As a leading provider of digital forensics education at Notion Digital Forensics, we’ve been closely monitoring the impact of large language models (LLMs), like ChatGPT 1, on the educational landscape.
Our Know Your Student (KYS) Approach at Notion Digital Forensics
No teaching can start until you Know Your Student.
At Notion Digital Forensics, we have always focused on high-touch, curated educational experiences instead of mass-produced textbook or self-paced online education websites. This sets us apart from providers that focus on creating automated or low-interaction online courses.
Should we even bother marking papers without Know Your Student?
Where marks matter, Campbell’s Law comes into play. Campbell’s Law states that the more a quantitative social indicator is used for decision-making, the more subject it is to corruption pressures, ultimately leading to the distortion of the social processes it’s meant to monitor2. Put simply, Campbell’s Law here suggests the more the mark matters, the higher the incentive there is to game it.
See no evil, hear no evil
Undoubtedly, there has always been a sense that universities know cheating is more wide-spread than reported3. This may be heightened by the social pressure to help colleagues for institutional students4 5 6
However, when an online tutor oversees 30 or more students without a direct connection, it’s difficult to assess the legitimacy of a student’s performance. Introducing ChatGPT into this environment can make assigning marks to a self-paced course almost meaningless and disadvantage honest students.
Can’t automate away Know Your Student
ChatGPT should be a tutor, not the enemy
If you eliminate marks and focus on gaining competence and encouraging curiosity, and a KYS mindset, then ChatGPT becomes an outstanding tutor instead of the enemy. It’s able to help you learn by plugging in gaps and help students spot ‘hallucinations’.
Some universities are already encouraging staff to adapt to the new post-GPT world by building its use into courses10. Some even are using it as a learning opportunity to show the benefits and risks of the use of large language models11.
AI Tools are already necessary to do good work in forensics
Criminal methods continually evolve, demanding that cyber professionals stay updated with the latest tools and techniques. It’s not uncommon for seasoned professionals like myself to develop custom scripts to counter emerging threats. Naturally, educators offer courses to teach these skills.
However, with the advent of Github Copilot12 and Codex AI 13, courses focusing on Python scripts alone have become outdated and less practical for real-world applications. To remain effective in the post-GPT era, it is crucial that practical professionals adapt and incorporate GPT-based tools into their investigative arsenal or be overwhelmed with unnecessary manual work.
Why we have always focused on Know Your Student
Our education markets have been senior business and government leaders who are high on curiosity and short on time. Our focused approach is designed to maximise the aspects of high-touch education our clients value, such as:
- Personalised instruction tailored to learners’ needs and goals
- Expert guidance and insights from experienced instructors
- Networking with like-minded individuals for collaboration and career advancement
- In-depth exploration of complex topics
- Hands-on activities and real-world simulations to apply knowledge
Where its possible we talk with the student before the course to ensure they are on the right course and they will get some value out of it. We turned away students regularly to save them time. They appreciate this.
ChatGPT becomes a resource instead of a threat
The good thing in such a paradigm is that ChatGPT can be encouraged for use to help them, because it won’t make it unfair for students, and it also enhances discussions and prevents people from being ‘left behind’ for fear of saying something dumb.
A facilitator can personally assess each person’s level of mastery of the topic if this is required, not based on an online submission open to gaming.
The importance of accessibly priced education remains (which is usually non-Know-Your-Student)
I acknowledge the importance of affordable and accessible ‘sliced up textbook’ courses for society. These courses must exist for those who need access to affordable education. But if you’re paying more than a few hundred dollars (say) for a course, students deserve a more engaging and personalised experience. This is where our KYS approach is crucial in the post-ChatGPT world.
Why high touch education wins over self-paced online.
|Comparison Point||High-Touch Education (✓)||Self-Paced Online Websites (✗)|
|Personalized Instruction||✓ Tailored to individual needs||✗ Generic, one-size-fits-all|
|Instructor Interaction & Guidance||✓ Direct access to expert advice||✗ Limited or no interaction|
|Networking Opportunities||✓ In-person, valuable connections||✗ Fewer or less personal interactions|
|Real-time Feedback & Assessment||✓ Immediate, customized feedback||✗ Delayed or automated feedback|
|Hands-on Activities & Real-world Simulations||✓ Interactive, practical learning||✗ Limited or virtual experiences|
|Collaborative Learning Environment||✓ Encourages group problem-solving||✗ Often individualistic|
|In-depth Exploration of Complex Topics||✓ Deep dives, expert insights||✗ May be more superficial|
|Fostering a Learning Community||✓ Stronger connections & support||✗ Remote, disconnected|
|Mitigating the Impact of AI on Assessment||✓ Less reliance on marks, less gaming||✗ Greater risk of AI-driven cheating|
|Immediate Adaptation to Learner’s Progress||✓ Course can be adjusted on-the-fly||✗ Predetermined course structure|
Learn more about our courses, or ask us to add you to the list to be notified of future courses.
- OpenAI (2022). ChatGPT: Optimizing Language Models for Dialogue. [online] OpenAI. Available at: https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt.
- Campbell, D.T. (1979). Assessing the impact of planned social change. Evaluation and Program Planning, 2(1), pp.67–90. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/0149-7189(79)90048-x.
- Eaton, S.E. (2020). Cheating may be under-reported across Canada’s universities and colleges. [online] The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/cheating-may-be-under-reported-across-canadas-universities-and-colleges-129292.
- Brown, P. (2021). Order instituting disciplinary proceedings, making findings and imposing sanctions. [online] Available at: https://pcaob-assets.azureedge.net/pcaob-dev/docs/default-source/enforcement/decisions/documents/105-2021-008-kpmg-australia.pdf?sfvrsn=81a97edf_4 [Accessed 11 Apr. 2023].
- Associated Press (2020). More than 70 West Point cadets accused of cheating on exam. [online] Army Times. Available at: https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2020/12/21/more-than-70-west-point-cadets-accused-of-cheating-on-exam/ [Accessed 11 Apr. 2023].
- Isaac, A. and Editor, A.I.C. (2022). Exam cheating at UK audit firms uncovered by watchdog. The Guardian. [online] 21 Dec. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/dec/21/exam-cheating-at-uk-audit-firms-uncovered-by-watchdog.
- UNSW,. New AI detection tool in Turnitin. [online] Available at: https://www.student.unsw.edu.au/notices/2023/03/new-ai-detection-tool-turnitin [Accessed 11 Apr. 2023].
- Alimardani, A; Jane, E (2023). We pitted ChatGPT against tools for detecting AI-written text, and the results are troubling. [online] UNSW Newsroom. Available at: https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/science-tech/we-pitted-chatgpt-against-tools-detecting-ai-written-text-and-results-are [Accessed 11 Apr. 2023].
- Fowler, G; We tested a new ChatGPT-detector for teachers. It flagged an innocent student. (2023). Washington Post. [online] Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2023/04/01/chatgpt-cheating-detection-turnitin/
- Liu, D; Bridgeman, A. J, (2023). How can I update assessments to deal with ChatGPT and other generative AI? – Teaching@Sydney. [online] Available at: https://educational-innovation.sydney.edu.au/teaching@sydney/how-can-i-update-assessments-to-deal-with-chatgpt-and-other-generative-ai/.
- Harris, C. (2023). Medical science students were told to use ChatGPT. This is what it wrote. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/medical-science-students-were-told-to-use-chatgpt-this-is-what-it-wrote-20230309-p5cqs4.html
- GitHub. (2022). GitHub Copilot · Your AI pair programmer. [online] Available at: https://github.com/features/copilot
- openai.com. (2022). OpenAI Codex. [online] Available at: https://openai.com/blog/openai-codex