In October, Dr. Ajitpaul Mangat, faculty fellow in the English department at Niagara University, presented his research on the limitations and potential pedagogical uses of ChatGPT at two conferences on artificial intelligence and writing. The first, “Writing, Thinking, and Learning with AI: Exploring Relationships of Rhetoric and Artificial Intelligence,” was hosted by the SUNY Council on Writing and the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University, and the second, "Writing in the Age of AI: An International Conference on the Future of Academic and Professional Writing," was sponsored by the university writing program at the University of Florida.

At both conferences, Dr. Mangat’s presentation focused on ChatGPT’s inability to provide accurate sources. He highlighted ways AI can be used in the classroom to teach students about the causes and consequences of such artificial research and shared one of his classroom assignments on ChatGPT’s use of fake quotes. The assignment involves proofreading essays produced by ChatGPT to see its limitations and the ways fake quotes can be used to deliberately misinform readers. This knowledge can help students understand the importance of using research effectively and ethically, as well as get them to start thinking about the larger issue of mis/disinformation and how failing to provide accurate sources is not just a limitation of AI, but a strategy that some human beings use, he said.

While some professors are banning the use of AI in their classrooms, Dr. Mangat believes it is important to use it in his teaching.

“AI is here to stay,” he said. “Students are aware of it and are already using it in their coursework. Therefore, it is vital that we, as teachers, think deeply about effective and interesting ways to make AI part of our teaching. We should help students to see its limitations to emphasize what they can do with their writing that AI cannot, but we should also take this challenge as an opportunity to think about ways to make our courses more relevant to our students so that they want to write and come to understand that writing is an important and necessary activity in their lives.

“I hope this issue will also lead teachers to consider the issues that affect the ability of students to write and complete assignments,” he continued. “If we want students not to rely on AI to do their writing for them, we need to, I believe, make it easier for students to get their assignments completed while juggling the responsibilities our present society increasingly demands of them, like working to pay for rising tuition and rent as well as caregiving for aging family members. I believe the values of trust and compassion and understanding are even more necessary as teachers consider how to do their job during the ‘Age of AI.’"