April 19, 2024
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OpenAI has its first higher education customer: Arizona State University (ASU).

Today, ASU announced that it’s collaborating with OpenAI to bring ChatGPT, OpenAI’s AI-powered chatbot, to the university’s researchers, staff and faculty.

Starting in February, ASU will run an open challenge to invite faculty and staff to submit ideas for ways to use ChatGPT — focusing on student success. new avenues for research and streamlining organizational processes.

“As OpenAI begins to explore how to market or align a business for universities, they’re looking for a design partner, a thought partner, and I think that’s a significant measure of why we’ve come together today to make this announcement,” Lev Gonick, ASU’s chief information officer, told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The collaboration with OpenAI ensures ASU becomes an active participant in defining new uses of gen AI in higher education.”

The OpenAI-ASU deal illustrates the shifting opinions around AI in education as the tech advances faster than curriculums can keep up.

Last summer, schools and colleges rushed to ban ChatGPT over plagiarism and misinformation fears. Since then, some have reversed their bans, while others have begun hosting workshops on generative AI tools and their potential for learning.

ASU — unsurprisingly — is firmly in the camp of AI as a tool for educational good.

“The open call to faculty, staff and researchers ensures that we can provide ongoing and meaningful support that lays the foundations for our teams to harness the true potential of these technologies to augment human learning and creativity, not replace it,” Gonick said. “This approach is part of a strategic plan to pave the way for our students, ensuring that we expand the use of AI in a responsible and scalable manner across the university. We aim to foster an environment where AI resources are utilized effectively and ethically, setting a foundation for the broader integration of these technologies into our academic community.”

Concretely, ASU will provide ChatGPT Enterprise accounts to its full-time employees. Launched in August, ChatGPT Enterprise can perform the same tasks as ChatGPT, such as writing emails, debugging computer code and drafting essays. But it also adds privacy and data analysis capabilities on top of the vanilla ChatGPT, as well as enhanced performance and customization options.

For example, ChatGPT Enterprise offers an admin console with tools to manage how people within an organization use ChatGPT. Shareable conversation templates let users build internal workflows leveraging ChatGPT, while credits for OpenAI’s API platform let organizations create custom ChatGPT-powered solutions.

In addition, ChatGPT Enterprise comes with priority access to ChatGPT and unlimited access to Advanced Data Analysis, a ChatGPT feature that allows users to have the AI analyze data, create charts, solve math problems and more, including from uploaded files.

Gonick says that ASU will play a “dual role” in managing its ChatGPT Enterprise accounts and engaging in efforts pertaining to the AI’s support and “effective use.”

“In this inaugural phase, our focus is on providing faculty, staff, and researchers at ASU with priority access to our AI tools,” he added. “Right now, we’re hyper-focused on putting ChatGPT Enterprise into the hands of our knowledge core … to be at the forefront of discovery and implementation.”

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