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The Aquilian

    We all know about IT and can’t ignore IT, but what is being done about IT?
    What goes into the Artificial Intelligence that is presenting schools with a significant issue. Photo taken from using CC License

    “Mr Watson, come here – I want to see you,” said Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the first telephone in March of 1876. This crackly and indistinct line was the first to be said over a telephone, and now serves as the beginning to what seems like an endless potential with technology. As time has gone on, technology has become capable of doing more and more. From translating in 133 languages to over more than 200 million people daily to around 125 million users of FaceTime and Messages daily, technology has become capable of unimaginable things for people like Bell and Thomas Watson. 

    As many people may know, the rise of Chat GPT is a new groundbreaking technology leaving its users in awe. Capable of ​​generating human-like text and with a wide range of other functions, Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer is presenting humans with more trouble than it was expected to. Having been discovered by students around the world, Chat GPT is especially preventing trouble for teachers and schools. 

    “I feel like it’s just another way to cheat, which is my way of saying I don’t think that it really changes anything,” said Ms. Kathleen Clark, English teacher. 

    With the possibility of generating unique human-like responses, Chat GPT is currently an incontestable issue with the capability of going unnoticed. Programs such as, which teachers have relied on in the past, are simply unable to detect and decipher such software for right now, but they are working on a solution for their clients. 

    “It’s just like a familiarity detector,” Ms. Clark said when talking about Turnitin. “It’s not good at protecting AI because the thing that’s great about AI is that it is unique.”

    Since teachers and schools currently don’t have the capability to confront this issue head on, and that each work generated by Chat GPT is unique, teachers struggle to find and convict suspected cheaters. Instead, teachers like Ms. Clark are shifting to AI detector websites, and through their knowledge of their students’ writing, use these two resources to decipher whether the use of Chat GPT or another AI source is present. However, since it’s difficult to fully detect, teachers are forced to adapt and have two options when teaching now. 

    “Do I outlaw this [Chat GPT] for my class? Absolutely not … Or do I look for ways to work with this technology,” Ms. Clark said.

    With technology of this magnitude, teachers are not able to prevent students from going home and cheating or plagiarizing. Everyone has access to this technology, and this cannot be ignored. Students will still have moments where they lapse judgment or are stuck procrastinating, and moments of temptation like this are real. 

    Instead, the English department as a whole met in January and have decided to change their teaching style and their approach within the classroom. Their first change came through the adjustment of the application into AP and honors English classes. Typically, students would be tasked with writing an essay, or answering questions to demonstrate their knowledge and ability to write, yet now with the development of Chat GPT, Ms. Clark and Ms. Kylee Piper, English teacher, decided to pivot to in-person writing. 

    “We decided that the best and fairest thing we could do is to ask students to sit in person to write, largely because the detection software for recognizing AI produced writing is not great yet, and certainly is not embedded within either Google Classroom or Turnitin,” Ms. Clark said. 

    Additionally, teachers like Ms. Clark are now utilizing their class periods to allow students to write their essays, as opposed to the traditional lecture students may see in an English class. In their most recent essay, Ms. Clark had her sophomores spend three whole class periods writing. She gave them one day to work on brainstorming and their thesis, another day for the outline, then the third for the final product. Before, this used to be their traditional homework for when they go home, yet now they are spending valuable class time working on it instead. Their task for when they go home is now to simply type the handwritten essay from class so that it can be turned in online and graded. 

    With all the rise in issues that Chat GPT has presented, more technology is being developed with the hopes of deciphering AI from human work, yet is still a work in progress. While this is a work in progress, student services are also left with a tough job as the AI in Chat GPT is unique and undetectable. So far, Gonzaga has seen about 25 instances in which students were caught using AI. In most of these cases, they came from English classes which typically have assignments in which it would be “easy” to plug in a prompt into Chat GPT, and have a unique analysis of a given book or full response to a specific question. 

    With this being such new technology, student services are adjusting and are planning a longer term solution. 

    “I think it’s going to take some time to draw up some of the response from Gonzaga because right now we’ve taken it under plagiarism. Plagiarism at its core is providing a response with thoughts that are not your own and work that design your own right and so that’s what technically it fits under,” said Mr. Jonathan Ruano, assistant dean of students, when asked how Gonzaga is handling discipline at this time relating to this technology. 

    In terms of a long term solution, Mr. Ruano said students can expect a change to the handbook over the summer prior to the 2023-24 school year. Student Services wishes to discuss with members of Gonzaga most impacted such as teachers, counseling and other leaders of the community before drafting a new handbook statement, which Mr. Ruano said will be focused more specifically on the outlaw of Chat GPT and the use of AI in certain instances. 

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