Bits on Bots: 'Twas the Night Before Finals

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JDuncan Headshot.jpgJennifer Duncan has been teaching English for twenty years, first at Chattanooga State Community College in Tennessee and now at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College in Atlanta, GA where she is Associate Professor of English.  For the last ten years, she has focused exclusively on online teaching concentrating on creating authentic and meaningful learning opportunities for students in composition and literature courses.


‘Twas the night before finals and all through the halls,Photo by Markus Spiske via UnsplashPhoto by Markus Spiske via Unsplash
Teachers were dealing with frantic phone calls.
The students who’d waited till semester’s end,
Now begged for extensions or to do work again.

Red pens were a-marking and grades calculating.
The final draft essays on the desk accumulating.
There’s not enough coffee; there’s not enough cakes
To make it through the mass of grading that waits.

When, what to my blurry, tired eyes should appear,
But the gleam of my computer beckoning me near.
The ChatGPT login called out from the screen.
Its promise to help me reached out like a dream.

So I typed out a prompt to feed the AI.
It can scan essays for me in the blink of an eye.
It won’t do the whole job, but it offers reprieve,
Highlighting some errors with computerized ease.

With digital fury, it scanned work with glee,
Spotting errors in syntax - a pixelated referee.
Yet, amidst all the whirr as it processed the text,
There still are some issues AI can’t detect.

For remember, dear teacher, in this AI-filled quest,
That no silicon robot can replace what is best.
Armed with a teacher’s skill, wisdom, and grace,
I then graded the full essay at my very own pace.

I can give my attention to ideas and to rhetoric.
I can comment on the essay’s argument and aesthetic.
My time and attention goes to process and writing
With time saved by no longer comma splice fighting.

There’s no CyberClaus
There’s no Robo St. Nick
If you’re looking for shortcuts,
I don’t have a real trick.

But AI gives feedback, and it gives it quite quickly
Though using it sometimes may feel a bit prickly.
It doesn’t grade essays; it won’t do all your work,
But a cyber assistant surely can’t hurt.

Your students can use it to correct their own drafts,
To find their own errors and rhetorical gaffs.
You can even use it as a first run pre-grader,
As long as you take your own look at the work later.

So, my gift to you is this sample AI prompt
To use if you want to give this method a romp.
Use it with caution; use it with care.
It’s not a replacement for your pedagogical flare:

In the realm of essays, where ideas take flight,
I seek AI’s aid to make them grammatically right.
Enhance their structure; let coherence gleam;
Analyze them with care; like a well-crafted dream;

Give 4 suggestions to fortify this writing.
Identify errors; make the vocab exciting.
Now, ask for my essay; let the writing unfold
In the digital realm, where great stories are told.