GU Professors Offer Tips for Making AI Your Best Study Buddy

Student doing homework at Hemmingson Center table.
AI can be a useful tool for students

December 01, 2023
Annelise Allen (’25)

Amidst all the discussion about how ChatGPT and other generative AI sources can play a negative role in education, professors across Gonzaga offer ways that AI can enhance students’ educational experience.

Here are five ways AI can be utilized for educational good:

Practice essay critique and editing skills

Dr. Charles Lassiter, associate professor of philosophy, has his students submit a prompt to AI, allowing it to produce an essay. Students are then asked to revise and critique the given essay. This gives students practice in evaluating written work and allows students to see how often AI makes mistakes.

Use ChatGPT as a conversation partner in class discussions

Lassiter also utilizes ChatGPT in his classroom to expand classroom discussions. “Students can type prompts into ChatGPT and treat it as another member of the discussion group,” Lassiter says. “Topics that are not understood can be asked to ChatGPT to be explained better.”

Restructure what you have already written

Dr. Nigel D’Souza, assistant professor in the department of environmental sciences, says “Most AI should not be treated as a search engine. If you need information, look elsewhere. But if you have information, AI can be used to structure it in a clear manner.” He adds that often students will know what they want to say, but not know quite how to word it. “AI can bridge that to avoid stress,” says D’Souza, “But output from AI should never be taken as is. It needs to be analyzed and rewritten as your own.”

Increase your evaluative skills

Dr. Eric Hogle, associate professor of mathematics, has been implementing AI into his classroom to teach his students the importance of evaluating sources. “I recently gave students an assignment in my proofs-writing course to evaluate a proof generated by GPT,” Hogle says. “The AI is good at imitating form, so the proof is written with an authoritative, confident style. However, the proof was factually incorrect.” Hogle aims to hone his students’ evaluative skills, something he argues is “difficult when students are in a hurry and just gobble up text as quickly as they can.”

Have AI quiz you

ChatGPT, along with other forms of AI, can take a large piece of text and break it up. With that said, if given a practice test or question bank, enter the entire piece into AI and tell it to ask you only the questions. This is a great way to test your knowledge without being able to readily see the answers. Think of it like a different – and free – Quizlet.

Let’s face it. AI is not going anywhere. But by using it as a tool in education rather than a crutch – with educators taking the lead in doing so – students will be better suited for using it outside of the classroom.
Learn more about how Gonzaga’s professors are embracing AI.