4 Ways My Students Are Thinking About Finals in an AI World
Yes, my friends finals week is on the horizon. I can feel the stress in the air. Students have many high stakes projects coming up … and…
Yes, my friends finals week is on the horizon. I can feel the stress in the air. Students have many high stakes projects coming up … and of course, whatever final assessments instructors choose to send their way.
It is also the most important time to take a moment and reflect. Since I am teaching one of the few courses focused on AI writing at UNCW, I don’t want to miss this opportunity.
In my last newsletter, I talked about students’ emerging takeaways. This time, I asked them to share their thoughts on how AI will influence their finals.
“Most finals are regulated or too specific for AI to be useful.”
Many students couldn’t see how AI could be used in any productive way for finals, especially those that require specific problem-solving. This seems good news to me … many classes at UNCW aren’t testing just for content. And of course, some finals are still in the classroom … even on paper, so I guess those are AI-free?
However, the same students mentioned it could be useful for final papers, especially for reaching word counts. But only students who don’t care about getting an A will use AI, because its writing is pretty mediocre.
Or is it just too much work to get AI to produce anything worthwhile in most cases?
“AI will be useful for studying”
Many of my students welcomed the potential of AI to support their study sessions. They saw ChatGPT as a helpful study partner that can help them create study guides, quiz themselves on information, or practice their essays.
I couldn’t help but smile at this one. It’s true, ChatGPT can make studying more efficient and maybe even fun. But as always, students should be wary the outputs. Students should also take time to check the results … which can also be learning, right?
I honestly hadn’t thought much about this use case, because I don’t do finals like that … and we are mostly do not use chatbots in this class (which I don’t consider a writing tool).
“Students will definitely use ChatGPT to cheat if they can.”
A few students did say think others would use ChatGPT to cheat if at all possible (of course, not them though 😉). They added a few conditionals, though. If students are anxious about grades or are simply asked to regurgitate information, they are significantly more likely to cheat.
But they also pointed out that cheating with AI could be risky since the writing style might not match their own. It could also be easy to get caught using AI-generated work, whether with detection software or simply suspicious eyes.
It’s a tricky balance between taking advantage of technology and maintaining academic integrity in the world of AI.
Honestly, though, most students didn’t think that AI would have much of an impact on their finals at all. In some ways, this may point to a lack of knowledge or experience about how AI is truly going to change up learning and even how w work.
Even after working with AI for an entire semester, some students don’t see it as the revolutionary shift it is likely to be. This could be my teaching … but I do sense a little skepticism in the air sometimes.
Like when I tell engineers they are going to do more writing than English majors …
My students’ responses made me realize that there is still a lot of work to be done in order to help people become more AI literate. This can’t be done in just one class.
For anyone who wants to make this just a first year composition thing … that will not work. Arguably, it doesn’t work with writing either. One class can’t do all the things.
So, I’m curious. How do you think AI will affect your finals? Are you making any adaptations to incorporate AI into your writing processes?
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🤖 I used Soduwrite’s microgenerations to spark ideas and explore alternative ways of writing. I crafted this writing with thoughtful intent, though the text may be a blend of machine and human. (affiliate link)