Some Central Texas colleges worry about software that can write essays for you

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 7:15 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) -Central Texas colleges are closing monitoring software that can write almost anything for you with some simple instructions. It’s called ChatGPT and it’s an artificial intelligence software.

ChatGPT came out in November of last year. So far, this school year, Central Texas College has seen 5 reported instances of plagiarism in this way. Both Texas State Technical College and McLennan Community College have not yet had any of such reported cases.

”We have gotten some things from students that we could definitely tell it was created by ChatGPT,” Katherine Oser, CTC department chair of computer information technology & systems, said.

ChatGPT can be used to do many different tasks including writing songs, poems or even give feedback to students on their essays. You simply put instructions on the program and the artificial intelligence software will write whatever you ask it to do.

KWTX spoke with officials from CTC, TSTC and MCC who all said they are still in the early discussion phase of how to address this.

”We’re still trying to figure out what that is and what do we do with it?” TSTC cybersecurity professor Joshua Schier said.

At all of three of these colleges writing a paper using the software is considered plagiarism

“Anything that aids a student or does the work for them those policies are in place,” John Ghazzagh, instructional designer for MCC, said.

But experts say anyone using the software should know that this AI software isn’t without its flaws.

”You can give it your writing samples, but it doesn’t really understand the way you write,” Ghazzagh said.

Some experts say one solution could potentially be software like GPTZero that could potentially detect writing created by ChatGPT.

“You have AI authenticators that can say this was written without an AI and not a human, but they’re not perfect,” Schier said.

Baylor University’s Office of Academic Integrity does have some suggestions on how faculty should address ChatGPT. Some suggestions include requiring writing to be done in class by hand if possible, discussing AI with students on the first day of class and incorporating personal reflections when possible.