OPINION: Blayne Haggart discusses importance of student essays in post-secondary

Brock University Associate Professor of Political Science Blayne Haggart wrote a piece recently published in the Globe and Mail about the lessons that can be learned from essay writing as a form of evaluation during post-secondary studies.

He writes:

“There are few things in the undergraduate experience as unloved and misunderstood as the student essay. We all know its crimes: It’s boring and repetitive. It can fail to engage the student and leave the professor despairing at having to mark piles of awkwardly written assignments, year after year after year.

When ChatGPT was unleashed on an unsuspecting world last November, the engineers responsible almost certainly believed they were, among other things, helping to liberate students from the drudgery of having to conceptualize, research and write essays.

As we all know by now, generative AI can create output that resembles human-produced texts and avoids easy detection. The problem in disciplines for which the student essay is our evaluation workhorse is obvious.

Students are beginning their first full post-ChatGPT school year, which makes this a great time not just to think about generative AI’s effect on education, but on what is lost when the essay is sidelined.”

Continue reading the full article on the Globe and Mail website.

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