Can AI be used in schools to support learning?

BELLEVUE, Wash. — As the school year begins, many college students are facing the future right now as artificial intelligence and chatbots make their way into the classroom.

College could be a proving ground for how schools manage AI and keep students from cheating.

A public high school may be able to limit how much access students have to ChatGPT or other artificial intelligence platforms. But at Bellevue College, everyone is old enough to sign up for their own apps, and that poses its own unique set of problems.

“AI is the way of the future and many of our instructors are embracing that,” said Megan Kaptik, Manager of Bellevue College’s Student Care and Community Standards.

AI has been with us for some time, but chatbots and other platforms have made it accessible to anyone, including students heading back to schools or campuses.

Kaptik deals with cheating allegations at the college.

“Where I’ve seen (AI) used poorly and against policy is using it to write discussion posts, or using it for short answers,” said Kaptik.

She’s even seen students reported for misconduct when they forgot that they even used ChatGPT.

“The student dropped it in and it says, ‘I don’t have an opinion because I’m an artificial intelligence,’ so they didn’t take the time to proofread it,” she said.

Kaptik says Bellevue College is still figuring out AI policy, and right now, regulations lie with instructors.

For Bellevue College, cheating is defined as any unauthorized help — but even that is not black and white.

Rob Viens is Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Bellevue College. He says a mentality shift is needed.

“In some classes students have used it, assuming it was fine and the instructor has said, ‘No, that’s cheating!’ Or they’ve used AI detectors or chatbot detectors, which I think have a questionable validity rate,” said Viens.

Jason Yip is a University of Washington Associate Professor at the Information School. He researches how technology can support learning.

“My concern is for schools that haven’t really spent time thinking about it,” said Yip.

He knows AI’s evolution is outpacing policy, but says schools banning or ignoring it won’t work.

Teachers may have to fight AI fire with AI fire.

“Teachers have the same tools, they have access to ChatGPT, (and) they can throw their own prompts into the machine,” said Yip.

Teachers will then recognize if students used AI for classwork.

Yip says teachers can set AI policy and challenge students on whether AI’s answers are adequate.

“We want to teach humans how to look at these things and judge it on their own merits,” said Yip.

Comments on this article