ChatGPT & Generative AI

Robot hand using laptop and man hand writing stock photo

The implications of new, generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs, most notably ChatGPT, are sending shockwaves rippling across the field of education.

Some see these chatbot-like platforms as serious threats – technology that can promote cheating or even usher in the death of essay writing. Others view them as major boons – technology that could revolutionize teaching and learning.

Still others argue that they’re just another tool – technology that is very useful but ultimately mundane, like the hand calculator

Generative AI illustration of half typewriter and half chatbot robot concept

ChatGPT & Higher Ed

We tested ChatGPT’s capabilities through four queries related to its use in higher education. The answers are readable, robust, and thought-provoking. Our prompts are detailed first in italics, followed by ChatGPT’s responses below.

Prompt 1: Describe five ways ChatGPT can be incorporated into higher education.

ChatGPT Response:

  1. Question Answering: ChatGPT can be used as a virtual teaching assistant by answering students' questions in real-time, 24/7, saving time for instructors and providing quick and accurate information to students.
  2. Personalized Tutoring: ChatGPT can be integrated into personalized learning systems, providing individualized support to students based on their learning needs and progress.
  3. Assessment: ChatGPT can assist with formative and summative assessments, generating questions and evaluating student responses in real-time, providing instant feedback to students and freeing up instructors' time.
  4. Content Generation: ChatGPT can be used to generate educational content, such as summaries, explanations, and study guides, helping instructors save time and providing students with extra resources.
  5. Virtual Study Groups: ChatGPT can facilitate virtual study groups, allowing students to ask questions and collaborate with peers in real-time, even when they are not in the same physical location.

Prompt 2: Describe five pitfalls of incorporating ChatGPT into higher education.

ChatGPT Response:

  1. Reliance on AI: Incorporating ChatGPT into higher education may lead to a reliance on AI, reducing the role of human teachers and potentially leading to a loss of personal connections and human interaction in education.
  2. Bias: ChatGPT is only as unbiased as the data it was trained on, and there is a risk that AI models may perpetuate existing biases and inaccuracies.
  3. Lack of Critical Thinking: Using ChatGPT as a source of information may discourage critical thinking and independent learning among students, leading to a dependence on AI to provide answers.
  4. Technical Issues: Incorporating ChatGPT into higher education systems may require significant technical expertise and infrastructure, leading to potential technical issues and difficulties with integration.
  5. Legal and Ethical Concerns: The use of AI in education raises legal and ethical concerns, such as privacy, data security, and intellectual property. Incorporating ChatGPT into higher education will require careful consideration of these issues to ensure compliance with regulations and ethical standards.

Prompt 3: How can instructors use ChatGPT in a way that supports creativity and original thinking while preserving academic integrity?

ChatGPT Response:

Instructors can use ChatGPT in a way that supports creativity and original thinking while preserving academic integrity by incorporating it in a manner that emphasizes the students' own original work and critical thinking skills. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Use ChatGPT as a Starting Point: ChatGPT can be used as a starting point for students to build upon, rather than a source of ready-made answers.
  2. Encourage Reflection and Analysis: Instructors can encourage students to reflect on and analyze the output generated by ChatGPT, rather than simply accepting it as truth.
  3. Emphasize Original Work: The focus should be on the original work produced by the students, rather than solely on the output generated by ChatGPT.
  4. Provide Clear Guidelines: Instructors should provide clear guidelines for how students should use ChatGPT in their assignments, including how to properly cite the AI output and what constitutes original work.
  5. Evaluate the Process: Evaluate the students' work based on their thought process, use of ChatGPT, and the final result, rather than solely on the content generated by the AI model.

By using ChatGPT in this manner, instructors can support students' creativity and original thinking while preserving academic integrity and ensuring that the students' own original work is emphasized.

Prompt 4: Create an assignment and associated rubric for an economics assignment that uses ChatGPT as a starting point.

ChatGPT Response:

Assignment: Economic Analysis of a Company

Using the output from ChatGPT as a starting point, analyze a publicly traded company of your choice in terms of its economic performance. Your analysis should include an examination of key financial metrics such as revenue, profit, and return on investment.


  1. Use of ChatGPT Output: (10 points)
    Demonstrates effective use of the AI output as a starting point for the analysis.
  2. Economic Analysis: (30 points)
    Accurately and effectively analyzes key financial metrics, compares to industry and competitor performance, identifies key economic trends and their impact, and discusses future economic prospects for the company.
  3. Cohesion and Organization: (10 points)
    Provides a well-organized and coherent analysis, effectively integrating analysis elements and presenting the analysis in a clear and effective manner.
  4. Writing Quality: (10 points)
    Provides clear, concise, and effective writing, with proper grammar and spelling, and effective use of economic terminology and concepts.
  5. Proper Attribution: (10 points)
    Properly cites the AI output, indicating changes made by the student, and using proper quotation and attribution conventions.

Future Directions

Chat GPT is just the beginning. Many other generative AI programs are available now (but lesser known) or currently in development. These could have major implications across all educational fields, including coding, problem solving, and multimedia development. Our challenge as instructors is to learn how we can use new tools authentically and to support creativity while maintaining academic integrity.

Contributors: Laura March, Javier Caride, Curtis Coats, Guy Wilson, Bryant Lazenby, ChatGPT