May 19, 2024

What does ChatGPT mean for students?

The first time I ever heard of ChatGPT was when I was researching it for this article, so bear with me as I walk us both through what ChatGPT is and why it is so controversial. 

According to ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue, the model is meant to work as if you were having a conversation with someone. ChatGPT’s dialogue format makes it possible for the website to “answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.”

ChatGPT is the textbook definition of artificial intelligence, or “AI” for short. AI is the development of technology in hopes that it will be able to do things that usually only humans can do. Essentially, AI wants to give technology a brain to think on its own. 

A lot of people have been wondering if teachers and professors can find out if a student is using ChatGPT and the short answer to that is yes. 

This website can basically do all of your homework for you. ChatGPT can write essays, answer math problems and tell you all of the reasons behind the beginning of the Revolutionary War. ChatGPT has so many different features, but that does not mean that it is a reliable tool to use in order to pass your assignments. 

But here is what I want to know: is using ChatGPT considered cheating?

Short answer: yes, using ChatGPT is cheating, but there is also a long answer that goes more in depth on my opinion on whether using ChatGPT for your assignments should be considered cheating. 

I think that you can walk a very fine line between using ChatGPT because you’re stuck on an assignment and using it to write a whole essay for you. It is a very slippery slope when you start using the website as extra help.

ChatGPT is basically a robot that can do all of your homework for you, and something like that sounds very tempting to say the least. Being in college is stressful, especially if you have a job (or multiple) or you have other responsibilities that take up your time. 

Many articles have been published that have outright said that using ChatGPT is cheating and can be considered plagiarism.

According to “EXPLAINER: What is ChatGPT and why are schools blocking it?” school districts around New York have started blocking student access to ChatGPT. Once New York blocked ChatGPT, that meant that one of the largest school districts in the United States had made their move. The question that stands though is this; are other school districts going to follow New York’s lead?

As a future educator, I am very aware that cheating is going to happen in my classroom, but I also need to be aware of what leads to cheating. School districts that have started to block ChatGPT may need to take a step back and ask themselves why their students are willing to commit plagiarism rather than have missing assignments. 

Cheating is wrong and I am in no way condoning it, but I think a lot of things can lead to a student feeling so lost and helpless about an assignment that they turn to a website like ChatGPT. 

Something like ChatGPT is not a good resource. It teaches students that they can skip out on their assignments because there is a bot online that will do it for them. 

The exact setup of ChatGPT does more harm than good, but I think the idea behind the website can be a good template for future websites. Sometimes reaching your teacher or professor when you have a question is a hit or miss, so having websites that you can turn to for help is not a bad idea. 

But ChatGPT is not a website that you can turn to when you are stuck. ChatGPT is a website that helps you cheat, and when you cheat, you are depriving yourself of knowledge and setting yourself up to fail in the future. 

In the future, websites like ChatGPT need to be more careful about how smart they make their AIs because as we have seen so far, ChatGPT is doing more harm than good. 


  • Sophie Makhoul

    Sophie is a junior History and Education major. In her free time, she likes to cuddle with her cat, read books and write new stories.

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