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ChatGPT and Its Use by Non-Traditional College Students

ChatGPT has become increasingly popular on college campuses nationwide. If you haven’t heard of it, it is an artificial intelligence platform and students can have human-like conversations with it. Students are using ChatGPT to answer general research questions and get information for other aspects of college life.

It’s also important to understand how non-traditional students are using this software. About 73% of students enrolled in higher education can be classified as nontraditional students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Related: ChatGPT: The Pros and Cons of Using AI in the Classroom

What Is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, software that simulates human-like conversations with users via chat. The key task of a chatbot is to answer a user’s questions with instant messages. 

How Are Non-Traditional Students Using ChatGPT?

As Futurism writer Victor Tangermann noted, college students use ChatGPT to find answers for assignments, write essays, and even complete at-home tests or quizzes. While others may consider these activities cheating, there are quite a few benefits to using ChatGPT.

For instance, non-traditional students could use it to get answers to frequently asked questions about campus services, academic courses and events. Non-traditional students can also use ChatGPT to get help with homework, access study materials, register for classes and provide job-related information.

Additionally, EdTech journalist Andy Viano observed that chatbots such as ChatGPT have the potential to promote social interaction so that students don’t feel alone. This feature could be especially useful for online students who miss the in-person interaction with other students.

Related: Should Universities Embrace ChatGPT?

How Do Non-Traditional College Students Perceive This Software?

Non-traditional college students’ perceptions of ChatGPT differ. Students have come to realize that this software doesn’t always provide the correct information when they seek help with their homework. Some students have even mentioned that they feel like they’re cheating when using it, according to Michael T. Nietzel of Forbes.

However, some students may appreciate the convenience of this software as a useful resource for obtaining information on various academic topics as well as the anonymity of the platform.

Should you decide to try this software for yourself, you may find that there are quite a few benefits to using it. However, be aware that ChatGPT isn’t always reliable and should not be used to replace traditional learning.

Dr. J. Chris Brown is an adjunct instructor in the information technology program at the University. He holds a bachelor of science in information technology with an emphasis in multimedia and visual communication from the University of Phoenix, a master of information systems from the University of Phoenix, and a doctor of education in organizational leadership with an emphasis in higher education leadership from Grand Canyon University. Dr. Brown has over 17 years of web design experience and his research interests include adult learning, e-learning, and technology in the classroom.

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