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Chat GPT and the Future of the Writing Classroom

January 05, 2023 Madison Thogmartin

The recent release of the AI chatbot ChatGPT spurred conversation on academic honesty in writing classes. Educators continue to debate how Chat GPT might affect the development of college writers.

Professor Bradley Dilger sits at a desk in front of a bookshelf. He is speaking and pointing to a piece of paper on his desk.

ICaP director Dr. Bradley Dilger, in his interviews with The Exponent, Star City News, and Wish-TV, assured that Chat GPT is just the newest innovation that writing educators have had to contend with. In his interview with The Exponent, Dilger explained that “ChatGPT is about the 20th thing that we’ve heard about that’s gonna kill writing. First it was (typing), then it was word processing, then it was spellcheck and then it was the internet.” And yet, all of these previous technologies have yet to topple writing education. Dilger stressed that the most important and effective method in dealing with this new technology is to continue to employ strategies to minimize cheating and encourage participation in the writing process. 

Dilger explained that by asking students to choose subject matter that is specific, Chat GPT will be less effective in generating an accurate paper. Furthermore, if students are allowed to choose topics that they are interested in, they will be less inclined to cheat in the first place.

In an image taken from a video interview, Dr. Michael Johnston sits in front of a desk. He is reading from a piece of paper containing a Chat GPT article.English professor Dr. Michael Johnston was also interviewed by The Exponent, where he highlighted that while Chat GPT has the opportunity to help students in generating ideas or working through complex topics, there are potential risks. Johnston stated that, if Chat GPT is used incorrectly, students begin to breach promises made towards ethical and honest behavior in the classroom.

ChatGPT certainly poses many new questions for writing instructors. While it is still necessary that instructors do everything they can to minimize cheating, the best course of action is to embrace this new innovation as a tool for making writing better.