Harvard will introduce AI professors to its flagship programming course for the fall semester


June 30, 2023 | 00:34

AI has a new job.

Harvard is leveraging AI to help teach its most popular coding class next school year.

Starting in September, Ivy League schools Introduction to Computer Science, or CS50, will launch a ChatGPT-like tool that aims to help both its human professor counterparts and students in the classroom, according to the school newspaper, The Harvard Crimson.

The CS50 bot will be able to answer frequently asked questions from students and should be a more approachable version of a classroom professor.

Our hope is that, through artificial intelligence, we can eventually approximate a 1:1 teacher:student ratio for every student in CS50, providing them with software-based tools that, 24/7, can support their learning at a pace and in a style that works best for them individually, CS50 professor David J. Malan told the paper.

Harvard is introducing a ChatGPT-like tool called the CS50 bot that will help students with a popular coding course next school year.

Harvard expects the CS50 bot will be able to use artificial intelligence to help them find bugs in their code, provide feedback on the design of student programs, explain unfamiliar lines of code or error messages, and answer individual questions.

While similar in nature to ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot, which Malan says are currently too useful, the CS50 bot will both work by guiding students to an answer rather than handing it to them.

The incorporation of the AI ​​tool comes just months after Harvard implemented an AI policy, the document noted.

The Ivy League school will be using the ChatGPT-like tool starting in September.
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As the university’s flagship computer course, the CS50 was naturally the first to implement its own version.

Malan called the CS50 robot an evolution of that tradition.

The professor cautioned that he expects early versions of the CS50 bot to occasionally underperform or even give students incorrect answers.

CS50 professor David J. Malan said the school’s hope is that they believe AI can approximate a 1:1 teacher:student ratio for every student in the course.
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Well, make it clear to students that they should always think critically when taking information as input, whether it’s from humans or software, he wrote. But the tools will only get better with feedback from students and teachers. So they too will be part of the process.

While human course staff are currently testing the bot in the summer school version of CS50 and plan to monitor responses throughout the academic year, Malan said CS50 course staff have already used software tools to streamline their jobs.

The department, like many other large courses at the renowned university, has been plagued by complaints of overworked and underpaid course staff, the report said.

Harvard’s introduction to the AI ​​tool comes just months after it implemented an AI policy.
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Malan said he hopes advances in the AI ​​tool will reduce the amount of time professors spend grading homework.

Harvard’s open-arms acceptance of AI in the classroom comes as computer tools proliferate on the Internet, blurring the lines of reality.

Catfishers have flocked to the tool to trick social media users into dating fictional AI-created people.

Earlier this year, a New York attorney relied on ChatGPT to write a legal memo without realizing that the tool was citing several bogus cases.

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