In the age of AI-powered writing, is it vital for university students to learn to jot down?

We imagine that is the case today greater than ever.

In writing classes, students are given the time and help they need to grasp writing not only as a skill, but as what linguist Walter J. Ong called “writing.”Technology that restructures pondering.”

“Technology” isn’t nearly iPhones or spreadsheets – it’s about that Communicating our relationship with the world through the creation of toolsand writing itself is arguably a very powerful pondering tool that university students must master.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, not everyone agrees.

Role of university writing courses

“Remove the required first yr writing course” was the headline of a provocative article published in November.

In this text, Washington State University writing professor Melissa Nicolas writes that while she sees reason to query how effective first-year composition courses have been, “the appearance of generative artificial intelligence is the ultimate nail within the matter. “Coffin.”

In her estimation, “learning to jot down and learning to jot down are two various things.” First-year writing courses are “mostly about learning to jot down, but AI can now try this for us.” Writing to learn is far more complicated and may can only be done by the human mind.”

“Good writing” reflects mental engagement.

We reject this distinction. From the attitude of human learning and development, the grammatically correct prose produced by generative AI like ChatGPT is just not “good writing” – even whether it is or appears to be factually correct – if it lacks mental engagement with its subject reflects. Not to say serious questions on the importance of extracting insights from digital data, issues surrounding data bias, etc.

Composition and other writing courses in the primary yr are a This is an important a part of the best way university students are socialized into types of communication This will serve them well beyond their studies.

Canadian versus American universities

We propose a special solution to the issue raised by Nicolas that first-year composition courses are formulaic and outdated. Universities must dedicate resources to expanding and improving writing programs, including first-year composition.

We need this especially in Canada, where e.g A doctoral thesis conducted by one in all the authors of this text (Taylor Morphett) has shown Composing in the primary yr is traditionally under-emphasized and writing is barely taught fragmentedly.

As undergraduate composition courses began to develop within the United States within the late nineteenth century, In Canada, the emphasis was on fine-tuning literary tastes and reading canonical British literature.

Students sit at a round table.
Writing training is usually viewed by universities as a remedial skill, something students should have already got mastered.

The educational philosophies and teaching approaches that developed from this early period are still present in Canada today. Writing training is usually viewed by universities as a remedial skill, something students should have already got mastered.

In reality, far more writing instruction is required. Today’s students are plunging right into a sea of They have great difficulty finding their way around texts, information and technologiesand ChatGPT has made it harder, not easier, for college kids to discern the credibility of sources.

Writing programs in Canada

Writing courses allow students to understand the critical diversity and power of one in all our greatest technologies: the human act of writing, a system of finite resources but infinite combination possibilities. You learn to think, synthesize, assess the credibility of sources and data, and interact with an audience – none of which AI can do.

Fortunately, some universities have taken the lead in making writing a cornerstone of undergraduate education. For example, the University of Victoria has one high demands on academic writing for all students, no matter subject area. At the University of Toronto Mississauga, Freshmen complete an revolutionary, credit-bearing writing course that needs a “Writing about writing” Approach. In this program, students study writing as an instructional subject itself and not only as a skill. They learn the importance, complexity and social location of educational writing.

One person seen writing with laptop open and pencil in hand.
In writing courses, students can begin to acknowledge the critical diversity and power of one in all our greatest technologies: the human act of writing.
(Yaroslav Shurayev)

Required in any respect universities

All Canadian universities should require an entry-level course in academic writing or communications for all students, together with subject-specific upper-level writing courses that deal with academic and skilled genres of their areas of experience.

Academic and skilled writing is a second language for everybody: nobody is born knowing the right way to properly cite sources or formulate sound business proposals.

We need specialized writing programs that help students understand and communicate complex concepts to a particular audience for a particular purpose in a rhetorically flexible manner and to concentrate on their responsibilities to a human community of readers.

Skills and knowledge to make a difference

Generative AI like ChatGPT cannot do that since it cannot know or “understand” anything. Its job is to generate plausible symbol chains in response to human input, based on data it has been trained on.

We have knowledgeable and talented graduate students with degrees in communications, applied linguistics, English, rhetoric, and related fields, whose expertise in these areas is far needed at institutions across the country.

If Canada wants to coach domestic and international students with the talents and knowledge they should make a difference on the earth, we must train them in writing.

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