By Associate Professor Ts. Julian Lee Eng Kim,
Head of School,
School of Computing and Creative Media,
UOW Malaysia KDU University College, Glenmarie
Date: 11th February 2023
The buzz word on everyone’s lips, circulating and swirling around like a dizzy teenager is the news grabbing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) ChatBot named ChatGPT. Launched in November 2022 by OpenAI, an AI and research facility based in San Francisco. Before the public has any doomsday prediction or scene recollection from the Terminator movies of Skynet; a hostile AI in a post-apocalyptic world, I implore everyone who has an interest in technology to launch the AI engine, in order to experience it for themselves.
In its own description, ChatGPT is an AI powered language model using deep learning algorithms. The model is trained on a large corpus of data from the Internet, allowing it to generate contextually appropriate and coherent responses based on the input it receives. Whilst the command prompt seems harmless, thus lies the inherent issues of scepticism, as a search on the topic of ChatGPT delivers more negative than positive articles especially on how the Chatbot is able to deceive educators. In the recent study, 33% of 200 teachers K-12 teachers across America, believe that ChatGPT should be banned in schools and with 43% claiming that the chatbot will make their job more difficult.
On a local front, chatGPT has also been hotly debated amongst academics with issues of concern regarding the hindrance of critical and cognitive thinking amongst students, the ability of academics to think beyond AI, fraudulent and plagiarised materials and going as far as exacerbating the economic gap. Whilst most are legitimate concerns, some Universities have openly accepted and created guidelines for the use of the chatbot in teaching and learning.
The academics are divided and quite rightly so, there has not been a revolution in teaching and learning for decades and now this blinking cursor is supposedly questioning the role of educators in society. However, this is not the first revolutionary technology that have questioned the legitimacy of the education profession. Every generation of educators have had to re-adapt their teaching pedagogy to fit changing technological landscapes. The calculator, computers and even Google; these technologies and more infringed on the education status quo and yet educators is still a profession needed in society today.
Borrowing a concept from media, ChatGPT is a technological disruption as with media disruption that has changed the way we consume and watch media. What happened to the physical analogue mediums of recorded music, printed content when digital disruption ran riot; the industry diversified, adapted and transformed. Who is to say, education will not be dissimilar? The change has to happen through the collaboration of academics and University policy makers.
Researchers at Michigan State University’s law school and Chicago Kent College of Law found ChatGPT can pass a professional license exam, commonly referred to as “the Bar Exam,” and researchers at Yale found the chatbot earned a passing grade on the United States Medical Licensing Exam. Christian Terwiesch, a professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted a study in which he used the application to take a final exam of a core Masters of Business Administration course. He concluded ChatGPT would have received a B to B- on the exam.
Transforming the way educators assess their material will now be key; redesigning your 5-year-old assignments could reignite the pastoral passion we sorely missed through our comfortable and mundane routine. Would allowing students to use ChatGPT for assessments hinder their cognitive skills and abilities? Take for instance, in a language class; an educator would instinctively know if the written essay was derived from an AI bot or the student through a class presentation. Even with the act of AI generating the essay but the student took time and effort in summarising, preparing the presentation and understanding the contents of the essay; wouldn’t all educators agree that AI has disrupted the thought process but not the learning outcome of the class? Could the summative professional license examinations and the MBA final examinations be restructured or its unchangeable due to status quo? The question is are we willing to make the change instead of the fear of AI.
The question of authenticity and legitimacy of the content has always been floating around in creative forums where AI generated art is constantly submitted for evaluation. Whilst the model is not perfect as it uses various artistic styles; art makers will not be able to replace designers, artists, sculptors etc for the fact that this again is not the first technological revolution to face the arts community.
The willingness to adapt must come from the fraternity and community. Change is never easy because we understand through routine and process what we have to do; disruption is meant to wake you from your comfortable slumber, you may not like it but technology is only going to get more sophisticated. The teaching and learning experience is a beautiful process and it’s this process that attracted you to education. ChatGPT can explain it for you but only you can replicate that experience for your students.
Associate Professor Ts. Julian Lee was developing creative ideas as an Art Director at KHK DMB&B where he embraced the use of computers for Graphic Design with the aim of merging conventional and digital production processes. Later, he was involved as a web designer for web travel portal GettingHere.com; now a template for travel booking sites. Julian has 19 years of teaching experience in Malaysia and New Zealand; He has exhibited at St. Paul’s Gallery (2005 and 2006) and Chaumont Graphisme (2009). He is a Professional Technologist of the Malaysian Board of Technologies and was involved as a consultant for ACE Pictures Entertainment LTD.
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