EDU news curated by Kiosk: ChatGPT…and other higher ed news

Microsoft confirms it’s investing billions in the creator of ChatGPT

From CNN: “Microsoft … confirmed it is making a ‘multibillion dollar’ investment in OpenAI, the company behind the viral new AI chatbot tool called ChatGPT. Microsoft, an early investor in OpenAI, said it plans to expand its existing partnership with the company as part of a greater effort to add more artificial intelligence to its suite of products. In a separate blog post, OpenAI said the multi-year investment will be used to ‘develop AI that is increasingly safe, useful, and powerful.’”


ChatGPT passes exams from law and business schools

From CNN Business: “The powerful new AI chatbot tool recently passed law exams in four courses at the University of Minnesota and another exam at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, according to professors at the schools. To test how well ChatGPT could generate answers on exams for the four courses, professors at the University of Minnesota Law School recently graded the tests blindly. After completing 95 multiple choice questions and 12 essay questions, the bot performed on average at the level of a C+ student, achieving a low but passing grade in all four courses. ChatGPT fared better during a business management course exam at Wharton, where it earned a B to B- grade.” 


ChatGPT could turn writing into ‘technical Mad Libs.’ But could it also spark needed change in higher ed?

From PublicSource: “Professor Chris Girman has an idea for an in-class assignment with his students at Point Park University. … He’d like them to generate essays using ChatGPT … Girman, chair of the Department of Literature, Culture and Society, doesn’t want his students to submit AI-generated essays for a grade. He’d like them to critique the chatbot’s work in class. If the essays are ‘beautiful,’ what makes them so? What do the students dislike? Are they happy with the paper that the tool generated on their behalf? Ultimately, Girman wants his students to take ownership of their work and become deeply invested in the process of writing. Through that, he hopes they’ll say: ‘I don’t want this bot to take this away from me.’”


Inside the post-ChatGPT scramble to create AI essay detectors

From Times Higher Education: “Universities may be more likely to stick to what they know, and whatever is developed by Turnitin is likely to be in as much, if not more, demand as its plagiarism checker – which received 232 million submissions in 2021. The company’s chief product officer, Annie Chechitelli, said an AI detector was already in development … A prototype of the software in development has already been shared by the company. It analyses a text to show how many of the sentences were probably written by ChatGPT – and to what degree of certainty. Although certainly a challenge, Ms Chechitelli said she was confident that the tool would work with a high level of accuracy.”


In other news…


From Inside Higher Ed: “Arizona State University, YouTube and the video channel Crash Course announced a partnership this week that offers online, transferable, credit-bearing courses that begin on YouTube. The trio is championing the initiative as one that provides open, low-cost, flexible access to higher education. Students can sign up now for courses that begin in early March. … Crash Course, an educational YouTube channel with more than 14 million subscribers, once prompted Wired magazine to ask, ‘Why isn’t school this cool?’ The channel was started by early YouTube vloggers—or ‘vlogbrothers,’ since they are brothers—John and Hank Green, who ‘raise nerdy to the power of awesome’ on a separate channel for their 3.5 million subscribers.”


Covid relief money helped almost 2/3 of students stay in college, U.S. says

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “According to the report, released by the U.S. Department of Education, over 18 million college students have received direct financial aid through three separate relief measures passed by Congress, a $76-billion windfall aimed at getting colleges and students through the financial fallout of the pandemic. The aid is often referred to collectively as Heerf funding, referencing the Higher Education Emergency Relief Act of 2021. … But that extra federal support for higher education is set to run out in a few months, leaving colleges to make tough decisions about what they can afford to keep doing.”


‘A very promising sign’

From Inside Higher Ed: “After more than two years of declining enrollment numbers, fall 2022 finally brought refreshing news: freshman enrollment, which represented the most significant deficits throughout the pandemic, is up from the previous year, according to the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Nearly 2.34 million freshmen enrolled in a college or university last semester, a 4.3 percent increase over fall 2021 … While the number still remains well below the 2.49 million freshmen who enrolled in 2019, ‘this is a very promising sign for higher education,’ said Doug Shapiro, the research center’s executive director.”


Direct admissions continues to grow

From Inside Higher Ed: “In direct admissions … the student makes a portfolio with their grades and other information that may help a college decide whether to extend an admissions offer. … The portfolios are managed by companies, nonprofit groups and individual colleges. … There is no one date for applications to be submitted or reviewed. … Last year, the program had 10 colleges, admitted 2,000 students and awarded $100 million in scholarships from various sources. This year, the program has 80 colleges, has offered admission to 10,000 students and awarded $600 million in scholarships, and the year isn’t over yet.”


Top HBCUs team up with research universities to promote equity

From Times Higher Education: “Leading historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are banding together with the help of the US’ top association of research institutions in a major new push to overcome systemic race-based barriers to their growth. About a dozen HBCUs are forming research-oriented partnerships with individual members of the Association of American Universities, and using the AAU’s expertise to build their own coalition of higher-performing HBCUs. … HBCUs have long suffered from extremely low rates of public and private investment, noted Stephen Katsinas, professor of higher education and political science at the University of Alabama. Even now, he said, the highest-performing HBCUs are all in the lower ranks of the 133 institutions that the Carnegie Classification defines as R2 level.”


Lawmakers push to allow guns on US university campuses

From Times Higher Education: “The most recent instance involves West Virginia, where the state senate voted 29-4 in favour of legislation to let people bring firearms on to college and university campuses, despite pleas from state university leaders. … The US already has about a dozen states that permit guns on college campuses … New York lawmakers are being asked to join them, despite the state’s Democratic majority, while more plausible campaigns appear possible this year in several other states, including Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina and South Dakota. Idaho lawmakers are considering legislation that would stop colleges putting limits on where guns can be carried.”


In international news…

‘Don’t worry’, China tells students rushing to overseas campuses

From Times Higher Education: “China’s Ministry of Education has eased its citizens’ concerns that a reimposed ban on online learning could frustrate their plans to obtain overseas degrees. In a fresh announcement posted on the Center for Scholarly Exchange website, authorities say students will not be disadvantaged if they cannot secure visas, flights or accommodation in time to attend on-campus classes. ‘Please don’t worry, you can continue to take online classes during the relevant procedures,’ a translation of the document insists. It urges students to keep records of visa appointments, flight cancellations or housing applications as proof that they tried to overcome these hurdles.”


UK students skipping meals because of cost of living crisis

From The Guardian: “Students are skipping meals and relying on hardship funds and family support because of the cost of living crisis, with one in four saying they are in danger of dropping out of university, according to a survey. Research carried out for the Sutton Trust found nearly a quarter of the 1,000 UK students interviewed said they were ‘less likely’ to be able to complete their degree because of cost pressures, while one in three from working class families said they were cutting down on food to save money.”



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