChatGPT will have on higher education need not be entirely negative, of course: these are powerful tools that can be used in creative and constructive ways, and Dawson A.I. is offering some opportunities to explore the constructive and creative potential of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT session at DawsCon
This Friday, March 24, at 2:30, Dawson A.I. will be hosting a ChatGPT Workshop and Roundtable Discussion as part of DawsCon, in room 3F.38. This will be an interactive session with demonstrations from faculty already using ChatGPT in the classroom, and we welcome ideas and suggestions from the community. We will explore the potential together in a workshop setting. Registration for DawsCon can be found here.

Jailbreak Challenge
Also in association with DawsCon, this week will feature a ChatGPT “Jailbreak” competition which will be a fun opportunity to play with the limits of ChatGPT: the goal being to try and creatively prompt ChatGPT away from the “guardrails” that have been put in place to constrain its responses to the realm of the sensible, and get it to do something outrageous, or hilarious, or ridiculous. Students are invited to register for the competition by Thursday, March 23 at 12 p.m., and the competition will take place Friday, March 24 at 12 p.m.

Looking ahead
GPT-4 is slated to debut at any moment, and so far it looks to be quite a bit more powerful. As soon as it is released, Dawson A.I. will host some workshops to acquaint those interested with whatever new features and powers it has, and how these may affect College life. Other things to look forward to include a creative workshop run in conjunction with S.P.A.C.E., which will engage students in a project/challenge using both text and image generation tools.

And of course, we look forward to presenting the portfolios of the current cohort of A.I. teaching Fellows, which are being finalized and will appear on the Dawson A.I. Portfolio page in the coming weeks.

These portfolios will be full of both general and discipline-specific resources for how to incorporate A.I.-themed content into classes. Look forward to seeing the work of: Ellie Bodzay (Computer Science), Caroline Chochol (Psychology), Brian Redekopp (Humanities/Philosophy), Annie-Hélène Samson (Biology) and Yoon-Seo Uh (Chemistry).

Last Modified: March 22, 2023