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Vanderbilt Launches Free Online Chat-GPT Course

Salma Elhandaoui | October 31st, 2023

This past year has seen incredible growth and advancements in AI and technology, revolutionizing the quality of education to new heights. With ChatGPT’s launch in November of 2022 came notable acclaim and harsh criticism as various sides argued on the definition of acquired knowledge and how online learning programs like ChatGPT is ruining humans’ ability to learn complex topics individually. Nevertheless, the headline-AI worthy tool has garnered millions of users and billions of all-time visits indicating its apparent success in a short time period.

Ever since its launch, ChatGPT has been defined as an artificial intelligence chatbot that uses natural language processing to form humanlike conversations. OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research company founded by Sam Altman and Elon Musk, created ChatGPT as an unsupervised machine-learning language model that can provide personalized assistance and generate unique ideas. As a research company, OpenAI is backed by numerous investors, with Microsoft being the most prominent one.

To know whether ChatGPT is a beneficial weaponry for mankind or a detrimental tool seeking to destroy human thinking is up for discourse which prompted Jules White, Associate Dean for Strategic Learning Programs and Associate Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, to make ChatGPT more useful and comprehensible by launching a free online course on the Coursera platform entitled Prompt Engineering for ChatGPT. This course is his 11th online course published on the Coursera platform. While the course is taught in English, it’s available in 8 languages and it takes an estimated 18 hours to complete it on a flexible schedule.

Prompt engineering, the process of structuring text that can be understood by a generative AI model, has become an increasingly crucial skill as language models like ChatGPT rise in popularity. With ChatGPT’s “human” abilities to process information and promptly give a response, it can have more profound effects than Google, telephones, and the internet collectively. By taking this course, students will acquire important prompt engineering skills allowing them to use large language models for various tasks in their academic endeavors (e.g., writing, planning, programming, etc.). Students create basic prompts and build toward writing sophisticated prompts in order to solve problems across all domains, helping them solidify their prompt engineering skills through hands-on assignments.

According to Whites, users can do anything from writing intriguing poems to coding a mobile app with well-crafted prompts, making the possibilities limitless for ChatGPT experts. With ChatGPT as an easily accessible tool, students will be able to develop strong prompt engineering skills and use language models for countless tasks in their professional and academic lives when they finish the course.