Student perspective: don’t use AI to do the work, use it to make the work better


By Kanika Gupta

  • In a January 2024 report on the use of ChatGPT in the classroom, 43% of college students report having used ChatGPT or similar AI tools: 89% used it for homework, 53% for essays, and 48% for at-home tests.
  • The report also revealed that 82% of college professors are aware of ChatGPT, compared to only 55% of K-12 teachers.
  • 72% of college professors and 58% of K-12 teachers reported concern about AI’s role in cheating while 51% of students think using ChatGPT is cheating, but 22% still do it.

Here’s what Penn State AI Hub Director David Hunter said on the subject. “I agree with a succinct assessment I recently heard from an expert on how AI will affect our work: ‘AI will not replace people, but people with AI will replace people without AI.’”

AI has helped me significantly as an international Computer Science student in my second year at Penn State. AI isn’t always cheating. Why? Because leveraging AI tools can refine your work and teach you how to improve it.

For example, I often use ChatGPT to create hooks for my speeches or to make them more mesmerizing for the audience. AI has helped me to stand out among other competitors at pitch contests, enabling me to earn $1,000 at contests so far this year. I give AI 70% of the credit for this success.

Let me give you some examples of how AI made a difference. For one pitch competition, my idea used AI to solve an agricultural problem. I used AI tools to help me convey the problem farmers are facing in a more impactful way, which helped me win the best presentation award. In an entrepreneurial pitch competition, our group pitched a housing solution business for international students to utilize during breaks from school. Explaining our solution was complex, so we used AI to help us come up with ways to clearly explain the solution to the audience.

AI also helps me better understand my audience and create the content according to their point of view. For example, giving a pitch at a tech conference is different than giving the same pitch at a business gathering. Using AI can help to differentiate the speeches and make them more effective.

My success in AI comes from working to master prompt engineering. What exactly is prompt engineering, and why is it becoming one of the most in-demand skills and highest-paying jobs? AI is a little like having a study partner who’s a genius but speaks an entirely different language. That's where prompt engineering comes in. Prompt engineers are translators for those of us who are not well-versed in the binary dialect.

Prompt engineers transform vague queries into precise instructions that trigger remarkable AI responses. Their work is a strategic art form that empowers businesses to extract maximum value from AI technologies. As businesses increasingly navigate the landscape of digital innovation, prompt engineers dismantle the language barrier between human intention and AI execution.

What Makes a Prompt Good or Bad? 

The main drivers of a good prompt are clear, detailed instructions. Here are some good and bad prompt examples:

Bad Prompt: "Summarize the book 1984."

Good Prompt: "Imagine you're a book expert. Quickly tell me what George Orwell's '1984' is all about and why it's a big deal in literature."

See the difference? The good prompt gives the AI a clear, detailed task, so you get a more useful answer.

How can prompt engineering help your business? 

Businesses benefit when incorporating prompt engineering into content creation. Studies reveal a 25% boost in content engagement for companies utilizing advanced prompt techniques. Precision in crafting prompts can ensure that AI-generated content aligns seamlessly with brand messaging, enhancing customer satisfaction and optimizing efficiency. In the age of personalized content, prompt engineering is a game-changer, offering substantial returns on investment.

How do you feel about students using AI? Is it cheating? Did you learn anything new about AI from this perspective? Tell us in the comments.


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  1. I really love your perspective on prompt engineering and use of generative AI for intellectual augmentation -- kudos!
    As a librarian who works with students on how to incorporate generative AI into pitches ( and marketing (, I am adding a slide to my mini-lectures to quote you. I agree that we should be looking for ways to use AI ethically to enhance human creativity and agency - that's the crux of my Agent-Impact Matrix for AI (AIM4AI) framework (

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