Time to Bring Back the Blue Books?

by James A. Bacon

It’s hard to know how much credence to give to trend data extrapolated from online search queries. But if we imbue the findings of software firm Tiny Wow with any significance, one recent search trend is worrisome indeed.

Tiny Wow analyzed Google Trends for the search queries “essay writer,”  “essay ai writer,” and “chatgpt essay.” Among the 50 states, Virginia ranked 6th in the interest Googlers showed in using artificial intelligence essay-writing software.

“According to these findings, there is a clear interest in students looking to AI for essay help in the U.S.,” said a Tiny Wow spokesperson.

The essay writing abilities of AI software are becoming so efficient, comprehensive, and coherent that students across the world could be utilizing this to do their homework for them. The worry from educators is that ChatGPT and other AI software could harm student learning.  Students attempting to utilize this artificial intelligence are not only undermining the integrity of their education, but they are breaking the rules.

If new AI technology can evade anti-plagiarism software, opined the Tiny Wow spokesperson, “then pen-and-paper exams and coursework may be the future for students.”

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5 responses to “Time to Bring Back the Blue Books?”

  1. James McCarthy Avatar
    James McCarthy

    Sometimes the repetitive material in BR articles by some of its most prolific authors impresses as recycled from low graded term papers. Repetition does not create originality or convincing content.

  2. DJRippert Avatar

    But then you’d have to teach cursive too I guess.

    I’ve used ChatGPT. It’s very good but far from foolproof. One test question I asked was whether Virginia’s one consecutive governor term was a good idea or not. ChatGPT incorrectly stated that, in Virginia, governors are only allowed to run for one term. As we all know, it is one consecutive term.

    1. Subtleties are the things that will be that most difficult for AI systems to master. For instance: whether adding “consecutive” to the above answer is of vital importance, or just a triviality.

  3. HINT: If the test essay’s paragraphs are all in complete sentences — the student probably didn’t write it [from more than a decade of teaching in higher education and observing the consistent decline in writing ability over that same time frame] .

  4. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    AI chatbots have two schools of thought. One is that the technology breakthrough will assist in student learning. One clear advantage is you can ask the bot a lot of questions and unlike the teacher the bot never loses patience. The other is cheating gone wild. My old friends tell me that ChatGPT is widely used now by students. Not much a teacher can do about it at the moment.

    I guess I will start to worry if ChatGPT wants to know the address of Sara Connor.

    I used to use Blue Books for 11th grade US History until the school store stopped selling them.

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