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What is ChatGPT? Everything You Need to Know as an International Student

In recent months, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots such as ChatGPT. With so much information floating around, it can be difficult to get a clear idea of what this technology is and how it works. You may have heard about ChatGPT being able to pass exams and being used to write assignments. However, certain uses of ChatGPT can be classed as cheating in academic contexts. 

With that in mind, it’s extremely important to understand what ChatGPT is and how it relates to you as an international student. We’ve put together this handy guide with everything you need to know about ChatGPT online and alternatives for assignment help in Australia.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an online chatbot created by OpenAI. Firstly, you might be wondering: what does ‘GPT’ stand for in ChatGPT? It means ‘generative pre-trained transformer’, a type of large language model that uses deep learning to produce text.

ChatGPT was created using a huge pool of written media, such as books, articles, websites and conversations. It uses this data to answer questions with impressive accuracy. Most importantly, it can generate human-like text; that is, text that seems like it was created by a human.

The latest free version was trained using a huge dataset and human AI trainers who programmed it to answer questions even more accurately. This is why everyone is talking about ChatGPT – because the current version is much more impressive than any previous large language models. 

The current free version is called GPT-3. Its newest, much-discussed version, GPT-4, has been created but isn’t free to the public yet.

How does ChatGPT work?

ChatGPT online works like a conversation. When you open the program, you’ll see a chat window (like in a messaging app). In the text box, you can write a question or provide the platform with a prompt. For instance, you could ask, “What are the most famous tourist attractions in Australia?” or you could say, “Write me a 500-word essay on an aspect of Australian history.” 

In only a few seconds, it will give you the answer you requested. After asking it one question and reading its answer, you can even ask follow-up questions to narrow down the answers if you need.

Because it can produce assignment-style answers, ChatGPT has huge implications for the education system. The problem is that it represents a novel, hard-to-detect way for students to cheat

For example, handing in an essay written by AI instead of writing it yourself would constitute a form of plagiarism – meaning you could fail the essay or face more serious consequences. Universities, TAFEs, academics and teachers have started responding to this new technology in various ways.

Can I use ChatGPT for assignments?

The most important thing to understand is that each education provider (in Australia and overseas) is handling ChatGPT and other similar AI software programs differently. You’ll need to familiarise yourself with your institution’s policies and practices regarding AI. If you’re unsure, ask a teacher or staff member for clarification.

Many universities are cracking down on AI software cheating. Some are already using (or planning to use) plagiarism detection software like Turnitin to check for the use of ChatGPT in essays and assignments. Some universities aren’t using these programs yet due to concerns of inaccurate plagiarism accusations resulting from the software.

Some institutions are allowing the use of ChatGPT in assignments, but students must disclose that they have used it – just as you would cite any other kind of source, such as a website or journal article.

As well as using detection software, some education institutions are redesigning assessments so that it’s harder to use AI to complete them, such as reintroducing pen and paper exams.

Finding assignment help in Australia

If you’re studying at an Australian institution and need some help with your work, there are alternative (and safer!) methods for getting assignment help in Australia. 

Your education provider is an excellent place to start. Here you’ll find tutoring services, offering one-on-one support with specific assignments, as well as workshops and information sessions about plagiarism, referencing and essay writing. Check with your institution’s international student support service to find out about the support available.

You could also consider hiring a private tutor to assist you with the subjects or skills you’re struggling with. A tutor won’t write your assignments for you, but they can help you understand the course materials, develop your skills and plan your assignments.

Plus, check out our great list of assignment writing tips that every student in Australia should know.