Integrating ChatGPT, Other Generative AI Tools in Higher Education Landscape in Liberia

.... The integration of ChatGPT and other generative AI technologies in Liberia's tertiary education landscape offers promising opportunities to enhance learning and research.

The academic landscape in Liberia, like many other countries, is been transformed by advancements in technology. One of the most significant developments in recent times is the emergence of ChatGPT, a generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool created by OpenAI, a firm in the United States of America. While ChatGPT presents numerous opportunities to enhance the educational experience, it also brings with it new challenges for educators, particularly in the realm of academic integrity.

ChatGPT is a variant of the GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3), an artificial intelligence language model developed by OpenAI. It is specifically designed to generate human-like text in a conversational style and was introduced in 2021. GPT-3 is based on the Transformer architecture and is widely used in natural language processing tasks.

It (GPT-3) is notable for its size, with 175 billion parameters, making it one of the largest language models currently available. It is also notable for its ability to perform a wide range of language tasks, including translation, summarization, question answering, and text generation, with little or no task-specific training. Its content generation ability is one of the many features that make it a powerful tool in higher education, thus creating new concerns. 

One of the primary and trending concerns of tertiary-level educators is the potential for students to misuse ChatGPT to produce plagiarized assignments. With the vast amounts of information accessible through ChatGPT, its ability to generate human-like responses and provide instant information on various subjects, students are often tempted to copy and paste content directly into their work, without proper citation or acknowledgment of sources. This raises concerns about plagiarism and the authenticity of students' work.

These concerns are based on the lack of a robust and comprehensive “detection regime” for the use of these AI-powered tools in education. In Liberia, our situation is further exacerbated by the fact that this is a new phenomenon to many of our educators who already lack of basic technology skills, lest I say the skills required to help them distinguish students’ actual work from AI-assisted work. How do we address these concerns? 

There are several things we can do. First we need to create awareness and provide education on the importance of academic integrity and the potential pitfalls of relying solely on AI language models like ChatGPT. Students need to understand that academic success is not solely about finding answers quickly but rather about developing critical thinking, analytical skills, and problem-solving abilities.

Next, we need to train our educators to effectively incorporate ChatGPT into their teaching.  Educators at the tertiary level need to familiarize themselves with tools like ChatGPT and its capabilities. Professional development programs should be implemented to equip educators with the necessary knowledge and skills to leverage AI tools effectively.

These programs can provide training on understanding AI algorithms, evaluating AI-generated content, and utilizing ChatGPT as a teaching aid. Giving educators the ability to juxtapose actual student work with AI-assisted work will be crucial in providing quality tertiary education in Liberia. On the other hand, our educators must be willing to adapt to the changing landscape and foster an environment that cultivates critical thinking, learning, and integrity among their students.

Another way of addressing concerns about ChatGPT and other generative AI tools is by ensuring that academic institutions establish clear guidelines and policies on their use(s) in the classroom or coursework. These guidelines should explicitly outline the expectations regarding academic integrity and the responsible use of technology. Additionally, providing support and resources for both educators and students can foster an environment where AI and academic integrity can coexist harmoniously.

Finally, the integration of ChatGPT and other generative AI technologies in Liberia's tertiary education landscape offers promising opportunities to enhance learning and research. However, it also presents a challenge for educators, particularly when it comes to upholding academic integrity in this evolving landscape. By applying the suggestions made in this article, we will be able to ensure that technology enriches our tertiary education landscape while preserving the values of honesty, trust, and respect for intellectual property in the academic community.