The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

AI: is it just scary in the classroom?  

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Cam’ron Hardy

The new era of artificial intelligence (AI) invites many questions about what it exactly is. Although most people are currently talking about it, it is important to know that AI is a machine’s ability to form cognitive functions we associate with human minds.   

On Tuesday, the Faculty Senate had its fall faculty forum panel discuss the effects of AI and why it is relevant on campus. The meeting was from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., located in the West Reading Room in Booth Library.  

Nineteen administration members attended the assessment, and they even had an online Zoom meeting, which allowed for a productive audience.  

The Faculty Forum was titled “Alternative Assessment in the Era of AI,” and they critically discussed whether it is possible for students to utilize generative AI as tools to produce text or complete assignments. They encouraged the thought of assessing students to ensure authentic writing.  

The Faculty Senate included three panelists. They were Angela Vietto, professor and chair of English;  Tim Taylor, professor of English and director of composition; and Trevor Burrows, history instructor and library digital initiatives coordinator. The panel was directed by Michael Gillespie, professor of sociology and director of faculty development.  

The Assessment officially started when a member of the Faculty Forum welcomed everyone with an introduction speech constructed by AI. It was a family formally read, and later, Vietto said how it was “Almost intimidating.”   

Gillespie said, “We need to pave the way for the future of students,” as an introduction to the panelist.  

Vietto shared how, in the spring of 2023, AI was quickly emerging into students’ essays and how she was receiving calls from not only the English department but from all over campus.  

They also introduced the topic of “ChatGPT,” which is an AI-powered language model capable of creating refined conversation. This is widely used by students to essentially write their papers for them.

The panelists also shared facts that most people do not know.  

ChatGPT was launched in Nov. of 2022, and its knowledge source stops after the year 2021. So, sometimes, the information can be outdated. People also have no idea how much annotation and data goes into training for the AI bot.  

It is also important to note that although AI can have conversations, but it is not original material. It is easier to have a conversation with another person rather than a chatbot, and with AI, it sounds very detectable. It is basically just regurgitating somebody else’s information.  

This leads to the problem of how copyright laws come into play. ChatGPT faced lawsuits where writers have come forward and stated how they stole from their work. So, with problems like that coming into play, “it might not even be here in the next 5 years,” Burrows said.  

However, this does not mean AI will be gone entirely. AI will probably be a big part of the future, but it will undergo multiple changes and phases. 

The panelists then discussed how AI can be helpful in many ways for students. Students should be able to detect and understand when it is being used. Teachers can work with students to see how students can focus on the actual benefits of AI. 

Most people have common misunderstandings about Chatbots and the usage of AI, but it can be solved by teaching people when and how to use it appropriately and having assessments to brainstorm ways it can be used in a classroom.  

 

 Jacob Adcock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Jacob Adcock
Jacob Adcock, Reporter
Jacob Adcock is a freshman English education major. This is his first year at The News.
Cam’ron Hardy
Cam’ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 

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