How Students And Lecturers Can Use AI In An Ethical Way

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Artificial Intelligence has taken the digital world by storm, particularly in the education sector. However, there is much controversy surrounding the use of this tool for academic purposes, and for good reason.

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In an insightful discussion, Careers Portal sat down with Duncan Park, the Associate Director of Assessment at MANCOSA, to discuss the issues surrounding the ethics of using artificial intelligence (AI) as a learning tool. 

Schools and learning institutions around the world have banned the use of generative AI tools. Students have faced serious repercussions for using AI to help them complete assignments and projects. Often, when it is found that a learner has made use of AI to complete a task, educators will flag it as cheating and they are given a zero.

While parents and teachers are rightfully concerned about all these new AI tools, Park states that banning the use of AI in educational settings will not be sustainable in any way. When used correctly, AI can facilitate learning, rather than prevent it.

He further goes on to say that if a student can put an essay question into a generative AI tool, like ChatGPT, and it is able to produce a passing answer, then the focus should rather lie on how students are being assessed. 

A major benefit of AI is that it can provide personalised learning opportunities. Generative AI can allow for adaptive learning and smart content, where it can analyse student performance and all of the student data and create individualised learning pathways. If learning is becoming more individualised, then the use of things like standardised assessments, which have been used for decades, becomes questionable.

It can create very, very specific learning structures for people that have very specific learning needs.

For this reason, students tend to be more discerning about what they want. Students may have specific needs for a particular career path they wish to go down that they can’t necessarily achieve from a standardised qualification. 

With an abundance of information and knowledge at their fingertips, students can cross-check what they are being taught. This allows for more flexibility in learning and students can have access to more information than just what they are being taught as part of their qualification.

If someone wants to learn more about a certain subject, they can simply go onto ChatGPT and ask it questions. This creates a personalised tuition and people can expand their knowledge independently. Each time an answer is provided, the student may have more questions, further promoting learning. 

It is important that lecturers equip students with the skills and knowledge required to use these tools correctly and effectively, and also make them aware of the limitations of this software. 

While ChatGPT has the ability to very quickly produce information, and oftentimes very accurate information, it lacks the critical thinking skills and emotional components that humans have. Because of this, AI does not get it right all the time, and students need to be able to recognise this.

Over the years, the way we watch TV has also changed. We are now able to stream our favourite television shows and movies on demand, and education is moving in a similar direction, reveals Park. AI is just another way that this change is taking place.

Technology is ever-changing, and artificial intelligence is just another form of technology that is going to be available to people in the workplace and in industry. In the digital age, this is just a fact that we will need to accept as it does not appear to be going away any time soon.

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