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How college professors are adapting to students using Generative AI

It's no secret that technology has been revolutionizing our world, and the education field is no exception. Nowadays, it's common to see students leveraging generative artificial intelligence (AI) to help them with their assignments and exams. But what about the professors? How are they coping with this new reality? 

College professors have always been the backbone of higher education in the United States, but with the rise of generative AI, they face new challenges. As students increasingly turn to AI-powered tools to help them study and complete school project works, professors must adapt to this new reality to ensure that their students are still getting the best possible education. 

So how are college professors embracing and adapting to this brave new world of AI? Let's find out! 

Generative AI! You might have heard about it and thought, "Oh no, not another complicated buzzword in the tech world!" Don't worry, folk! We would break it down for you in a fun and entertaining way. 

Generative AI, or AI tools, is like having a robot Picasso, Mozart, or Shakespeare who can independently create art, music, or literature without human input. It's like having a genie who can grant your wishes for a specific image, sound, or text, and voila! It appears on your screen in seconds. Isn't that amazing? 

Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking. "But ChatGPT, how is this even possible? How can a machine create something without being programmed to do so?" Well, to answer your curiosity, that's where the magic of AI tools comes in. 

These AI tools use complex algorithms and machine learning techniques to learn from large datasets and generate new content matching the same patterns and styles. Think of it as a fancy digital artist who can mimic any art style and create something new and unique. 

For example, an AI system trained on a database of human faces can create new faces that look like they belong to the same family. It's like a virtual family reunion where you meet all your long-lost relatives. Cool, right? 

It is becoming increasingly popular among students as they seek to leverage it in developing content for their school work to improve their academic performance. 

College professors have recognized the potential of these AI tools and are adapting their teaching methods to accommodate students who use them. They understand that technology is here to stay and that it is their responsibility to adapt to it. They have started integrating it into their courses, assignments, and exams to help students learn better. 

However, there are concerns that these AI tools could lead to cheating and plagiarism. It is essential to maintain academic integrity, and colleges must adopt strict measures to avoid such incidents. According to a report by Quartz, OpenAI has launched an AI-powered plagiarism detector called GPTZero, which can help colleges identify and address academic dishonesty. 

The increasing cost of college tuition in the US further emphasizes the urgency for colleges to adapt to this changing landscape. According to Education Data, the average cost of college in the US, including books, supplies, and living expenses, is $35,551 per student annually. In-state public 4-year students spend $25,707 per year on average, with $9,377 for tuition. Out-of-state tuition is $27,279. Private non-profit university students spend $54,501 on average per year, with $37,641 for tuition and fees. These rising costs make it essential for colleges to embrace new technologies like generative AI to ensure students receive a high-quality education. 

Moreover, the current student debt crisis in the US adds further pressure on colleges to adapt to new technologies. According to Forbes, the total student debt in the US stands at $1.7 trillion, and the average federal student loan debt for the Class of 2021 was $37,574. Colleges must find ways to make education more affordable and accessible, and the use of AI can be a solution.

Interestingly, the rise of AI tools has also led to a shift in the hiring practices of tech companies. According to Sam Altman's tweet, tech jobs are increasingly willing to hire applicants without a degree as long as they perform well in interviews and tests. This change in hiring practices is a reflection of the growing importance of skills over formal education, and it is a trend that colleges must adapt to. 

One way that professors have embraced generative AI is by incorporating it into their course materials. They have developed algorithms that can analyze the data collected by AI and use it to create personalized learning experiences for their students. These have helped students learn at their own pace and in a way tailored to their individual needs. 

Another way that professors have adapted to the reality of students using AI tools is by developing new assessment methods. They have realized that traditional exams are no longer effective in evaluating the knowledge and skills of students who use AI. As a result, they have developed new types of assessments, such as open-book exams and collaborative assignments. 

Open-book exams allow students to use any resources they want during the test, including AI. This type of exam requires students to have a deeper understanding of the material as they are required to apply it to real-world scenarios. Collaborative assignments, on the other hand, encourage students to work together and share ideas. This assignment allows students to use AI to gather information and generate new ideas, which they can share with their peers. 

In addition to incorporating AI tools into their teaching methods, professors have also started to teach their students how to use them. They understand that the technology is complex and that students need to understand it sufficiently to use it effectively. By teaching their students how to use these AI tools, professors are helping them to become more competent in their future careers. 

One of the top professors who has already begun to explore innovative ways to integrate AI into her teaching is Terri L. Griffith from Simon Fraser University. According to Terri, here's an effective ChatGPT prompt she uses in her class:

"Create a playbook to support design thinking. Include alternatives for expert versus novice team members and teams working virtually versus face to face."

Another industry professional that has embraced AI is Kara McWilliams, head of the ETS Product Innovation Labs. The lab uses AI for learning and assessment and has even created tools to identify AI-generated answers. 

One benefit of generative AI is that it allows students to be more creative and innovative in their work. They can use the technology to generate new ideas and explore different possibilities. It has helped students to think outside the box and come up with solutions to complex problems. 

In conclusion, it's not just about the technology - it's about the people behind it. Professors are still the heart of the classroom, using their expertise and experience to guide students through their academic journeys. And while AI can help with specific tasks, it can never replace the human touch of a passionate teacher. 

So as we continue to see advancements in generative AI, let's remember that it's not about humans versus machines - it's about finding ways for the two to work together in harmony. Who knows what exciting innovations and collaborations are on the horizon? All we can do is stay curious and open-minded and see where this incredible journey takes us.