Trending November 2023 # To Inspire Students, Aim For The Goldilocks Zone # Suggested December 2023 # Top 14 Popular

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Earlier this month, NASA announced the exciting discovery of 54 planets within the so-called “Goldilocks zone.” This is where planetary conditions are not too hot, not too cold, so that liquid water can remain on the surface. Scientists, aided by the Kepler space telescope, have been able to locate these “just right” planets where we’re most likely to find conditions that can support life.

Around the same time as the NASA announcement, I happened to hear about another research effort that’s happening much closer to home. The Innovative Teaching and Learning Project (ITL) is a global study sponsored by Microsoft Partners in Learning and managed by SRI International and Langworthy Research. The goal is to investigate, across a broad range of countries, the factors that promote the transformation of teaching practices and the impact those changes have on student learning. The study began in Finland, Russia, Indonesia, and Senegal. Year two also includes the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Mexico, with UNESCO and local ministries of education involved as partners.

I can’t help but wonder if we’re on the verge of discovering a Goldilocks zone for the classroom. Are there conditions that are “just right” to help students get ready for the future? Are there tools that can help us find these conditions in practice — the equivalent of a Kepler telescope to search for hotspots of optimal teaching and learning?

The new research question is whether these practices can also lead to 21st-century learning outcomes, such as students being able to solve problems creatively or collaborate effectively. These are the goals many policymakers consider essential if today’s students are going to be ready for college and careers.

To find out what’s happening with 21st-century skills at the classroom level, ITL researchers are employing a variety of tools, including surveys, classroom observations, and analysis of student work samples.

Research is still underway, but one finding from the pilot year report jumps out: The quality of an assignment strongly predicts the quality of student work. It turns out that if you want students to innovate, collaborate, or think critically, you need to emphasize these 21st-century skills in what you ask them to do.

Sound familiar? Anyone who teaches with project-based learning methods will be familiar with the PBL refrain: “begin with the end in mind.” You start with the important learning goals you hope to achieve, and then work backwards to define what students will know and be able to do to show that they have reached them.

When it comes to 21st-century skills, apparently, the “end in mind” gets a little fuzzy. Researchers have found a gap between “rhetoric and reality,” or what policymakers say is important and what happens in practice in the classroom. A Russian school leader, quoted in the pilot year summary, puts it this way: “The education system cannot clearly answer the question: What should the 21st-century school leaver look like?”

Tools for Focusing

How can schools put this international research to practical use?

The survey tools that the ITL team developed are now available for any school to use for self-assessment. This can be a practical step to develop a common vocabulary for what innovative teaching and learning looks like in your learning community. It’s also an opportunity for teachers and school leaders to come together around a research question — something that ITL researchers see as potentially powerful professional development.

Jon Perera, general manager for Microsoft Education, acknowledges that teachers and school leaders don’t always share the same definition of 21st-century skills. “There can be a mismatch. This tool provides 360-degree feedback mechanism,” he suggests, so that everyone’s view is considered. “There’s no right or wrong answer. Using the tool can be a catalyst for a school to talk about, what’s our plan to embrace 21st-century skills?”

Because the quality of an assignment turns out to be so critical for determining what students actually learn and do, researchers suggest that teachers need to see more examples of work products that ask students to put 21st-century skills to use. Analyzing student work samples together is another good strategy for shared professional learning. Researchers have found that teacher collaboration is one of the key conditions that supports classroom-level innovation.

And that brings us back to exploring and describing the Goldilocks zone. What sorts of projects are “just right” for encouraging your students to use 21st-century skills? Which ones fall short? How could assignments be improved if you had more opportunities for feedback and collaboration with teaching colleagues?

Please share your examples of “just right” projects. What do they ask of students? How do students respond to the challenge?

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Chatgpt Is The Smarter Aim Chatbot I’ve Always Wanted

So, did ChatGPT win over this skeptical contrarian? It sure did. It felt like I was having a conversation with an actual human being, which SmarterChild just simply couldn’t emulate during its heyday.

Want to try out ChatGPT? Here’s how to run it as a Windows app.

I was wary of ChatGPT at first

Initially, I didn’t love the idea of ChatGPT… or anything artificial intelligence-related for that matter. SmarterChild couldn’t compose articles and essays like ChatGPT does—a feature I considered an affront to classic journalism. Maybe it was an overreaction, but I saw it as a threat to my career. I resisted the alluring pull of ChatGPT for months. I wouldn’t even use those AI image generators due to copyright issues. That said, curiosity eventually won out. Also, as a journalist in the tech field, I figured I should educate myself on it, as it’s important to stay abreast of the latest tech trends.

Instant answers, instant gratification

The best thing about SmarterChild were the instantaneous answers. I was a lonely kid that spent a great deal of time on the family computer, so I liked having a chatbot to both talk to and infuriate. However, the answers weren’t always very articulate or nuanced. In fact, SmarterChild was downright dismissive at times, as you can see in the below video. These somewhat indifferent responses were likely due to the limitations of AI technology at the time. As far as tech goes, we’ve come a long way since the early 2000s.

The instant answers were nice, but actual conversations with SmarterChild were often cyclical in nature, especially when you asked complex questions. It was kind of like talking to an NPC (non-playable character) in a video game where they rotate through the same bit of dialogue over and over. It was fun to provoke an angry response out of the chatbot, but you’d have to spend a good chunk of time spamming the heck out of it. ChatGPT is far more nuanced in how it engages with you.

ChatGPT is also more respectful in tone and the answers are much more satisfactory. My questions were answered with certain level of finesse that the AIM chatbot couldn’t hold a candle to. When I asked ChatGPT to tell me more about the greyhound breed (I own a former racer), I was surprised by the information it pulled from the web. Not only did it give me a brief history of the breed, but also information on the temperament and physicality. I’m a bit of a history buff, so I really enjoyed learning about how they were kept as royal pets in ancient Egypt.

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

ChatGPT had me feeling my oats

It wouldn’t be a genuine ChatGPT experience if you didn’t ask it about yourself, which is exactly what I did. The AI chatbot did a good job summarizing my career as a tech journalist, but I didn’t expect the complimentary tone that was peppered throughout the paragraphs. In the screenshot below, ChatGPT says I’m “considered to be a respected voice in the technology journalism field.” Not that I need the confidence boost, but it’s certainly nice! It’s definitely more human-sounding, which is a welcome departure from SmarterChild’s dismissive ways. I almost felt a real connection to it.

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

It’s impossible to piss ChatGPT off

Millennials loved to anger SmarterChild and I was no different. Whenever I needed to burn off some teenage rage, I’d cuss out the AIM chatbot. If you harassed it enough, it would start responding with snarky one word answers. SmarterChild definitely had a distinct personality and you just don’t see that anymore. Was it fun? You bet. Was it inappropriate? Absolutely.

ChatGPT has the patience of a holy saint. In fact, when I intentionally insulted the bot, it apologized for offending me. What?! Although ChatGPT offers more nuanced answers to questions, you can’t really piss it off like you could with SmarterChild, as it’s programmed to not engage in inappropriate or offensive conversation. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

Nowadays, I’m less interested in insulting chatbots. I’d much rather ask legitimate questions and receive complex answers, which ChatGPT does successfully—though you can’t fully trust AI chatbots to tell the truth, no matter how confident they sound. The excerpt above says I’ve contributed to PCWorld’s video content, for example, even though I never have. You need to double-check their facts.

That said, I’ll always remember SmarterChild fondly, but ChatGPT is a much better tool overall. It breaks down mathematical equations and lines of code, and it’ll even generate song lyrics. If you want to ask it philosophical questions like… Do we have free will? ChatGPT will provide a thoughtful answer. What can I say? SmarterChild walked so ChatGPT could run.

Guiding Students To Discover The Beauty Of Math

My passion for mathematics started in middle school, where my teacher would make complex concepts look very easy. Her classroom would always be engaging, filled with high energy and enthusiasm. It was inspiring to see any complex idea made simpler by connecting it to learning outcomes, pattern recognition, and real-life situations.

I have always started my new academic year with a big question, “How do I make my math classroom fun and engaging?” focusing on my three Rs: rigor, relevance, and relationship. Creating a positive environment where my students feel safe, open, and encouraged to explore problem-solving is essential. With simple strategies in place, students can be encouraged to let go of their fear of math, be curious, and explore the beauty in math.

Rigor: Transforming From Boring to Engaging

The ANet Achievement Network asserts that under the Common Core, “achieving rigor requires us to teach math in a way that balances students’ conceptual understanding, their procedural skill and fluency, and their ability to apply what they know and can do to real-world, problem-solving situations.” Taking knowledge to apply practicing skills shows rigor in my classroom. Challenging students’ thinking in new and exciting ways using hands-on activities and experiential-based projects transforms a boring classroom into an engaging one.

Technological tools are an easy way to make a classroom interactive and engaging. For example, students enjoy PhET simulations, which use gamification to teach several mathematical concepts. Padlet creates walls that can make discussions come alive and thinking visible! Pear Deck helps me engage and interact with students to collaborate and work on their aha moments. I use the collaborative strategy think-pair-share in my classrooms to have practical discussions and push my students to think critically. I also create stations for students to work together on different related topics to build their skills and deepen their understanding.

Relevance: Transforming From Standard to Conceptual Based

I use big ideas to drive the classroom instruction and let students ask why to connect the standard-based approach to a conceptual bigger picture. Students use graphic organizers such as the Frayer Model, concept mapping, or a T-chart to help in visualizing concepts to make a note of patterns and underlying themes. The scholastic approach through asking questions and developing curiosity is a big part of learning in my class. Students grow by making mistakes and learning from them. As an educator, I need to create a safe environment for my students to make mistakes and create learning opportunities in problem-solving. My mentor used to call this “failing forward” by encouraging a mindset centered on turning mistakes into stepping-stones for success.

I set high expectations for my students and want them to become skilled critical thinkers who believe they can do the math! Scaffolding is an excellent way to offer support to the individual needs of the students as they learn and develop a new skill. Using multiple strategies to solve a given problem helps students use the most efficient approach to achieve their learning goals. Reasoning through a problem and asking the right questions promotes creative problem-solving skills that show them multiple ways to find an answer. Students always have opportunities to talk about different approaches and compare them while solving a problem in my class.

Relationship: Transforming From Disconnected to Connected

Students are excited to learn when they own their learning by exploring the content and making connections. Taking a simple problem and solving it through peer learning helps students develop a long-lasting understanding. The students also develop higher self-efficacy and confidence.

I begin my lesson planning by focusing on what my students already know and connecting that to the new learning. Building on prior knowledge and the relationships between concepts helps students keep their interest and construct new knowledge. Whether we are looking at the beauty in nature with Fibonacci sequences or discussing shopping and learning about taxes and discounts, connecting my students to real-life situations with math around us helps make learning fun and relevant. Moving from knowledge to skill building by encouraging students to apply their learning through small projects gives black-and-white concepts real-world meaning and promotes creative thinking.

Students effectively learn when they are part of a learning community where they feel safe expressing their thinking and participating by sharing their ideas openly. I use relaxation tools to help create a positive environment that brings my students together, promoting excellence and developing their growth mindset. For example, I lead my students through simple breathing exercises to relieve anxiety before a quiz, affirmations to build confidence, and relaxation techniques to end the day to help my students come together as a community. As a result, students also develop greater interest in coming into the class, calm and confident in working together with an open mind!

Math is beautiful. I love sharing my passion for it with my students and showing them that math is central to solving real-life problems, whether their interests are in fashion design, cosmetology, science, engineering, or culinary arts. 

Students Asked To Look Out For One Another After Weekend Crimes

Students Asked to Look Out for One Another After Weekend Crimes BU stepping up communication on public safety incidents

Two crimes near campus — one a robbery and attempted assault, the other a robbery and sexual assault — took place last weekend, prompting the Boston University Police Department and the Office of the Dean of Students to encourage students to use caution and travel in groups when they are out at night.

The first incident took place at approximately 11:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, near 463 Park Drive in South Campus. A School of Law student reported that while she was walking on Park Drive, a tall, heavyset man stepped out from behind a U-Haul truck and demanded her purse. The student said that the suspect then searched through her clothing to locate her wallet, took the wallet, and fled.

The second incident took place at approximately 2:10 a.m. on Sunday, March 30, on Crowninshield Road. A student was reportedly sitting on a building stoop using her cell phone when the suspect, a male, approached her, robbed her, and sexually assaulted her. The student was taken to Beth Israel Hospital and returned to her residence by the BUPD the next morning. The BUPD has been collaborating with the Boston and Brookline Police Departments on an investigation of both incidents, and patrols in the neighborhood have increased.

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore urges students to take increased responsibility for one another when they are out at night, on- or off-campus.

“I think it would go a long way if, when BU students see each other out, they say, ‘Hey, how are you getting home? Do you need us to walk with you, get back with you?’” Elmore says. “We do want people to go out and enjoy the city — they shouldn’t be afraid, but they should be cautious.”

A letter from Thomas Robbins, Boston University’s chief of police, was sent to students today, informing them of the incidents. It is the second warning letter the chief has sent since students returned from spring break on March 17; however, Elmore and Robbins emphasize that the increased communication from the University does not indicate a broad public safety problem at BU.

“Knowledge is an important part of this,” Elmore says. “When we give you information, we try to tell you a little about the circumstance and hope that people will change their behavior so they’re not caught in the same circumstance. I think it’s far worse to not let students know about these crimes and not give them an opportunity to make some real, reasoned decisions.”

The number of robberies and sexual assaults reported to the BUPD between January 1 and March 30 has increased over the same time last year; there were two sexual assaults reported this year, compared to none in the same period in 2007, and there were four robberies reported, compared to one in 2007. The number of assaults and aggravated assaults reported remained the same — six and two, respectively, in both years — and the number of property crimes, including burglaries and larcenies, has dropped significantly, from 139 to 61.

“Our goal is not to scare people,” Elmore says. “But as a tactic to addressing criminal behavior, it’s important to use the eyes and ears of the community. We hope people will tell us about things they notice, and we’ll work with local agencies to bring those concerns forward.”

Jessica Ullian can be reached at [email protected].

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10 Best Courses For Biology Students After 12Th In India

Are you tired of searching for the same group often and often in every article once you finish your 12th with the computer Biology discipline???

Don’t worry. We are here to help you with various opportunities you deserve to know about!!!

After 12th, Biology is a mandatory subject for most medical courses. Students must study other subjects. This article lists all medical courses after Class 12 Biology.

It is important to choose the right course after the 12th. It can lead to a rewarding career right after completion. Generally, Biology is mandatory for most medical courses after 12th Biology. 

Of course, there are alternative courses after 12th Science, not only after 12th Biology. For instance, there are alternative courses in allied medical and paramedical courses after 12th Science, which can also be pursued without NEET.

So, in This article, we will list all the medical courses along with the alternatives of the ten best courses for biology students after 12th in India.

 A Career Guide: Courses for Biology Students after 12th 1. Digital Marketing 

Digital marketing is one of the best job opportunities for biology students in India after completing the 12th grade.

For many reasons, Biology students should choose a career in digital marketing. One of the main reasons is that some students who have taken medicine don’t like taking the NEET exam.

Also, after many attempts, they feel frustrated, so there comes an easy and helpful course which makes you get well paid in future perspective: digital marketing.

For starters, digital marketing is the skill set most in demand in the job market.

One of the most popular digital marketing courses is the 12th-grade course. This course is flexible depending on your goals and the amount of free time you have.

Online marketing is known as digital marketing. You can gain expertise in any of these fields or completely in digital marketing, 

Social Media Marketing 

Video Marketing 

Content Marketing 

Website Management

Email Marketing 

Web Analytics

Mobile Marketing and many more.

After completing your 12th grade in India, you should choose a career in digital marketing for the following reasons:

Companies are always looking for talented digital marketers who can help them reach and engage their target audiences.

Moreover, digital marketing is a great career path for art students due to its flexibility, allowing them to pursue it even part-time. 

As a digital marketer, you can work freelance or full-time and choose to work in-house or agency-side. This means you can tailor your career to fit your lifestyle and preferences.

It is a great option to consider if you are looking for a challenging and rewarding marketing career. With the right training and experience, you can build a successful career in this exciting and ever-changing field.

It is possible to do a course where adding agency-style-based learning will add more credits to your knowledge, and the company will immediately appoint you for your skill.

Still, if you want a reason to choose digital marketing as your career path, look at the salary range!!!

Digital Marketer is estimated to earn an average annual salary of INR 7.2 lakh.

But the salary varies from company to company, depending on the knowledge and the skills you practically prove to your hiring manager.

For this purpose, you should be well researched before choosing the best digital marketing course. An agency-based learning course will always increase your chances of landing a higher package salary.

Check out our free courses from Digital Scholar, where we train students through agency-based Digital Marketing courses. 

Suppose you decide to enrol in our 4-month online digital marketing course after taking the demo course. In that case, you can count on receiving top-notch learning resources, weekly live lectures, industry assignments, and a certificate of course completion – all at a very affordable course fee!

2. BDS

BDS is one of the best courses for biology students to select after the 12th in India. Another well-liked and broadly based segment of the medical sector is Dentistry. The BDS requires five years of education, including one year of internship. 

The field of dentistry will be covered in its entirety in this course. Simply said, this course is incredible. It covers everything from diagnosing and treating various disorders relating to your teeth and jaw to educating you about general medicine.

It is a popular course offered following biology in the 12th grade. Through the NEET test, BDS colleges in India grant places for this programme.

3. Bachelor of Veterinary Science (B.VSc)

B.VSc is one of the best courses for biology students to select after the 12th in India. The field of study known as veterinary science is concerned with the identification, management, and prevention of illnesses in both animals and birds. 

One of the most sought-after degrees after 12th-grade science, following MBBS and BDS, is veterinary science, a five years course practised worldwide.

As more and more people are becoming conscious of the importance of the well-being of companion animals, the demand for the service of a veterinary doctor is increasing. 

After completing this course, one can easily make a career with these tremendous opportunities.

4. Pharm D

D pharm is one of the best courses for biology students to select after 12th in India. D pharm is a five years long academic programme supported by one year of internship. The PharmD programme aims to produce leaders capable of contributing to research & development in pharmacy.

The four areas in which B Pharm graduates focus are clinical pharmacy, pharmaceutical care, health care, and pharmacy practice. By selecting the best institution from the list of Pharm D colleges in India, they may finish their degree in 3 years.

A Pharm D candidate can work in community health centres, hospitals, or nursing homes. 

There are also opportunities to practice as a private pharmacist, which is a perfect option for those who are not interested in working in a regulated environment or those who do not want to work in a hospital.


BAMS is one of the best courses for biology students to select after the 12th in India. Ayurvedic medicine and surgery are studied in BAMS, a first-year course. 

The science of Ayurveda was developed in India and is now a highly favoured alternative to allopathic treatments. 

Students must be very dedicated to their studies to graduate from the course, which takes at least five years to complete.

This course comprises 4.5 years of study and one year of compulsory internship, which the candidate must complete before getting the license from MD CAM or CAM license. Various career opportunities are available after completing this course.

6. Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery or BUMS

BUMS is one of the best courses for biology students to select after 12th in India. Bachelor of Unani Medicine and Surgery is a course based on Unani medicine. Unani medicine is a 5.5 years course. 4.5 are devoted to academic studies, and 1 year is spent in an internship.

This course is designed for people who are interested in getting into a career in the medical field. This course requires 17 years of age and is four semesters long. Upon completion, the student will have job opportunities in India and abroad.

7. Bachelor of Physiotherapy

BPT is one of the best courses for biology students to select after the 12th in India. It is a four-year-long undergraduate course with 6 months of internship. chúng tôi offers the best scope for physiotherapy. 

Physiotherapists are very in demand these days because there is a great demand for physiotherapists in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centres and even in private clinics or hospitals. 

Physiotherapists are the professionals who help injured patients by treating them and helping them to walk again.

During this course, candidates are taught massage treatment, physical therapy, electrotherapy, and enhancing patient health. Candidates for the BPT degree can work in gyms, sports facilities, and hospitals. Another option is to open private physiotherapy practice.


Homoeopathy is one of the best courses for biology students to select after 12th in India. Homoeopathy is a popular alternative therapy which originated in Germany. 

Homeopathic is a 5.5-year-long professional course among the eminent courses after 12th Biology, comprising 4.5 years for academic study and one year for a compulsory internship in a hospital to gain practical exposure. 

The training required to work with homoeopathic medications will be provided through this course. Students who complete this course successfully will be qualified to work as homoeopathic doctors.

As another allopathic medical option, homoeopathy is becoming more and more well-liked.


BSMS is one of the best courses for biology students to select after 12th in India. The Bachelor of Siddha Medicine and Surgery, or BSMS, is a 5.5-year undergraduate programme that includes a one-year internship.

The Siddha Medicine system, the oldest of all the medical systems, is the foundation of this course. A bachelor’s degree requires four years of study, and the final year of study is an internship.

Candidates who have completed the BSMS will be referred to as doctors, and they can open their clinic by getting the necessary state registration.

They can get state registration for their Siddha medical services in public and private institutions. For additional skill development, they can also enrol in higher education programmes like the MRCP (British), MRCS, DHMS, etc.

10. Genetic Engineering (B Tech)

Genetic Engineering is one of the best courses for biology students to select after 12th in India. Modifying, introducing, and changing genetic materials is the focus of the biotechnology subfield known as genetic engineering. 

Numerous universities offer a bachelor’s degree in technology (genetic engineering), a discipline that encompasses biology and cutting-edge technology to facilitate research and manufacturing. 

Many colleges now provide science, biotechnology, and genetic engineering degree programmes.

Numerous significant global corporations support genetic engineering study in both plants and animals. Some examples of genetically engineered organisms include crops with altered oil content, plants with insect resistance, and plants with herbicide tolerance.


Biology students in India can find a wide range of courses perfect for them. Best course options vary depending on the individual student’s needs and goals, but there is no doubt that biology is one of the most important fields for humanity. 

With the right guidance and resources, students can develop their skills and knowledge in this field to become successful professionals.

If you are looking for the best biology courses to study after the 12th in India, consider some of the top programs we have listed in this article. 

However, if you are willing to change the stream, you can always knock on other best options like digital marketing. By the way, It’s important to note that selecting a digital marketing course will be simple, reasonable, and well-paid if you enrol and benefit from the institute’s top-notch training.

Why Chatgpt Is Both Exciting And Unsettling For Students, Faculty

Why ChatGPT Is Both Exciting and Unsettling for Students, Faculty

Professor Wesley Wildman assigned students in his Data, Society and Ethics class—the first ever—to craft a blueprint for academic use of ChatGPT and similar artificial intelligence models.

Artificial Intelligence

Why ChatGPT Is Both Exciting and Unsettling for Students, Faculty BU data science class takes a first step toward crafting a strategy for dealing with the artificial intelligence model in the classroom

Ask it a quick question, get a quick answer. Ask it to write a complete essay, and it will do that, too.

The capabilities of ChatGPT offer both opportunity and temptation—driving students, faculty, and administrators across Boston University to talk about the artificial intelligence chatbot’s potential as both an enabler of plagiarism and an exciting research tool.

And one BU Computing & Data Sciences class is going a step further than talking.

GAIA – Policy on the Use of AI Text Generation

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The 47 undergraduates in Wesley Wildman’s Data, Society and Ethics (CDS DS 380) class—the first ever—spent the last few weeks writing a blueprint for academic use of ChatGPT and similar artificial intelligence models, called the Generative AI Assistance (GAIA) Policy. They intend to follow it and hope it will be a starting point as the University moves to deal with ChatGPT in the classroom. 

“I was really proud of them,” says Wildman, a professor of philosophy, theology, and ethics and of computing and data sciences, who splits his time between the School of Theology and the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences. “They were articulate and strong in their beliefs.”

Wildman discarded his original lesson plan two days before their second class in January and gave his students the ChatGPT assignment instead. “I was especially pleased with their ability to identify the principles that mattered,” he says. “Things like fairness, things like ‘we don’t want cheating,’ things like ‘I don’t want to have my ability to learn how to write and how to think crippled by this.’”

GPT stands for “generative pretrained transformer,” which means, in the words of the GeekCulture website, it was “trained on a massive amount of text data to generate human-like responses to a given input.”

The 550-word policy hashed out over several of Wildman’s class sessions, sometimes in small groups, “adopts a few commonsense limitations on an otherwise embracing approach to LLMs” (large language models, another term for chatbots like ChatGPT). The policy addresses grading, the disparity between students who use ChatGPT and those who don’t, and the possible positive uses of the technology. 

ChatGPT “is walking a weird line, because it’s the first one that’s powerful enough that people are scared of it and that we’re talking about it as a university,” says George Trammell (CDS’24), a student in Wildman’s class. “But it’s not powerful enough that it doesn’t have skeptics, and a lot of skeptics at that.

“One of the first things I asked it was to read the first book of the Bible in Trump’s rhetoric, and it did a ridiculously good job. It was hilarious,” says Trammell. “And then after that, I asked it to explain an answer to some simple physics question to me. And it sounded very convincing and was totally wrong.

“So this is a really good conversation to have right now, because we’re on that line,” he says. “And people need to understand this software isn’t going anywhere. It’s going to get better, and it’s going to get better really fast.”

Revolutionary potential

The New York Times calls ChatGPT, created by the company OpenAI, “quite simply, the best artificial intelligence chatbot ever released to the general public.” No less an authority than Bill Gates says ChatGPT “will change our world.” It’s considered so revolutionary that Google rushed to release its own AI chatbot, called Bard, which did not go well. A New York Times reporter testing an an early version of another chatbot attached to Microsoft’s revamped Bing search engine found a conversation with it got seriously weird.

In short, it appears that this is not a passing fad.

“I think what we talk about is [it’s] more like the printing press,” says Wildman. “It’s transforming the way people use objects to extend their cognitive powers beyond their own minds. We’ve become very good at doing that with all sorts of tools—calculators and so on. But the printing press changed the way we think, changed the way we taught each other. It changed everything about education. This is similar in scale.”

Since it burst onto the scene in December, ChatGPT has stirred concern about its possible use in cheating—students handing in papers that ChatGPT wrote for them. In higher education, that’s generally called plagiarism and punished with a failing grade, or suspension, possibly even expulsion.

“What are the key issues surrounding use of ChatGPT in higher education?” we asked the chatbot.

About 15 seconds later, it responded with a short essay: “What are the key issues surrounding use of ChatGPT in higher education? The use of AI language models like ChatGPT in higher education raises several important ethical, legal, and technical issues.” It went on to summarize—in ways that were at least technically accurate—half a dozen areas of concern, including privacy and data security, accuracy and bias, intellectual property, accessibility, and even job loss for teachers and other educators.

In a paragraph on its role in the classroom, curiously, the word “plagiarism” went unmentioned.

It concluded: “These are just a few of the key issues surrounding the use of AI language models like ChatGPT in higher education, and it is important for institutions to carefully consider these issues and to put in place appropriate safeguards to protect students, teachers, and the wider educational community.”

Enter Wildman’s CDS DS 380 students.

Everybody’s talkin’ about it

Trammell says the class created independent groups to come up with their own policy, and then put them all on a board to compare. “We talked about what wouldn’t work—we went through banning, and you know, obviously, that doesn’t work,” he says. “And we went through more restrictive and less restrictive policies to see what would and wouldn’t work.”

The policy they hammered out says students should credit ChatGPT whenever it’s used and add an appendix to papers and other take-home assignments to explain how and why it was used. “We should not use LLMs to help with in-class examinations, tests, or assignments, unless they are explicitly organized around an LLM,” the policy states. 

“It needed to be usable for us in the class,” Wildman says. “It needed to win the consensus of the people in the class, so that we all felt we had buy-in. And it had to be responsive to the whole bunch of stakeholders, from parents to universities to employers to the students themselves.”

What the policy couldn’t do, he says, is simply ban ChatGPT and products like it, even if that were feasible. From the student point of view, this is their future. “They need to figure out how to master these tools and integrate it into our toolkit,” Wildman says.

Data, Society and Ethics student Rafael Perron (CAS’24) says that suddenly “every single class and every single professor is talking about” ChatGPT.

“I plan to enter data science,” says Natalia Clark (CAS’23), “so I’m glad that the University is attempting to introduce the idea in a way where I can learn and make mistakes with it before it becomes more serious to make mistakes with it. It’s more important when I’m creating an AI model that affects real people.

“I will hold myself to the standard that I will be critical in analyzing it and understanding what it is. And hopefully professors help guide that conversation too.” 

The students’ approach also includes guidelines for faculty, such as: “Treat work submitted by students who declare no use of LLMs as the baseline for grading” and “use a lower baseline for students who declare use of LLMs, depending on how extensive the usage,” while still rewarding creativity. Simply reproducing ChatGPT text would be worth zero points.

Reaction elsewhere around campus

No sooner had ChatGPT been released than anti-ChatGPT programs started emerging, as well, intended to make it easy for a person to detect when text has been generated by a chatbot. “That arms race is ratcheting up so fast,” Wildman says.

Discussions of ChatGPT’s impacts and potential University responses have begun around campus, including in central administration and the Council of Deans as well as among faculty. Many at BU seem to see the potential as well as the problems in the technology.

“My own take on ChatGPT is fascinated and cautiously optimistic,” Hardy says. “Writing and technology have always been intertwined, and writers, and writing teachers, will keep adapting, as we always have. It’s early days.”

Some feel the very nature of ChatGPT holds a contradiction to what they’re trying to teach.

“I have told all three of the undergrad classes that I’m teaching this semester that if they use ChatGPT, they will likely be caught, as I can do the same general searches they can,” says Gregory Stoller, a senior lecturer in strategy and innovation at the Questrom School of Business.

Instead of worrying, however, he envisions a more positive outcome.

“I think it could be used as an alternative research tool. If you were doing company research, for example, for a case competition, I can’t think of a better way of efficiently scouring the internet to make sure you’re leaving no stone unturned.”

It’s important to look at the social and cultural context of how society responds to new technology, says Louis Chude-Sokei, George and Joyce Wein Chair in African American and Black Diaspora Studies and director of the CAS African American & Black Diaspora Studies Program.

“All new technologies generate significant cultural fears,” says Chude-Sokei, whose research is often associated with Afrofuturism. “What I do find fascinating here is the class politics of this fear. We’ve thought and been promised for generations that the real threat from intelligent machines, algorithms, or automation would be to blue collar labor and perhaps to the service industry. This fear is different and likely to be taken more seriously because it’s now seen as a threat to white collar labor and intellectual, so-called ‘higher’ cultural production. AI is the ‘immigrant’ coming for our elite jobs!” 

A focal point at CDS

“ChatGPT is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how generative AI will impact our ways of thinking and ways of doing,” says Azer Bestavros, BU’s inaugural associate provost for computing and data sciences, a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, and a CAS computer science professor.

“The question is how are we going to ‘up our game’ in response to the increased use of these tools,” Bestavros says. “This goes to all the things we do in academia, including what we teach, how we teach it, and how we assess learning outcomes.”

Embedding ethics in the data science curriculum has been a priority for CDS from the get-go, Bestavros says. Wildman shared the class’ policy and discussed it with a small group of faculty members, he says, “all of whom indicated that they believed it was a good one for other courses to either adopt or use as a starting point.” He says the policy was also shared with members of the CDS Academic Program Committee.

“I am glad to see CDS at the forefront of this, which is only proper,” Bestavros says. “By doing this, students—the future developers of ChatGPT-like solutions—are experiencing how to engage those affected.”

CAS data science student Clark says she’s proud to be part of the solution. “I guess responsibility comes with that. And maybe it feels a little ethically burdened, to think about these issues that nobody really has answers to. But taking the first step was the most important part.”

Wesley Wildman and two other University faculty members will hold a panel discussion, Learning to Think after ChatGPT, on Thursday, February 23, at 4:30 pm at the Center for Computing & Data Sciences, Room 1750, 665 Comm Ave. Najoung Kim, a CAS assistant professor of linguistics and of computer science, and Wildman will address questions, including what is ChatGPT? What will the future of AI text generation be like? And how can a university formulate ethical policies to incorporate the reality of ChatGPT into teaching? Mark Crovella, a CAS professor of computer science and of computing and data sciences, will moderate. Register here.

In addition, Wildman will hold a Reddit AMA on February 27 from noon to 2 pm. In this open live Q&A, he will discuss the ethics and pedagogy of AI text generation in the educational process.

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