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ASU assistant professor weighs pros, cons of using AI tool ChatGPT

ChatGPT has exploded onto the scene. This AI tool is changing the way we look at writing.

TEMPE, Ariz. — ChatGPT. Have you heard of it? Ever used it? The artificial intelligence tool is a fast-growing phenomenon, that combines AI and communication. It can solve math problems, generate computer code, and write sentences, paragraphs, and whole pages that seem very human.

An assistant professor at Arizona State University spoke with 12 News, sharing the pros and cons of using the viral chatbot in the classroom.

The increase of AI is now putting college campuses on high alert after the program ChatGPT was launched a couple of months ago.  

The new tool from the company Open AI allows users to enter a simple prompt to generate something like an essay or story. 

“A lot of teachers are obviously concerned about issues of plagiarism and cheating, which are valid concerns for writing because you want people to learn how to write,” said Jacob Greene, ASU assistant professor of English. “It was kind of a really great opportunity.” 

Within the first few weeks of the semester, ChatGPT blew up in popularity. Greene says he didn’t necessarily look at it as a bad thing, but rather a tool for teaching.  

“We’re having these conversations about the relationship between writing and language, and culture and technology,” he said. “This is a great way to kind of investigate it.”  

Greene asked students to write a paper using open AI tools and then write a reflection on the experience of using it.  

“They were a little hesitant to use it because a lot of them want to be professional writers or either creative writers or content creators,” said Greene. 

But in the process of working with the technology, he says they demystified it. 

“…realizing it produces a lot of kind of bland, generic writing,” he said.  

Greene says it also helped them brainstorm ideas, by quickly asking it questions. 

“What are the 5 biggest ways that social media has changed the way people argue online… and it will spit out, here’s a few different examples,” said Greene. “It’s incredible technology, it is, but really the incredible work was done by human writers in the past that created the text that the database is pulling from.” 

So, while the new tool can be used as a learning tool, in the same breath- it could mean a complete overhaul of the way teachers give assessments too. 

“These tools are kind of here to stay, so if we want to be writers, we need to learn how to work with them.”   

The chatbot has become so popular since its inception two months ago, it’s grown faster than TikTok or Instagram. Right now, ChatGPT is free to use while it’s being tested.


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