The new academic term is about to kick off. Here is what I have to say about #ChatGPT and friends

ChatGPT is a tool that can generate content, ranging from essays to computer software. It can also explain in natural language what code does. There are other tools like ChatGPT, and more will be developed. The following applies to all of them.

I am not naïve enough to believe that you don't know about it, and that you won't use it. I can make all the rules I want, or put in all the technical controls to block or detect it. They simply won't work. These tools are here to stay, and they'll only get better with time.

So, let me give some guidance:

Homework is meant to help you further develop the skills to think through a problem, analyze what is asked, design a solution, and execute that solution. It is a reinforcement activity meant to support what we cover during lessons. Homework is not about the final product. It is about how you got there.

Can ChatGPT solve your homework? Yes, it likely can.

None of the homework I assign is particularly original, so most solutions are probably easily findable via StackOverflow anyway.

Should you use ChatGPT to solve your homework?

Well. That depends.

First: all academic integrity rules apply. If you use ChatGPT, you must tell me.

Second: if you hand in a homework solution, you take ownership and accountability for it. If you cannot explain why you made decisions, or how you implemented certain constructs, you are likely not getting credit (best case). You might even end up in trouble for academic integrity violations (worst case).

Third: if your focus is exclusively is on the final deliverables, you don't learn. If you don't learn, your tuition is wasted, and you'll fail the sit-down written exams anyway.

If you want to use ChatGPT to support your learning by having it give you examples or explaining stuff, or if you want to use it to verify your answers, go ahead and do so. Tell me about it! I am genuinely interested in how it works out for you.

One final word of caution: like anything on the Internet, ChatGPT makes mistakes. Don't blindly accept what it tells you as the truth. When in doubt, my opinion about the validity or the truth of a statement matters more than what some internet-based thing says.

This article was also posted to Mastodon. Find the post here.