1. AI Episode 1: Intro to Artificial Intelligence in Teaching
  2. AI Episode 2: What Does An AI Teaching Assistant Look Like?
  3. AI Episode 3: Implications for Thought Leaders and Policy Developers
  4. Introducing Simulations into Teacher Preparation Programs
  5. Assistive Technology to Support Writing
  6. Enhancing Instruction and Empowering Educators with AI Tools and Technology
  7. So, AI Ruined Your Term Paper Assignment?
  8. Step by Step Use of Chat GPT
  9. CIDDL ChatGPT: Summarizing Text
  10. CIDDL ChatGPT: Solving Multiple Choice Questions
  11. Equity, Diversity, and Access to Technology in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

So, AI Ruined Your Term Paper Assignment?

Authors: James D. Basham, Ph.D., Angelica Fulchini Scruggs, Ph.D., and Eleazar Vasquez, Ph.Dinfo@ciddl.org

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made headlines since the release of ChatGPT at the end of 2022.  This technology has definitely changed the game for the future of writing. To this end, higher education and K-12 school faculty throughout the land cried foul because it ruined their course term papers, automatic answering of multiple-choice tests, or writing of any basic writing prompt. The resolution to this problem varies with most electing to ban the technology however, this is not a viable solution. 

Banning AI is similar to banning the use of word-processing software in the early 1990s. That is, it may work for a bit of time but is impossible to continue over time. Additionally, banning a technology that can enhance human performance has longer-term implications for learners, especially those with disabilities. Think about how an instructor might truly ban AI writing support. If the student has access to the internet, ChatGPT or OpenAI is available for use. Given that someone can use AI to partially write a paper, or develop an initial draft and then edit it, the only way to ban the use of AI is the ban the use of the internet, digital writing technology, and computers. Basically, pushing the students back to pen and paper. Thus, accessible text, spellcheck, speech-to-text, text-to-speech, and so on would be lost. More generally, pushing students back to pen and paper is an inauthentic real-world application.  

Fortunately, AI technology is not perfect yet. The use of AI has already demonstrated inconsistency in producing quality papers. The current AI has noted issues with writing including making up information to complete the prompts. Remember AI is a computer-generated output based on human inputs. For example, AI will falsify APA citations, with made-up DOI, for supporting the AI’s academic argumentation if it’s asked to support it with citations. Understanding the larger implications of an AI falsifying information is terrifying. But the AI’s flaw is a win for knowledgeable humans. Specifically, you can grade your term papers looking to identify the misinformation. This said, grading papers to the level wherein you are checking APA citations may change the way people grade. Currently, there are some quickly developed software solutions (see future posts) for testing whether a paper was written by AI. However, the accuracy of these AI testing systems is unknown at this time. Nonetheless, changing your grading process and using systems to check human authenticity might serve as an immediate solution.  

Similar to humans, AI will also improve its performance. Hopefully, new rules will be put into place to overcome the issue of AI spreading misinformation. So, if it has not done it already, AI may still ruin your term paper. Obvious big questions exist, such as what kinds of policies should universities and K-12 schools put in place? How do educators change the way in which writing is taught? How will AI impact research dissemination? These are things CIDDL would like to discuss further but for now, here are suggestions for help with your term paper assignment.

Define the Goal

Before overcoming the obstacles of AI, it’s important to define the learning goal.  What are you attempting to measure? What is the term paper measuring? What are some other ways those things might be measured? If you’re not familiar you might consider how Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can change the way you are measuring student learning. 

Overcoming Obstacles Introduced by AI

  • As introduced earlier, continue with the term paper, do more intensive checking for factual information, and make sure the citations are real. 
  • Have the student actually write the paper (or parts of it) with an AI and then go through and edit the work. If AIs provide misinformation, then make that part of the learning process. Support your students’ appropriate use of the AI by editing the drafts provided by the AI. Have them play the role of an editor, even submitting annotated drafts.
  • Have the students correct the AI in annotated presentation or video. Similar to editing, have the students have the AI write a paper, then present what was correct or incorrect about what AI wrote. 
  • As a faculty member, use the AI to develop case studies, then have your students respond to the case study in multiple forms (e.g., writing, video, presentation). 
  • Have the students use an AI to develop a case study, then score and edit the case studies on authenticity. Once scored on authenticity have students respond to the case study. 
  • Forgo the term paper and have the students completely respond in alternative forms to writing. Students can develop presentations and annotated videos that provide similar information as your paper.
  • What are your ideas? Share with the CIDDL Community.  

Spread the Word

What other AI-powered applications or tools do you use to improve teaching? Join the CIDDL community and keep the conversation going

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