AI and EAP: perspectives from BALEAP members, October 2023

Following the launch of Chat GPT in November 2022, more AI-based tools have become available to the general public, and discussion about the potential impacts of AI on all aspects of society has broadened. In the HE sector, the use of AI tools by students in coursework is a particular source of interest (and concern?), and there has recently been a lot of discussion, on the list, of how we should attempt to understand the use of AI in an EAP context, and how we should respond. This post is an attempt to summarise key themes and questions raised in this discussion, as a starting point for further discussion and research.  I have focused on emails to the thread during the period 6 - 13 October 2023. Student use of AI to assist in the learning process All contributors to the thread either stated explicitly or implied that there is scope for students to use generative AI to develop their language and academic skills, and that there is a role for EAP specialists in ad
To be Synchronous or Asynchronous? That is the question.          Over the last months, a lot of pre-sessional programmes are organized and designed in the UK, and in other universities all over the world. Here, in China we have already experienced this new normality of online teaching, so I would like to share a few thoughts with you. Before, I start, please allow me to share this with you; online teaching is here to stay. Some of the things we did during this period seem far too convenient and we are reluctant to go back. For example, organizing and conducting personal tutorials. But today we are going to talk about something else; should we have live sessions or record classes for our students. My answer is: BOTH. WHY? Because students need both. My experience so far has shown that students become excited with live sessions at the beginning and then their motivation goes down. Also, it’s always useful having a video posted in Moodle for future reference. To be honest w

As Teaching Moves Online, Combating the Threats Posed by Ghost Writers is Perhaps More Important Now

The University of Nottingham 29th March, 2020 Essay mills and ghostwriting (or ‘contract writing’ as they might prefer) have been a concern of mine for some time. Being able to tell a writer what you want them to research and write in exchange for money, even choosing the grade quality of the final paper, is to me the dark web of Higher Education: a place where the vulnerabilities of students are exploited for financial gain and which could lead to harmful longer-term consequences for those who succumb. I remember almost ten years ago privately tutoring a postgraduate student who on one occasion showed me a sample of his written work, work that he'd 'written' outside of our lessons. It demonstrated a grasp of English way beyond anything I'd seen him produce whilst I was physically sat with him. Vividly, I recall seeing the phrase 'the monotony and drudgery of...' Naturally, alarm bells started to ring and I suspected the integrity of his work may hav