Students and professors discuss the implications of AI in the classroom

Graphic by Catherine Eldridge | Collegian Media Group

The integration of artificial intelligence in classrooms at Kansas State raises concerns with many professors about students losing authenticity and creativity in their writing. 

Amelia Hicks, associate professor in philosophy, created an experiment, hoping to use ChatGPT as a drafting tool. She did not find it to be a success, and fears the loss of critical thinking and effort in students’ work.

“Last semester, I gave my students in Philosophy of Horror permission to use ChatGPT to create a first draft of their philosophical movie review,” Hicks said. “The result was that students who used ChatGPT wrote less interesting, less detailed papers. Students who didn’t use ChatGPT wrote better, more creative papers, even if they contained a few more typos.”

Hicks said ChatGPT is going to make academic honesty policies extremely hard to enforce as it is almost impossible to prove a piece of writing was generated by an AI program. Software with the ability to predict AI has been developed, but lacks accuracy, Hicks said. 

Grace Burgett, junior in English, said she fears creative writing positions won’t be needed in the future, putting many students’ future careers in jeopardy.

“You are losing the humanness of writing and editing with the use of ChatGPT, and I think that’s what makes something touching,” Burgett said. “When we have shared human experiences it can reach out to people. When it’s a robot writing it, there’s no charm or human aspect, and that’s concerning.”  

Theresa Merrick, assistant director of the Writing Center, said she was curious about AI use herself and wanted students to experiment with ChatGPT in her writing courses as a learning experience. 

I think that regardless of the type of policy instructors have on ChatGPT, it’s important to address the implications that AI is going to have on this generation of students,” Merrick said. 

Discussing AI with students is important because they are a part of a generation that will enter the workforce with these tools available to them, Merrick said. 

It’s crucial for me to adapt as an instructor and address AI and ChatGPT so that I’m adequately preparing my students to go into the workforce of the future,” Merrick said. “However, AI tools can never replace our own writer’s voice and identity.”