Abby Hernan, Opinions Editor

   It is almost midnight and the Canvas calendar still had one assignment left to do—an eight-page research paper. While most students spend hours outlining, writing and editing their research papers, a new and accessible website called ChatGPT can do the same process in seconds. As the clock ticks and the procrastination culminates, the quickest fix seems to be typing the topic into ChatGPT and using the essay it spits out. 

   The AI software collects information from a multitude of sources across the internet in order to craft a unique essay, so far undetectable by plagiarism checkers such as Turnitin. The website can also respond to questions, write emails and generate lines of code. As technology advances, the classroom must make changes in response.

   Cheating on assignments is not a new problem. A 2018 study found that as many as 31 million college students worldwide have paid third parties to complete their assessments. However, with the development of ChatGPT, students can get the same benefits quicker and cheaper. The use of AI softwares is only going to increase, and it will only get easier to use it to cheat on assignments.  

   While software that can detect ChatGPT is being developed, the use of plagiarism checkers is not sustainable; the AI will develop past them, leaving them useless. ChatGPT or something similar will always be a resource for students, so instead of trying to defeat it, accepting and integrating it into the classroom will be more productive.

   One method is called “flipping the classroom.” This would mean students would watch lectures and take notes at home, then complete their usual homework in class. While this could work on some extent, it is not fully possible. Assignments such as a research paper are meant to build students’ ability to scour through sources in order to complete a cohesive paper. This process should take a long time and cannot be fully completed within the confines of a 45-minute class period.

   A more effective method would be using ChatGPT as a tool similar to other sources on the internet like Wikipedia. Currently, ChatGPT is not able to write pages of an essay with deep reflection. Students could use ChatGPT as a starting point and sift through the information it gives to see what is viable. 

   This process will teach students how to use the AI effectively instead of copying and pasting the information in. If the assignment given requires a deep analysis, ChatGPT will be unable to go into the depth that is required; instead, it will only be used as a tool.

   “If we are thinking about the writing part of [ChatGPT], then there is continued emphasis on process and foregrounding process in the classroom—the generating of ideas, the organization, what is your thesis, and how are you making that argument,” Director of Learning and Instruction Stephanie Dyrden said. “I think it is going to make us as educators really reflect on what do we want to know and what is it is that we’re asking of students.”

   Currently, ChatGPT is blocked on Trinity’s Wi-Fi, so students cannot access it from their computers. However, this could easily be countered by turning on a cell phone. The school will continue to have the website blocked, but it is looking into more permanent solutions.

   The lead editorial expresses the opinion of the Trinity Voice editorial staff. Please send comments to [email protected]