In today’s digital era, apps and AI technology have become integral parts of our lives, influencing various aspects, including education. College students, in particular, are increasingly leveraging the power of apps and AI tools to enhance their learning experience and streamline their academic journey. One such revolutionary technology is ChatGPT, an advanced language model that provides students with a wealth of information and assistance. While some may argue that these tools hinder academic integrity, there is a way for faculty to embrace them and create authentic assessments that stimulate students to develop their own original work. Let’s explore the potential benefits and strategies to foster a healthy balance between technology and academic integrity.
Benefits of Apps and AI Technology for College Students:
- Access to a wealth of knowledge: Apps and AI technology offer students immediate access to vast amounts of information, allowing them to explore diverse perspectives and deepen their understanding of various subjects. With tools like ChatGPT, students can ask questions, seek explanations, and receive helpful insights, fostering an environment of continuous learning. Much like Wikipedia, ChatGPT and other tools like it, provide students a great place to start. They can use that information as the research and expand what they get from AI.
- Personalized learning experiences: AI-powered apps can adapt to individual student needs, providing tailored suggestions, study materials, and practice exercises. This personalized approach enables students to focus on areas where they require additional support, enhancing their comprehension and retention of course material.
- Collaboration and communication: Many apps and AI tools facilitate seamless collaboration among students, enabling them to work together on projects, share resources, and exchange ideas. This fosters a sense of community, encourages peer learning, and promotes teamwork skills, vital for success in the professional world.
- Time management and organization: Apps and AI tools often include features that assist students in managing their time effectively, organizing tasks, and setting reminders. These aids can enhance productivity, reduce stress, and help students strike a balance between their academic responsibilities and personal lives.
Creating Authentic Assessments:
To ensure that the usage of apps and AI technology remains ethical and supports the development of students’ independent thinking and problem-solving abilities, faculty can adopt the following strategies:
- Clearly communicate assessment expectations: Faculty members should clearly outline their expectations regarding the use of technology during assessments. Specify the types of resources and tools students are allowed to access and the extent to which external assistance is permitted. This transparency helps students understand the boundaries while still leveraging the benefits of technology.
- Use secure testing with Respondus Lockdown Browser. The software locks the students’ computers so they can’t navigate to Google, ChatGPT, or Chegg to look up test answers. The camera monitors movements and provides a report. This helps eliminate the usage of apps like Socratic. For information on using Respondus Lockdown Browser, check out the links on our blog, Respondus Lockdown Browser | eStarkState Teaching and Learning.
- Focus on higher-order thinking skills: Quality Matters, the organization that sets the standards for online learning, suggests that classes have a variety of assignment types. This helps students who are not strong test takers or writers AND it also helps prevent a student from cheating their way through a course. Design assessments that require students to apply critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. By focusing on these higher-order thinking skills, faculty can encourage students to develop their own ideas and arguments rather than relying solely on information provided by apps or AI tools. Not sure what assessments will work well in your class? Contact the eStarkState team. They’ll be happy to collaborate with you.
- Incorporate project-based assessments: Assignments that involve current events, real-world problem-solving, research, and creative outputs foster originality and demonstrate students’ ability to apply knowledge in practical contexts. Project-based assessments encourage independent thinking and emphasize the value of students’ unique perspectives.
- Foster open discussions and debates: Encourage classroom discussions and debates where students can engage with various viewpoints, challenge assumptions, and develop evidence-based arguments. This cultivates critical thinking and helps students build their own ideas, even when utilizing AI technology.
- Provide constructive feedback: Feedback plays a vital role in guiding students’ growth and ensuring their learning experiences remain authentic. Faculty should offer specific and constructive feedback that highlights strengths and areas for improvement, helping students refine their work and promoting independent growth.
Apps and AI technology have become valuable resources for college students, offering immediate access to information, personalized learning experiences, and enhanced collaboration. While concerns about academic integrity are valid, faculty can embrace these tools by designing assessments that foster authentic learning experiences. By clearly communicating expectations, emphasizing higher-order thinking skills, and promoting independent thought through project-based assessments and open discussions, educators can strike a balance that allows students to harness the benefits of technology while cultivating their own original work. Together, faculty and students can navigate the ever-evolving landscape of education and ensure that technology is utilized as a catalyst for growth and innovation.
Blog post written with the assistance of ChatGPT.