Generative AI in Computing Education: Perspectives of Students and Instructors

by   Cynthia Zastudil, et al.

Generative models are now capable of producing natural language text that is, in some cases, comparable in quality to the text produced by people. In the computing education context, these models are being used to generate code, code explanations, and programming exercises. The rapid adoption of these models has prompted multiple position papers and workshops which discuss the implications of these models for computing education, both positive and negative. This paper presents results from a series of semi-structured interviews with 12 students and 6 instructors about their awareness, experiences, and preferences regarding the use of tools powered by generative AI in computing classrooms. The results suggest that Generative AI (GAI) tools will play an increasingly significant role in computing education. However, students and instructors also raised numerous concerns about how these models should be integrated to best support the needs and learning goals of students. We also identified interesting tensions and alignments that emerged between how instructors and students prefer to engage with these models. We discuss these results and provide recommendations related to curriculum development, assessment methods, and pedagogical practice. As GAI tools become increasingly prevalent, it's important to understand educational stakeholders' preferences and values to ensure that these tools can be used for good and that potential harms can be mitigated.


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