Artificial intelligence can be a powerful learning tool for college students, providing resources that make studying and completing assignments more accessible.
“Technology is constantly revolutionizing the way we learn, and the impact it has on education is undeniable,” said Mark Billington, director of the Center for Research Education and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) at Nebraska Methodist College (NMC).
While artificial intelligence platforms, like ChatGPT, are getting a reputation for writing essays in seconds, students can use them ethically.
Using artificial intelligence in higher education can help with student success and give faculty another resource to support different learning styles.
“The reality is that this technology is going to rapidly evolve, so students and faculty will need to create more learning opportunities centered around multimedia products that demonstrate innovation and creativity,” said Heather Henrichs, arts and sciences professor at NMC.
“There’s an opportunity for more personalized learning, allowing students to use AI to bridge learning gaps in real-time. A future goal for all of us should be maintaining focus on emotional intelligence while embracing the healthy uses of AI.”
Maintaining Academic Integrity Using AI
Students must maintain academic integrity when using an AI tool for college assignments - using artificial intelligence tools like chatbots to generate ideas or as a learning tool, not to complete assignments.
ChatGPT, launched in fall 2021 by an artificial intelligence research group, creates detailed responses to questions and prompts, according to CNN Business. The chatbot has been used to draft research papers, violating academic integrity policies.
Academic integrity violations include cheating, collusion or complicity, falsification or fabrication, misrepresentation and plagiarism.
“As a student, if you're using a chatbot to write your paper, you may be accused of cheating, plagiarism and lack of academic integrity. The consequences of this can be severe and include expulsion, loss of transcripts and the forfeiture of tuition and fees,” Billington said.
“Not only that, students are cheating themselves out of the opportunity to learn and grow. Assignments are meant to help students understand a topic, learn how to learn and think for themselves. These are essential skills for any student to master if they want to advance in their career.”
Henrichs said students should be aware that AI tools can utilize an algorithm similar to search engines, which can increase bias or focus on a topic.
“It has been recognized that AI apps or software can demonstrate bias. Students need to be sure to screen, read and recognize items generated that are showing implicit bias,” Henrichs said. “There also appears to be limitations to historical context with AI, which means it’s not capable of making proper correlations or even timelines.”
Using Artificial Intelligence as a Learning Tool
Artificial intelligence can be an innovative learning tool, helping students improve their writing or study more effectively.
“By creating personalized study guides, students can learn the material more efficiently and effectively,” Billington said. “They can also dig deeper into the areas of their own interest.”
College students can use artificial intelligence to:
Generate ideas or creativity.
Explore how to frame ideas when struggling with outlining information.
Create a formative assessment.
Generate practice questions from the topic.
Practice speech skills for a persuasive argument.
Create study plans.
Assist with note-taking strategies.
Practice providing feedback or education to others that is appropriate and leveled to the intended audience.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Chatbot in College
When using a chatbot to help you write a paper or create a study guide, follow these steps:
Assistance writing a paper:
1. Organize your thoughts and ideas about your topic.
2. Ask the chatbot for an outline of a paper about your topic.
3. Compare your ideas with the chatbot's suggestions and have a conversation with the bot about your paper. Treat the bot like an assistant.
4. Ask the chatbot for opposing views and consider both sides of the argument.
5. Write your paper on your own, fact-checking any information provided by the bot and citing your sources.
6. Once you've finished your paper, ask the chatbot to edit your work using the appropriate style guidelines. You could also ask the bot to make your writing more engaging.
Build a personalized study guide:
1. Choose a topic you want to learn more about.
2. Ask the chatbot for the fundamentals of that topic.
3. If there are any concepts you're unfamiliar with, ask the bot to explain them.
4. Ask the bot for a few examples of the topic.
5. Have the bot create flashcards for the keywords discussed in your conversation.
6. Copy and paste the flashcards into Quizlet or another study tool to help you review the material more effectively and efficiently.
Student Academic Support at NMC
While artificial intelligence can be used as a supplemental learning tool, there are many ways to receive academic support on campus.
The Office of Academic Success at NMC works to enhance a student’s academic performance by providing academic support and resources in the form of tutoring, supplemental instruction, ADA accommodations, academic coaching, skills workshops and individual attention.
Access to technology can also make the learning experience easier for students.
The NMClink: Technology Enriched Learning program provides students with learning tools that improve academic performance.