New ChatGPT eyed for better learning at universities

Haya Ajjan eagerly sat in front of her computer on Monday, joking she was on the edge of her seat, watching OpenAI announce its newest iteration of ChatGPT.

“I thought, right away, this is going to change personalized learning,” said Ajjan, associate dean at Elon University’s Love School of Business in North Carolina.

ChatGPT’s newest version, GPT-4o (the “o” standing for “omni,” meaning “all”), has a more realistic voice and quicker verbal response time, both aiming to sound more human. The version, which should be available to free ChatGPT users in coming weeks—a change also hailed by educators—allows people to interrupt it while it speaks, simulating more emotions with its voice and translating languages ​​in real time. It can also understand instructions in text and images and has improved video capabilities.

The new version adds to the tsunami of interest in generative artificial intelligence since ChatGPT’s launch in Nov. 2022. Over the last two years, some in higher education have shunned AI, while others embraced it, and the majority have cautiously begun tinkering.

Ajjan said he immediately thought the new vocal and video capabilities could allow GPT to serve as a personalized tutor. Personalized learning has been a focus for educators grappling with the looming enrollment cliff and for those pushing for student success.

“That application in education is really profound,” Ajjan said. She gave the example of solving a math problem, where GPT could walk a student through solving the equation.

With its announcement, OpenAI released a video showing that very example.

“The technology would allow us to lift up the learning curve,” Ajjan said, describing the Bloom’s 2 Sigma Problem, which theorizes students that get one-on-one tutoring perform better than those in a standard classroom environment. “That problem would be resolved; this is a game changer.”

Balancing Concerns and Benefits

As with all things at the intersection of AI and education, the latest advances are also welcomed with caution.

“Despite the advancements of GPT-4o, it’s important to remember that GenAI tools should be used to augment, not replace, the traditional learning experience,” said Darren Person, chief digital officer at Cengage Group, an education and technology firm in Boston. “As the educational community experiments with these tools, it is imperative that the safety and privacy of students and faculty are not put at risk.”

While promoting the recent advances for the potential personalized learning and tutor support, Person said tech companies are releasing these models to capture data to improve the technology, so “it’s important to be cautious, as adopting these models too early can pose a significant risk.”

Risks aside, Gašper Beguš, director of the speech and computing lab at the University of California, Berkeley, said the new technology could help supplement learning by delving deeper into specific concepts.

“When you have a book and don’t understand a passage, you have to ask someone,” Beguš said. “With this, if you don’t understand a subsection, [GPT] can answer you. It’s super powerful; the future is in the very personalized curriculum they will be able to offer.”

There’s also the potential for role playing, according to Ajjan. She pointed to mock interviews students could do to prepare for job interviews, or, for example, use GPT to play the role of a buyer to help students prepare in an economics course.

AIs That Listen and Speak

GPT-4o joins a growing number of offerings from tech companies focused on verbal communication. Those include Google’s Gemini Live, announced Tuesday, which lets users have real-time conversations with the chatbot. OpenAI also has earlier forays into voice responses: premium and enterprise models of ChatGPT already offered it, with five types of voices.

Terumi Miyazoe, a senior associate professor at Tokyo University of Science, used a previous form of GPT’s voice-interaction features last fall to create a lesson design. She said it was “comparable to a colleague.”

In a case study she conducted using the voice interaction features with five students, she found the students asked the bot more challenging questions, something they might not have done with their professor.

Ajjan agreed, saying the tool could also questions otherwise asked during office hours supplement.

“What will happen is students will feel more comfortable to ask questions they didn’t want to in class, and dive deeper into the larger subject I’m teaching,” she said.

Beguš said that since the voice of the new ChatGPT sounds more human, the tool could see a bigger uptick in use compared to a system like Apple’s Siri, which he said sounds robotic. That said, he does not believe the talking AIs will serve as replacements for teachers.

“You can ask ChatGPT about anything you want to learn about, but you need the inspiration to learn in the first place,” he said. “I think that’s what we go to humans for. You want people who are inspired by an object of study and have a human conversation.”

He and Ajjan both said it is important to continue evaluating the technology and its potential pitfalls — but to continue experimenting.

“This technology is going to get better with every version, but it’s important to understand the limitations while still experimenting,” Ajjan said. “We can’t shy away from it. Even the faculty who say, ‘I don’t know where to start,’ or ‘This doesn’t impact my field,’—I don’t think that’s a thing anymore. OpenAI opened the entry field by removing the cost associated with it.”

GPT-4o allows all users to access GPT-4. The older GPT-3.5 served as the previous free model. The new version has fewer false facts—otherwise known as hallucinations—and it is quicker and more nuanced. That could encourage more professors to utilize the technology, according to Ethan Mollick, an associate professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an AI analyst.

“[The] The biggest actual implication of today’s OpenAI announcement is very practical: The top barrier I see when I give talks on using AI is that people don’t pay for AI to start, and they use GPT-3.5 (the free model) and are disappointed, not knowing that the GPT-4 model is 10 times as good,” he said in a LinkedIn post. “Now everyone around the world gets GPT-4 free. This also has huge implications for education and other uses where equity of access to top models has been an ongoing concern.”

IIT Delhi concludes first batch of entrepreneurship course, Venture Studio | Education News

The Entrepreneurship Development Cell (eDC) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi conducted the first season of Venture Studio, an entrepreneurship course to support IIT Delhi students in their journey to build successful startups from scratch. This has been held in collaboration with several alumni of IIT Delhi.

Drawing from a pool of over 350 registrations, 40 students from diverse academic backgrounds were selected to participate in the first season. “These students were handpicked for their passion, creativity, and drive to make a difference in the entrepreneurial landscape,” the official release stated.

The curriculum of Venture Studio Season-I was designed to cover a wide range of topics critical to entrepreneurship, including ideation, market research, business model development, funding strategies, product development, marketing, and scaling.

Through a combination of lectures, workshops, case studies, and interactive discussions, participants gain invaluable knowledge and practical skills essential for navigating the complex startup ecosystem.

In this eight-week long program, each week, students were engaged in sessions covering different aspects of startup creation and growth, led by entrepreneurs turned mentors.

Festive offers

The Venture Studio program concluded with Pitch Day, where the selected students presented their startup ideas before a panel of alumni, including Vikram Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner of IvyCap Ventures; Ruchira Shukla, Head of South Asia for Venture Capital; Vivek Kumar, Founder at Venture Garage; Ashish Padidar, Partner at Bellwether; and Priyank Garg, Managing Partner of IAN Alpha Fund. The students briefed the panel about what they learned during the course and how they were going to apply it to their planned and already existing startups. Some of the mentors who were part of the course’s teaching faculty also made up the audience on Pitch Day.

There was also a question round followed by each pitch, which helped the panel get a better picture of the students’ ideas about their venture.

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Gulf News Edufair 2024: Embracing lifelong learning for career success

Taher Kapasi emphasized the shifting mindset towards lifelong learning among today’s students. “Today’s students are much more aware and conscious of lifelong learning, which is about adapting and building the right skill set. While many parents still emphasize getting high grades, the availability of information has shifted the focus towards lifelong learning. It’s increasingly becoming embedded in the minds of the next generation.”

Reflecting on the evolution of education, Mustufa Ali shared his insights from both his student and trainer experiences. “From my experience as a student and now as a trainer, universities have significantly changed their approach to lifelong learning. Back in my day, you either attended university in person or studied online. Today, the concept of remote learning has evolved, with pre -recorded videos and platforms like LinkedIn offering courses that students can access anytime. For example, at Phoenix, we not only teach financial curriculum but also offer workshops on using spreadsheets, writing CVs, and other skills that enhance workplace readiness.”

Natasha Parikh highlighted the importance of a holistic approach to education. “Academics are important, but lifelong learning is a mindset that needs to be adopted across families, schools, universities, and organizations. Universities are not just looking for high grades but also at how students apply their academic knowledge practically. With AI and other technologies , it’s crucial to continually upskill. Universities are adapting to this need by fostering environments that encourage experiential learning.”

The panel also delved into practical advice for students aiming to showcase their lifelong learning skills to potential employers.

Taher Kapasi advised on the importance of networking and personal branding. “Networking is crucial. Engage in networking sessions, build your social profile, and participate in practical experiences. It’s about demonstrating curiosity, expanding your knowledge, and building confidence. Personal branding on platforms like LinkedIn can also be powerful. Your online presence should reflect your professional identity consistently.”

When asked about the relevance of the traditional CV, Mustufa Ali noted that while it remains important, demonstrating a willingness to learn new skills is critical. “The CV is still important, but it’s not the only factor. Showing a willingness to learn new skills is critical. Involvement in diverse projects can demonstrate your skill set effectively. It’s about showcasing a learning mindset and adaptability to change.”

Natasha Parikh addressed the pressures students face from parents who may not fully understand the importance of developing soft skills. “Yes, there is pressure from parents and society. It’s crucial to balance academics with extracurricular activities that build soft skills. Lifelong learning is not about learning everything but focusing on quality over quantity. Participation in clubs and projects demonstrates the application of academic knowledge. “