ChatGPT, Generative AI, and Writing

At the Writing Centre, we have spent a great deal of time thinking about ChatGPT, its abilities and inabilities, and how it may impact your learning and your development of writing and critical thinking skills. We do not think outsourcing aspects of the writing process to ChatGPT or other generative artificial intelligence (genAI) programs is wise for students.

There are problems with the writing these tools produce, which limit the usefulness of genAI as a co-writing tool. For instance, though completely grammatically correct, AI-generated text is often vague, bland, and repetitive. GenAI is untrustworthy as a source of information; the text it produces contains inaccuracies and lacks sources.

Most importantly, ChatGPT and other genAI tools allow you to forgo basic steps in the writing process. Studying and practicing these basic steps make you a better, more confident writer and thinker. Steps like generating ideas, planning, and engaging in the reiterative process of writing, thinking, rethinking, and rewriting promotes critical thinking and learning, which is what university writing assignments are designed to do. When a technology completes these steps in whole or in substantial part for you, you are deprived of the cognitive growth associated with driving the process yourself.

As a result, the Writing Centre does not encourage you to use ChatGPT/genAI as part of your writing process, nor will we help you learn how to use it.

However, many of you will understandably be curious about genAI and want to experiment with it. To help orient you to what artificial intelligence is and help you think critically about it, the Writing Centre has developed a short Moodle module, which emphasizes your responsibility for understanding and following faculty policies on use/non-use of genAI in completing your academic work. To learn more about genAI and your responsibilities as a student, you can explore the module here: Moodle module (“Aritifical Intelligence & CBU Students”).

At the Writing Centre this term, we are prepared, as ever, to help you develop your writing skills and gain confidence in your abilities. This includes helping you recognize features of strong writing, consider the quality of the writing genAI produces, and make ethical choices that support your learning.

Fall 2023

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