ChatGPT has created quite a buzz since its launch last fall, and has quickly settled as a staple in everyday life. Despite concerns surrounding the use of AI within academic fields, some university professors are now introducing classes and courses focused solely on educating students on the topics of prompt engineering and AI comprehension.
The rapid rise in popularity prompted Andrew Maynard, a professor at Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, to offer a course tailored to help students get a head start with these emergent AI tools.
“We’ve got to the point where it was very clear to me [that] there was a lot of panic, a lot of intrigue and things were moving fast”, Maynard told Inside Higher Ed.
In April this year, Maynard offered a course now known as Basic Prompt Engineering with ChatGPT, which teaches students how to effectively create prompts for the chatbot that consistently generates desirable output.
Adapt to Survive?
While there has been significant pushback in the education sector against ChatGPT, citing obvious concerns like plagiarism and cheating, the faculty behind courses like Maynard’s see this as an opportunity to prepare students for the drastically changing digital landscape created by OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other AI tools like it.
Jules White, director of the Future of Learning and Generative AI at Vanderbilt University, argues that “People are saying, ‘Generative AI is taking your job’ – if that’s the case, we better do something about it and make sure students are innovating and succeeding”.
It may seem like a counterproductive approach to the concerns about how AI will affect future employment landscapes, but the move to get young members of the workforce up to speed and ‘useful’ in a world of increasing AI prevalence could actually mitigate any projected damage to the job market.
Amusingly enough, Maynard went straight to ChatGPT to help design his online course, though he did also have faculty and graduate students help test and evaluate the content. The chatbot did have a major role in the initial phases of creating the course; while it makes sense for ChatGPT to explain how to use its own software, could this be the start of AI-generated curriculums?