ChatGPT Series — #1: The Challenge of ChatGPT and Other Generative AI

ErasmusX
3 min readMay 10, 2023
Written by Milan V. and Jonathan Flores

Many of us no longer have the skills that used to be taken for granted: memorizing quotes, navigating without GPS, remembering phone numbers… On the other hand, there are skills that have become so common that we don’t even think of them as special. How many of us even remember the term ‘touch typing’? Typing without looking at the keyboard constituted a paid profession just a couple of short decades ago, but is now so commonplace that it is usually assumed that virtually anyone can do it. Other skills are relatively new but already so ubiquitous that hardly a day goes by without us using them, such as navigating the internet.

In academia, the advent of the internet introduced skills that are now staple for students, instructors, and administrators. For email, the required standards of proficiency are relatively clear: even when we are not familiar with the more advanced features, as long as we can produce the final outcomes — send and receive emails — we are safe in the knowledge that we can use the app. On the other hand, using search engines is trickier, as the point where we become sufficiently proficient at internet searches is a fuzzier one. But whether the end point of the skill acquisition is clear is not — whether familiarity is sufficient or proficiency required — these internet-based skills remain essential.

Using generative AI, and specifically writing AI such as ChatGPT, is about to be added to the list of staple skills in academia. It is not a matter of choice, as AI has already permeated the spheres of our work: learning, teaching, and research. The question that follows is:

What is the level of basic working proficiency with ChatGPT and other generative AI that we will all need to acquire?

To address this and other questions revolving around ChatGPT, such as…

  • How to productively engage with ChatGPT?
  • How to adjust courses/curricula to take into account students’ use of ChatGPT?
  • How to empower students and teachers in ways that maximize the potential of ChatGPT while being mindful of its limitations and pitfalls?

…we are starting a blog series to engage in conversations with the EUR community with a goal of contributing to the co-creation of a working framework for engaging with generative AI in academic contexts.

Join us!

To kick off the series, we are sharing the results of an informal survey that Derek Lomas, Professor of Positive AI at TU Delft and Innovation & Technology Academic Lead at ErasmusX has recently conducted. The responses don’t go as far as to outright answer burning questions many of us have, but they do provide a lay of the land of how ChatGPT and other writing AI are currently being used in academic contexts. This in turn offers a promising starting point to begin shaping approaches for addressing, incorporating, engaging with, or creating policy around ChatGPT.

⬇️ Download Survey Results here.

⬇️ Download Accessible Version here.

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ErasmusX

We are a team of passionate people forming the driving force behind educational experimental innovation for the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).