Maya Bodnick, a Harvard student and intern at “Slow Boring,” conducted an experiment to test ChatGPT’s capabilities. She decided to subject the chatbot to a typical freshman year at Harvard University to see how well it would perform.
To conduct the experiment, Bodnick sought the evaluation of eight professors and teaching assistants. They were given essays generated by ChatGPT in response to genuine Harvard prompts. The graders were unaware of whether the essays were composed by a human or an AI, ensuring fairness in the assessment.
Results of the Experiment
The results of the experiment were striking. ChatGPT achieved predominantly As and Bs. It showcases its effectiveness in handling college level coursework. The chatbot’s impressive abilities resulted in a 3.34 GPA, showcasing its outstanding performance.
While some professors praised the chatbot’s writing skills, there were constructive criticisms as well. One grader suggested that the “student” should simplify their writing. Additionally, some professors expressed reservations about the content and arguments presented in the essays, citing them as “consistently large and unclear.”
Generative AI, especially since the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has gained significant popularity in the higher education sector. However, its proficiency in completing complex assignments has led to accusations of cheating, though some have been found to be unfounded.
Challenges & Opportunities
The widespread use of generative AI has presented challenges for colleges, leading some professors to address the issue proactively. Consequently, an atmosphere of mistrust has arisen between some students and lecturers. To manage the rise of generative AI, higher education institutions are introducing guidance and policies to ensure ethical usage.
Initially, there were concerns about the technology leading to outright bans in some colleges. However, as colleges have come to realize the potential benefits, they are now exploring ways to incorporate and leverage generative AI tools to enhance the learning experience.
Impact of AI on Education and Learning
The impact of generative AI on higher education has been both transformative and controversial. On one hand, it has offered students access to tools that can aid in their academic endeavors. The technology has the potential to foster creativity.
The rise of AI-powered chatbots has raised ethical concerns as well. Particularly, regarding academic integrity and the blurring of lines between student effort and machine generated content.
Educational institutions are grappling with the challenges posed by generative AI. They are seeking ways to strike a balance between using these advanced tools for educational purposes and maintaining academic integrity.
Some colleges have embraced the technology by incorporating AI-powered writing assistants into their classrooms, guiding students on how to use the tools ethically and responsibly. Others have partnered with AI developers to create customized educational platforms that blend human instruction with AI support.
Moreover, the increasing adoption of generative AI in higher education has prompted the need for robust policies and guidelines. Institutions are now working on establishing clear boundaries and expectations for AI usage, ensuring that students understand the limitations and requirements when engaging with AI tools for academic tasks.
Faculty members are also being trained to recognize signs of AI-generated work and differentiate it from student submissions. Despite the controversies, the integration of generative AI in education is likely to continue and evolve.
As the technology progresses, it is essential for educators, students, and AI developers to collaborate and shape the future of AI in a way that maximizes its benefits while upholding academic honesty and integrity. Finding the right balance between human ingenuity and AI support will be important in nurturing a generation of students well equipped to thrive in an AI augmented world.