How educators and students in Omaha are responding to artificial intelligence tool, ChatGPT

The AI platform launched in November and is already gaining ground among students.
With the rise of artificial intelligence like ChatGPT comes a dilemma for educators: embrace it or condemn it?
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 6:53 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - “The way that I use it now is speeding up the brain-storming process or doing busy work that I don’t really feel is necessary for me to do, so I can use my brain power on more important things,” said Jackson Zuerlein, a Creighton junior studying marketing and business analytics.

ChatGPT launched in November of last year, and students are already finding all kinds of ways to make school easier.

“I used it to fix my Python code, so it was a great help on that because I didn’t have to scour through it. It was able to tell me what was wrong with the code,” said Micah Navarro, a senior studying accounting.

The software uses huge amounts of data and predictive technology to write essays, draft emails, or even craft poems.

“We used it for an assignment in class, but that was about it. I haven’t used it to turn in any assignments or anything like that,” said Megan Miklesh, a Creighton junior studying marketing and management.

Each day, an estimated 13 million people use the site. Last month, analysts estimated ChatGPT drew 100 million active users. It’s the fastest-growing consumer app of all time, according to an investment banking group called UBS. Because of its effect on academics, educators are talking about how to move forward.

“We have a number of groups of people trying to figure out what our policy needs to be. And I absolutely bet that on the table for them is trying to find a tool that we can use if we want to detect and check whether or not something is written by AI,” said Dr. Guy McHendry, director of Creighton’s Magis Core Curriculum.

Though, Dr. McHendry says there may be a place for ChatGPT in the classroom.

“Part of the ethics of learning to use this is communicating that you’re going to use this tool that’s going to be part of your final product,” said McHendry.

A statement by the senior vice chancellor of UNO, Dr. Phil He, said that the university plans to explore the opportunities and challenges the platform provides.

“While there will always be some who may use such technologies in a dishonest manner, we are far more excited about the opportunities they create,” he said.

Omaha Public Schools, the largest school district in Nebraska, said they “don’t have anything specific to share related to ChatGPT usage since the software is still relatively new.”

As for what role advanced AI has in academia in the future, some students want it to stay.

“I hope Creighton gets on the wave because it’s going to take over the world in a really great way and I just hope that we’re a part of it,” said Zuerlein.

“I think we need to learn how to use it and not be so afraid of it and embrace it instead of pushing it away,” said Navarro.