While there have been reports of national and international educational institutes banning this AI-based software, the heads of institutes in Pune said that banning something will not work – institutes need to instead find a way around the situation.
ChatGPT is an interactive Open AI software wherein students can ask questions and the AI gives answers, as well as writes essays, poems, prose, code, etc., depending upon the question asked.
Vidya Yeravdekar, pro-chancellor, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), said, “Unlike other foreign universities and a few Indian ones, SIU depends on paper and pen-based mid-term and term-end examinations for evaluating students. This practice comes of immense help and use today, when several AI tools are being used by students to cheat in examinations. With regard to assignments that were submitted by students as a part of their courses, we are planning to reduce their weightage and give higher weightage to class participation as a component of evaluation. We are also sensitizing students about the usage of ChatGPT and other tools, so that they are aware of the consequences it has on their ability and potential to learn and apply knowledge in real-world scenarios.”
Yeravdekar further said that while there are websites to detect content written by AI tools, but they are not always accurate; she also said banning the software will not make any sense. “Only creating policies and building creative mechanisms will help in dealing with such situations. Hence, we are planning to make a few policy changes to help ensure that, in case a student uses ChatGPT, it would possibly help them to just learn and not cheat,” Yeravdekar added.
Somnath Patil, secretary of the Dr D Y Patil Unitech Society, Pune, which runs many educational institutes, said the usage of the chatbot to do an assignment can be detrimental to developing the analytical and critical mindset that is required in a student. “We need to find out what percentage of students are using it to complete their homework and assignments and then check in what all courses, we can make the assignments more hands-on, or have assignments that need to be done in class, etc. However, we need study this – only then can we come up with solutions as anything that lowers the analytical skills of a student needs to be curbed. Banning the software is of no use as students will find a way to use it. Teachers need to be innovative,” said Patil.
Interestingly, Vivek Saoji, vice-chancellor of Bharati Vidyapeeth (deemed to be university), was of the opinion that students are not using the software much as of now. “First of all, we need to educate both teachers and students about this development. Secondly, I don’t think we can reduce the weightage of assignments, but we may need to modify the way assignments are given or done. All this is still just at the conceptual stages. We will look into it in detail,” he said.
Sanjeev Sonawane, pro-vice chancellor of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), the largest university in the state, said that as far as students use the tech for learning purposes, it is fine. However, he added that if they completely rely on the chatbot to write entire answers instead of using their own brains, the access needs to be stopped, as this will hinder the development of their core competencies. “First, we will find out how many students are using this and in what way. Then, we will think about what to do next,” said Sonawane.