Professors now fear that ignoring or discouraging the use of AI “will be a disservice to students and leave many behind when entering the workforce,” reports CNN:
According to a study conducted by higher education research group Intelligent.com, about 30% of college students used ChatGPT for schoolwork this past academic year and it was used most in English classes. Jules White, an associate professor of computer science at Vanderbilt University, believes professors should be explicit in the first few days of school about the course’s stance on using AI and that it should be included it in the syllabus. “It cannot be ignored,” he said. “I think it’s incredibly important for students, faculty and alumni to become experts in AI because it will be so transformative across every industry in demand so we provide the right training.”
Vanderbilt is among the early leaders taking a strong stance in support of generative AI by offering university-wide training and workshops to faculty and students. A three-week 18-hour online course taught by White this summer was taken by over 90,000 students, and his paper on “prompt engineering” best practices is routinely cited among academics. “The biggest challenge is with how you frame the instructions, or ‘prompts,'” he said. “It has a profound impact on the quality of the response and asking the same thing in various ways can get dramatically different results. We want to make sure our community knows how to effectively leverage this.” Prompt engineering jobs, which typically require basic programming experience, can pay up to $300,000.
Although White said concerns around cheating still exist, he believes students who want to plagiarize can still seek out other methods such as Wikipedia or Google searches. Instead, students should be taught that “if they use it in other ways, they will be far more successful….” Some schools are hiring outside experts to teach both faculty and students about how to use AI tools.
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