Author Archives: Reign Reynolds

The Influence of AI: Both in and Outside of the Classroom

As online college classes become a new normal, Artificial Intelligence usage has skyrocketed. After speaking with the administration, teachers, and students at Chabot College, I have gathered their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with AI both in and outside of the classroom.

From an ethical standpoint, AI usage in education is widely considered cheating. In a survey conducted by BestColleges, a website that provides academic and career resources for college students, out of 1,000 undergrad and graduate college students, 51% stated that AI constitutes plagiarism. Additionally, 41% stated that using AI for exams and assignments is morally wrong. A survey I conducted of 15 Chabot College students yielded similar results. In the survey of Chabot students, 68% stated that they believe using AI is plagiarism. 

The use of AI to write essays, solve problems, and essentially do your work for you seemed to be the common reason for this result. One student stated, “It’s like hiring someone else to write your work for you.”

Another Chabot student shared a different opinion, saying, “To be honest, it’s a mix. You can cheat, yet also it can help you.”

One of the AI tools, ChatGPT, is familiar to many college students and staff. ChatGPT is a generative AI website that can provide answers or statements based on keywords or a prompt that the user enters. This is an example of generative AI. According to a study done in early 2023 by Intelligent, a news source for students, about 30% of college students use this program. Out of those students, 46% use it for homework and other assignments. These statistics made me curious about how Chabot instructors feel about AI usage in their classrooms. 

One Chabot College instructor mentioned that “students don’t even try to proofread and revise [their work] to personalize it for the particular assignment!”

Despite ChatGPT being one of the most popular generative AI sites, another form of generative AI rising in popularity is image creators. Similar to ChatGPT, you can put in a description or prompt of an image you’d like to create, and within seconds, you will have a computer-generated image. 

A robot working diligently at a desk, equipped with a laptop and a book, showcasing its multitasking abilities while actual human students are sitting in the back doing school work.
AI generated image that used this article as the prompt, by Bing Image Creator

One student voiced their concerns about artistic integrity with the use of AI image creators. “Not a fan at all. People have been caught making AI-generated art by having the AI learn and copy from preexisting artists to make their own art, which I think is incredibly lazy [and] also theft,” they stated.

However, the responses from Chabot students about image creators were mixed in comparison to their thoughts on plagiarism. Other students feel like generative AI can be beneficial and harmful depending on the intent of the user. “I feel like it’s a double-edged sword. It can help us in many creative ways, yet it can hurt us by not using our minds and cheating.”

Another even admits their admiration for AI image generators, “I think sites like ChatGPT are a bit of a cheat, mainly because I prefer to do my own writing, but I LOVE image generators.”

Due to the increasingly negative reputation of AI usage, many people have misconceptions that AI is just a technology that creates something based on prompts from the user. However, that is only true for generative AI. In reality, AI is in most of the technology people use every day. Many virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google are all examples of AI. Many of these virtual assistants were designed with machine learning capabilities. This means that over time, without having to be programmed to do so, they can self-improve and become more efficient. 

Another example of this is Grammarly. According to their own website, they use AI and natural language detection to improve their grammar detection software. According to a survey done by Grammarly, students felt more confident in their writing after using the program as opposed to before. 

Once again, mixed responses were gathered from Chabot students about their thoughts on AI usage outside of the classroom. Some students continued with the general reasoning of threats to integrity. 

“I think it’s wrong to replace hardworking artists or anyone else’s work with AI,” states one student. 

Another student responds, “AI can be useful and will eventually be in many sectors and industries. But I do hope that it is more of a tool than the norm.”

Others mention the potential harm AI could cause in the entertainment industry. “For those who are in entertainment … AI-generated actors are going to be used in TV/film, I believe it will contribute toward a lack of emotional connection to its audience.”

Another student shares a similar view, saying, “From the view of a film major, it scares me if the film industry doesn’t utilize it correctly. If they use it to replace writers to have AI write stories based on prompts, it’s not gonna work.”

I believe that this Chabot student says it best that, “AI usage is inevitable. It may not be for everyone, but technology changes, and it adapts.”

Artificial intelligence usage continues to pose many concerns and benefits in and outside of the classroom. However, it is a technology that will continue to evolve and remain a big part of everyday technology. While artificial intelligence was created with great intention, time will tell what its true impact will be.

Laptops in use by office workers with a computer brain icon in the background symbolzing AI usage.
AI generated image that used this article as the prompt, by Bing Image Creator

The Extraordinary Journey of Titawny Cook

“I always wanted to come to Ukraine, it’s been a goal of mine to come to this country in this time of war,” — these heartbreaking words marked my first time I met Titawny Cook. He is a proud Chabot graduate who is in Ukraine now covering the latest news about the war for the Chabot Spectator.

Titawny’s background is solid: he served in the United States Marines doing combat logistics and security forces operating as a Cpl of the Guard and fireteam leader in Iraq. We met on Chabot College campus when Titawny was looking for any Ukrainians out there. It was a nice meeting if not considering the context of war in my native country Ukraine. 

At college Titawny had leadership positions starting with Speech and Debate, which laid the groundwork for pretty much everything. Public speaking, confidence, political analysis, and competitive debate over domestic and international policies made Titawny a great journalist. ‘’I had a radio show that I hosted with other students for a good number of years, and this gave me good training for public interviews’’, said Titawny Cook.

This experience made a strong foundation for Titawny to decide to relocate to Ukraine to help Ukrainian Armed Forces. He also wrote for the college newspaper at this time, and he enjoyed this educational training. So much so that he eventually came around full circle to do this again.

Being a journalist and adventure seeker he embarked on a great volunteering mission: to find military work or news agency work in Ukraine, starting in Kyiv. Titawny says, there are many options to accomplish this goal, but there is an express need for fighters and infantry positions. 

Being actively involved in life in Ukraine, Titawny continues sharing his firsthand experience from the heart of Ukraine — its capital Kyiv — with all the Chabot Spectator readers. 

“It took time to get acquainted with the idea of leaving home for a long duration where I would have no friends and no support, or so I believed. Riding an overnight train with two very large suitcases, one of them carrying body armor. It was Ukraine that I was worried about because traveling with body armor could be perceived as a threat by military security forces. It was indeed, and I was questioned about why I had such a heavy suitcase.”

Titawny Cook shared with The Spectator his feelings about living in Ukraine. He said he actually loves Ukraine and especially Kyiv, and he is very proud to be there and so far has made very solid connections, including very strong friendships, in a very short time period. 

‘’I have done very well here, and I plan to stay for a good period of time and contribute to the fabric and rebuilding of this country. I have experienced nothing but real and very courteous people since I have been in the country, and any rumors or fears of people back home that I heard about before arriving here were actually untrue, and like they say, “You don’t know until you try it for yourself.’’ Titawny’s goal is to eventually find military work or news agency work here in Ukraine, starting in Kyiv.

“I hope to land with UAF (Ukrainian Armed Forces) public affairs or a journalist position with a local news agency covering the war, but overall I hope to build lasting relationships here because the strength in people is unbelievable and outstanding in terms of character and strength! ‘’

I know how different and difficult life can be in a foreign country, but I can confidently say that staying in Ukraine for just three months Titawny is doing a great job! And by the way, he is even learning the Ukrainian language to settle down there and start life in the new country from scratch. ‘’Ukraine is beautiful and strong, and regardless of war, this spirit will never be extinguished! ‘’ Titawny said. 

Titawny Cook is one of those multitalented and aspiring students of Chabot College who’s proved his desire to be a real journalist. He’s never given up on his big dream. As one of the proud graduates of Chabot College, Titawny inspires hundreds of students by his dedication to journalism and bravery in the profession. 

Despite being dangerous during the war, Titawny faced the challenge to go abroad and serve as a journalist in Ukraine. 

The Chabot Spectator wishes Titawny Cook good luck and success. Chabot College is proud of your fearlessness and eagerness for new life experiences!

From Physical Shelves to Virtual Carts:  Students Weigh In On the Bookstore’s Closure

Now that Chabot College’s bookstore has transitioned to a new virtual platform, students share their mixed reactions and concerns ranging from accessibility and convenience to nostalgia about all the great things the in-person store used to offer.

Our bookstore was part of one of the many Barnes & Noble Education bookstores. Barnes & Noble Education, or BNED, is a spinoff corporation of the Barnes & Noble Retail bookstores. The company has operated over 700 college-campus bookstores. However, many of these stores are closing and turning virtual due to financial stress, Chabot’s being one of them. 

Now, books are available for purchase online in the new virtual bookstore. An email was sent out in late August to all students with instructions on how to get to the online bookstore, set up an account, and highlights some new features.

I asked students for their initial reaction to hearing about the bookstore closure and got a range of emotions. “I’m sad the bookstore is closing. The staff was always super friendly,” stated Amirah. 

Another student, Saroyah, was not concerned about its closing, “It’s not a huge deal to me, but I hope they turn the space into something productive.”

A concern was raised for our students who don’t have an address. How will they get these books shipped? Since the online bookstore offers no in-store pickup options, a shipping-only model could present a challenge for many. Fortunately, you can have your books delivered to the campus library, which is still open. The address for the library is Chabot College, Attn: Library, 25555 Hesperian Blvd Hayward, CA 94545.

One student made a point about potential issues with certain majors. “[The virtual bookstore] is more convenient for hybrid and online students, but it makes it harder for art students to buy their supplies now,” stated Giselle, an art student at Chabot.

Another concern for others is navigating the new website. For many who loved the bookstore’s welcoming environment and friendly staff, losing that to a website can be disheartening. Not to mention, in-person options are great for those who don’t have easy access to technology or may not be as comfortable using it without help. 

When you first go to the new site, knowing where to start can be a bit overwhelming and difficult. If you are already familiar with the school website, you can search “Bookstore FAQ” and the first link will take you to a page showing you how to set up your account with screenshots as an aid to get you started. The campus library also offers support with the bookstore website if needed.

Navigating a new virtual platform has been a concern for many. A Chabot student agreed with this sentiment saying, “The virtual bookstore is a bit confusing, and I miss the snacks. The search engine isn’t very effective.” 

The online platform also comes with a few logistical hiccups and concerns. Logan, another Chabot student, shared his concerns, “I think it’s inconvenient. I like a place to go to purchase my books [in person], and the online site has a lot of shipping issues. I liked having the option to buy scantrons in person.”

The financial implications of the bookstore’s closure also raise eyebrows. Tyler, another student, pointed out the potential contradiction, “It’s contradictory to use the money from closing the bookstore to use on the library. It’s pretty inconvenient for me, but hopefully, it’s convenient for others.”

While there are still many logistical and technical concerns to be addressed, one thing is clear; the online bookstore will be Chabot’s new normal in an increasingly virtual world. Students will continue to voice their opinions but it remains to be seen how Chabot will address the concerns of their diverse student body.