Changing tuition models

Illustration by Timo Lenzen

You would not be surprised to learn that as artificial intelligence has swept the world it has certainly shaken many people who prize complex thinking and cogent expression. There’s understandable reason for the concern. Quite simply, AI is quite remarkable and can summarize complex information in remarkably literate ways within minutes or even seconds.

While much of the news around artificial intelligence has been about people cheating – having the engine write an essay for them, say – we’ve also heard positive stories, such as professors and administrators using the engine to quickly summarize large amounts of information, saving them hours of work and capably covering the ground.

Though discussion about whether and how to handle it is still emerging, here’s a little taste of what it can do. We asked ChatGPT to explain to a child the issues facing theological education. (Why a child? To see how it can simplify the issues.) In less than a minute we received 216 words that lacked depth and nuance but nonetheless hit on some key points:

Sure, I can try to explain it in a way that a child can understand!

So, theological education is like school for people who want to learn about God and religion. Just like how you learn math, science, and history in school, people who want to become pastors, priests, or religious leaders go to learn about their faith to teach other people.

But there are some problems with theological education right now. One problem is that some schools only teach one way of thinking about God and religion, and they don’t always listen to other ideas. This makes it hard for students to learn about different beliefs and viewpoints.

Another problem is that some schools can be very expensive, which means that not everyone can afford to go to them. This can make it hard for people from different backgrounds to become religious leaders.

Finally, some people think that theological education doesn’t always prepare students for the real world. They think that students learn a lot of theory and ideas, but they don’t always learn how to apply those ideas in practical ways that can help people in their communities. So those are some of the problems facing theological education right now. Do you have any other questions about it?

Yes, we do, but first, we want to know what you think. Do you use AI? How are you using it? Do you have policies on how students can use it? Let us know here. And be sure to listen to Episode 46 of the In Trust Center’s podcast for more.

Where do you stand? Send a letter (tell us if you used a chatbot to write it).

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