Artificial intelligence in the classroom: introducing ChatGPT, DALL-E


Lehigh is responding to AI chatbots ChatGPT and DALL-E programs, which have been rising in popularity since their launch in November 2022.

ChatGPT and DALL-E can create responses to an array of questions and prompts instantly using AI technology. The programs threaten academic integrity, as they make it hard to tell if the generated work was done by students or a computer, which is leading to conversations about AI in the classroom.

With the rapid rate at which these technologies are being developed, Nathan Urban, Lehigh’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, advised all faculty to discuss resources like ChatGPT and DALL-E in the classroom. 

“What’s really important is that professors talk to students about when they think it is appropriate to use and when they think it is not appropriate to use,” Urban said.  “It’s critical that we have students understand both of those things, the effective use and the ethical use.” 

By submitting any prompt, ChatGPT has the ability to generate paragraphs of informative writing, which enable students to complete assignments in minutes. 

Journalism professor Meredith Cummings said she plans on giving her students the ability to use generative AI. She said these tools can be helpful to gather information in the courses she teaches, but her students must be able to synthesize and put the information into context on their own.

She said she wants students to experience how using it can enhance or hurt their work.

“You can get some information that can be helpful, but it’s not going to do your job for you, and certainly not do it well,” Cummings said.

Only using generative AI resources on assignments will not get a perfect grade or even an A grade in Cummings’ classes. She said she feels she can detect the flaws of ChatGPT work.

“There was no voice,” Cummings said. “There was no tone. There was no personality. And voice and tone really matter in journalism. Whether it’s an opinion piece or not, you have to have context as well, and it didn’t have any of that.” 

Similarly to ChatGPT, another generative AI tool DALL-E can create images when given keywords and phrases. DALL-E is prominent in the graphic design and marketing fields with its ability to create flyers and logos.

Marketing professor Deidre Trabert Malacrea said she is looking to incorporate generative AI in her social media and digital marketing class. 

Similar to Cummings, ChatGPT and DALL-E won’t succeed alone in Malacrea’s courses but can be seen as a starting point for students.

It also can be kind of a springboard for some idea generation, if you ask the right questions,” Malacrea said. “(It is) not a substitute for good quality.”  

Although detailed and concise, the answers that ChatGPT generates are not always correct. 

Malacrea said she doesn’t think ChatGPT is accurate and does not attribute real research well enough for it to be believable. 

Anthropology professor Armando Anzellini said he wants to expose his students to tools like ChatGBT and DALL-E — which are free to anyone with a mobile device — because they will likely become a prominent aspect of their future work resources.

“I want students to realize that…whatever degree you get is not necessarily the thing you will end up working as,” Anzellini said. “It’s better to use your time at the university to learn things and improve yourself because then that’s going to lead to future improvements on yourself.”

Anzellini said he does not think the university can prevent the use of ChatGPT, and Urban said he does not want to limit it. 

Urban said he hopes Lehigh can be known as a place where students are properly trained in programs like these.

“They’re powerful tools,” Urban said. “We’re not gonna be able to stop them even if we wanted to…but I think they raise important issues: both in terms of how to make them effective, and in questions about their ethical use.”

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