The start of the new year has brought with it a conversation about the value of artificial intelligence (AI) in higher education, inevitably prompted by OpenAI’s launch of its chatbot ChatGPT. There have been many thoughtful contributions to the conversation, including from our own community.
Although the capacity of ChatGPT to generate content that may be submitted in response to an assessment task is not new, the useability of the platform and its wide accessibility is. While many of us are concerned about breaches of integrity, I don’t believe that banning tools like ChatGPT is the answer. Advances in AI will rapidly outpace our capacity to respond to every misuse. Moreover, if harnessed properly, the gains from utilising AI in our education—for us and our students—are significant.
Utilising AI to good effect will take time. Like AI itself, we will also undergo a process of learning. Certainly, we need to find ways to guard against its misuse, particularly in assessments; but we will succeed working together as a community to find appropriate solutions.
I have spoken with a number of you already about what we might do to ensure that students demonstrate what they have learnt in assessments and do not pass off unattributed AI-generated content as their own. I have also spoken at length with the Vice-Chancellor, other members of the Executive Group, senior stakeholders across the University and colleagues across the sector to ensure that we are aligned. The conversations I have had reinforce what I have come to know about our institution—that we always rise to a challenge.
In the next few days, you will receive an email from your respective Deputy Dean Education and Employability offering help on faculty-specific measures. Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominique Parrish’s team will release a series of FAQs that offer pointers to help you think through some of the thornier issues. Dean of Students Professor Mariella Herberstein and I will also write to students to remind them of the importance of academic integrity. And we are planning to release a video ahead of the start of the academic year comprising views and insights from across our community.
I am grateful for the time and dedication each of you puts into making our students’ time with us exceptional. It really does make the difference. I genuinely believe that there is a distinct Macquarie Advantage in the education we provide. Our response in moments like these is just one more example of that. Thinking through how we utilise AI in the way we assess and provide feedback to our students over the medium-term is another.
Professor Rorden Wilkinson
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic)
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