AI in education

Chatbots such as ChatGPT make it possible to generate texts with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). The newest generation of language models is so advanced, that it is hard to make a distinction between texts written by a human and AI.

Een schrijvende student met een grijze robot op de achtergrond.

The development of these language models has a great impact on education. The reality is that this technology is here to stay, and we need to find a way to relate ourselves to it. The availability of these types of language models can make a positive contribution to different forms of education, but mostly also requires us to reconsider how we assess students' knowledge and insight.

Responsible use by students

Ultimately, the responsibility for the use of tools such as ChatGPT lies with the student themselves, but lecturers do have the responsibility to help students deal with this in a responsible manner. The most important thing is that students learn about the limitations and reservations of AI: a digital literacy 2.0.

  • Make students aware that each AI tool makes use of an algorithm that is trained through a dataset. We do not know exactly what algorithm this is, and which dataset was used. The data might be biased, for example. Or a bias might arise when the system makes certain correlations.
  • Teach the student how to take a critical look at the contents of a given answer. Make them realise that ChatGPT is often wrong. Have them compare an answer given by ChatGPT to articles you provide as a lecturer, with sources you have collected yourself.
  • Teach students that there are multiple sources, such as in scientific articles, that are not used by ChatGPT.
  • Make it clear to students that the information provided by ChatGPT is not up to date. Especially answers given in Dutch are therefore often incomplete, wrong, or weirdly translated from English.
  • Teach students how to ask more specific follow-up questions or an explanation for a given answer. Getting ChatGPT to provide a good answer, requires asking good questions. Does the student understand the answer? Can they explain it in their own words? You can find useful tips here.
  • If the student does not properly understand the given answer, it is possible to ask ChatGPT for an explanation. In most cases, the system can provide an explanation for the given answer.

The possibilities of AI for our education

  • Students can ask ChatGPT questions. This gives them inspiration and a starting point for starting a discussion about the given answers. You can set up a discussion forum in Brightspace and have students jointly come up with questions, and subsequently discuss the answer they receive.
  • Or you can encourage a live discussion about the given answers during your lecture.
  • ChatGPT can be used as a brainstorm partner. You can ask it questions about the topic you want to write about and receive inspiration.
  • Let students have the system check their written text. The students can provide the system with their text and ask ChatGPT for ways to improve it.
  • For lecturers, ChatGPT can also be a way to prepare their education. Barend Last, educationalist and blended learning expert at Maastricht University, gave some examples in a LinkedIn post (in Dutch) on how you can have the system generate a bunch of learning activities for students, including learning objectives, an assignment, and a rubric as an assessment model. However, you should always be critical of the text it generates. It can contain mistakes and sometimes those are very subtle, but important.

Alternative modes of instruction for written products

It remains important that students can use a written text as an assessment method. If you have the time to supervise students while they are working towards a written (final) product, then that can also be a way to keep an eye on how a text is created and how the student works on writing on a text. Think of, for example, having them hand in an essay in multiple phases.

In addition, there are modes of instruction that can serve as an alternative for a written product.

  • Ask students to present their learning results in a different way than just text. They could, for example, create an infographic, a poster presentation, a PowerPoint presentation, an animated video, or a video presentation that they upload to Kaltura.
  • There are also completely different modes of instruction that you can apply in your education. Take a look at the website of Radboud EDIT (in Dutch) to find inspiration and see which tools are available.

News about AI

Richard van Wezel at the IRP symposium 2022

IRP Voucher Call 2024 now open

In total, 12 vouchers with a maximum of 50,000 euro will be granted to stimulate novel research lines connecting two or more institutes within the Faculty of Science.

Een smartphone met aandelenkoersen erop, met op de achtergrond een laptop met aandelenkoersen.

People are open to algorithms (if they benefit from them)

A new publication in AI & Society by Radboud University researchers shows that humans are quite open to algorithms’ decisions, as long as we believe that this is to our benefit.

Een vrouw in overleg tussen laptops

'Use ChatGPT to stimulate innovation within organisations'

ChatGPT and other transformer-based language models can be used to help organisations in creating new innovation solutions, researchers at Radboud University argue in a paper published today in the Journal of Product Innovation Management.


Contact details

Do you have any questions or are you looking for more information? The Teaching Information Point of your faculty is happy to help.