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Why Professors Are Polarized on AI

Why Professors Are Polarized on AI

Inside Higher Ed

Susan D’Agostino
September 13, 2023
Corey Robin, distinguished professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, has reluctantly considered implementing in-class exams for the first time in 30 years. He detailed the evolution of his thinking this summer in a personal blog post, “How ChatGPT Changed My Plans for the Fall.” The article did a great job conveying the sense of grief and mixed emotions many writing instructors are feeling, according to Daniel Stanford, a lecturer at DePaul University’s Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media.
But when Stanford read the comments, he was bothered by the vitriolic tone of the debate surrounding AI’s role in teaching and learning—a tone he and other academics have also seen surface in real life.
“What’s the real harm for students who opt to cheat by using AI to write papers in passing the class?” a commenter who identified as Jason Mittell, professor of film and media culture and American studies at Middlebury College, wrote. “After 23 years of teaching, I’ve come to realize that my job is neither to police students who don’t want to learn nor to rank students via grades, but to maximize learning for those who want to learn and try to inspire the others to try to join in the learning.”
At least one person disrespectfully disagreed.
“Teachers who ask questions like yours tend to see school as just a personal development system,” a commenter who identified as “education realist” replied. “Not sure why you were able to get this far in teaching without seeing the catastrophic impact that laissez faire attitudes towards cheating have on the entire system. Teachers like you kill the system entirely, creating ever more cheaters.”
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