End Of Human Teachers? Coming This Fall, AI Chatbot Will Teach An Intro Course At Harvard

If you’re a Harvard student signed up to take an introductory coding course this fall, an AI chatbot might be one of your instructors. 

Beginning in the fall semester, one of Harvard University’s flagship coding courses, CS50: Introduction to Computer Science, will implement artificial intelligence in the instruction of its students, The Harvard Crimson reported. The chatbot will assist students, but a professor will still be the main instructor in the course.

“Our own hope is that, through AI, we can eventually approximate a 1:1 teacher:student ratio for every student in CS50, as by 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,” Professor David Malan, who instructs CS50, told the newspaper.

The AI chatbot will answer questions, assist in finding bugs in students’ code, and explain coding error messages, Malan told the paper. The chatbot will be “similar in spirit” to ChatGPT and help both professors and students, the New York Post reports. Instead of simply handing the answer to students, Malan insists the tech will be “leading students toward an answer” and won’t give “outright solutions.” 

The answers the chatbot gives students can also be reviewed by human course staff, the newspaper says. This feature is in its beta testing stage during the summer course. 

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