ChatGPT: What It Means For University Students

Blogs 10 Mar 2023 / 5 mins read

By Owen Redman

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If you’re an internet user, you’ve probably heard of ChatGPT: an artificial intelligence chatbot designed to understand and respond to human language, created by OpenAI. It has taken the world by storm due to its ease, accessibility and the endless contexts that it can be used within: particularly education. 

ChatGPT has proven itself to be extremely useful to university students. This technology has the ability to create completely unique essays based on a prompt, simplify complicated texts, write lines of code, and so much more. It’s no wonder that ChatGPT is popular with busy university students!

Although ChatGPT is very handy and can save you a lot of time with your studies, you need to be mindful of how you use it. 

How are university students using ChatGPT?

A whopping 89% of students surveyed in this study admitted to using ChatGPT when completing an assignment. It can be used for a huge variety of tasks such as generating ideas for essays, writing bibliographies, answering exam questions, solving equations, and suggesting grammatical or linguistic improvements to texts.

All you have to do is write a simple prompt. For example, “write me a 1,000 word university-style essay about the Great Depression”. You can set the length, the tone, and the style of writing- it’s that simple. 

Does using ChatGPT count as plagiarism?

Universities around the country are picking up on students’ use of ChatGPT, and have justified concerns about it. A main concern that universities have about students using ChatGPT is plagiarism: is using AI to write an essay a form of cheating? The University of Bristol would say so! Students at the university have been warned that using ChatGPT to complete an assignment would count as cheating under their assessment regulations. This means that a student found to be plagiarising using ChatGPT could face pretty severe punishment. Another seven out of 24 Russell Group universities have set similar measures in place to discourage students from using ChatGPT for their assignments.

Turnitin, a plagiarism detection tool used by many universities, has recently launched an AI detection feature. This is bad news for students hoping to write their essays with ChatGPT: Turnitin might be able to detect that it was written by AI, and penalise you for plagiarism. 

What are the pros and cons of using ChatGPT for university students?

ChatGPT is not all black and white. It comes with a set of pros and cons, so make sure that you’re informed before you decide to use the technology.

  • It can help you to develop your academic skills. ChatGPT can be really useful for developing your grammar, vocabulary and critical thinking skills.
  • It provides access to endless information, fast. With ChatGPT, there’s no need to scroll through endless articles and make dozens of Google searches. It gives you instant access to the information that you need.
  • It can give you guidance and help you find solutions to problems. A great thing about ChatGPT, is that it can give you constructive feedback and help you to overcome academic challenges.
  • It can create dependence. It’s easy to rely too heavily on ChatGPT and lose the ability to study independently.
  • It’s not always accurate. It’s designed to be accurate, but ChatGPT is prone to error.
  • It doesn’t know everything. ChatGPT has issues with understanding context, such as sarcasm and humour. It also cannot answer questions related to current affairs, as training of the system ended in 2021.

How can I use ChatGPT positively as a university student?

Although we’ve discussed the negatives of ChatGPT use as a university student, there are ways to use it in a positive manner. Here are our top tips:

  • Use ChatGPT as a supplement, rather than a replacement

ChatGPT is a useful tool for accessing information and coming up with ideas, but it should not replace traditional study methods like reading and researching. Use ChatGPT to supplement your work rather than relying on it exclusively.

  • Don’t use ChatGPT to write your essays

It might be tempting to get ChatGPT to do your work for you, but this puts you at risk of being caught for plagiarism. Make sure not to copy its answers when writing an essay.

  • Check multiple sources

ChatGPT is a great source of information, but you can’t trust it to get everything correct. Fact check the information it provides, and to check multiple sources to ensure accuracy.

  • Protect your privacy

Be sure to protect your personal data when using ChatGPT. Never share sensitive information like passwords or financial details.

We hope that this blog helped to give you some insight into the technology that is all the rage right now: ChatGPT. Remember to use this very useful tool carefully.

Be sure to check out the Roome website, where we post loads of tips and tricks for university students every single week. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to learn more about how we’re revolutionising the student housing market!

Posted by Owen Redman

Co-founder of Roome

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