Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

AI in education: how college is adjusting to the technical advancements

As artificial intelligence (AI) is growing in its influence on education, West Texas A&M University is making decisions on how to adjust to AI advancements.

Whether sticking to traditional teaching, or using AI in the classroom, there are many different opinions on how best to move forward. A panel of faculty members has been created at WT to assess whether or not professors should integrate AI in their classrooms.

“I think it’s more beneficial for us to be teaching students about the use of it and about how it can be helpful in their day to day lives than us trying to just ignore it in the classroom,” Cornette Library Librarian Mark McKnight said. “AI is here to stay, and now we just have to figure out how to kind of live with it.” 

Just like the world has adapted to using technology such as the Internet, AI is another big technological advancement.

“I mean, it’s an incredibly powerful tool,” McKnight said. “It’s also probably the most useful research assistant that’s ever been derived or created.”

AI detection tools are already being integrated into educational software to prevent cheating. Turnitin, for example, will flag a student’s paper if it traces that AI has been used. Cornette Library Librarian Bruce Wardlow said that less than 2% of recent papers have been flagged with AI. Because of this, using AI to cheat is not where the big problem lies.

“The bigger question really comes more from, as each of these tools keep getting integrated to the tools, will we know when we’re using generative AI,” Wardlow said.

Non-generative AI tools such as Grammarly are used on a daily basis. These tools can rewrite paragraphs or suggest better ones, leaving the question of plagiarism. More of these tools are being developed every day, and soon it will be hard to identify where AI is.

Even though AI can be a powerful tool when used in an ethical way, it is not always the answer.

“AI is a wonderful shortcut,” Wardlow said. “But if AI goes weird, or if you run into a situation where you can’t use it, you need to be able to fall back on the fundamental skills.” 

Learning to use AI as a tool is an opportunity for students to enhance their resumes. According to Wardlow, employers have already begun looking to hire those who have the AI listed in their skill sets. 

“You know, it’s very important to make sure that you leave university as a very well-rounded student,” Wardlow said.

WT faculty have been required to place one of three pre-written statements into their syllabi for each class to help guide students on how to use AI within that class. WT will continue analyzing how to best prepare students for success in the future world of artificial intelligence.

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About the Contributor
Reagan Riddle
Reagan Riddle, Former Multimedia Reporter
Hi, my name is Reagan Riddle and I’m a senior with a major of Digital Media Communication here at WT. I’m from Plainview, Texas, and I cover all things WT sports here at the Prairie News. I’ve been with Prairie News since August, 2023 and have enjoyed being able to write sports stories that showcase the WT community. My future career plans are to work in the television and movie industry both in front of the camera and behind the camera.

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