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Augmenting Critical Thinking Skills in Programming Education through Leveraging Chat GPT: Analysis of its Opportunities and Consequences

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2023 Fall Mid Atlantic Conference: Meeting our students where they are and getting them where they need to be


Ewing, New Jersey

Publication Date

October 27, 2023

Start Date

October 27, 2023

End Date

January 10, 2024

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Abdullah Konak Pennsylvania State University, Berks Campus Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Abdullah Konak is a Distinguished Professor of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University, Berks. Dr. Konak also teaches graduate courses in the Master of Science in Cybersecurity Analytics and Operations program at the College of Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State World Campus. Dr. Konak’s primary research interest focuses on modeling, analyzing, and optimizing complex systems using computational intelligence combined with probability, statistics, data sciences, and operations research. His research also involves active learning, entrepreneurship education, and the innovation mindset. Dr. Konak’s published numerous academic papers on a broad range of topics, including network design, system reliability, sustainability, cybersecurity, facilities design, green logistics, production management, and predictive analytics. He has been a principal investigator in sponsored projects from the National Science Foundation, the National Security Agency, the U.S. Department of Labor, and Venture Well.

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Christian Jay St. Francis Clarke Penn State University

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Christian Clarke is a current student at Penn State University, where he is diligently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Information Sciences and Technology (IST). Originally hailing from the vibrant island of Jamaica, Christian commenced his academic journey at the prestigious University of The West Indies, where he successfully completed his initial bachelor's degree in Business Management, supplemented by a minor in psychology.

Motivated by a lifelong fascination with technology, Christian has made a deliberate choice to channel his academic endeavors into the dynamic field of Artificial Intelligence during his tenure at Penn State. His ultimate aim is to become a driving force in the ongoing research and development of Artificial Intelligence within the ever-evolving landscape of computer science.

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This literature review embarks on an exploratory journey into the realm of employing Chat GPT to augment critical thinking skills within the context of programming classes. As modern education continues its digital transformation, integrating AI-driven conversational agents, such as Chat GPT, stands out as a promising pedagogical avenue. The review commences by dissecting the phases of the learning experience where Chat GPT exhibits its utility. Within the preliminary programming coursework phases, Chat GPT is invaluable as a knowledge repository and interactive tool for students as a collaborative problem-solving partner, fostering iterative exploration and promoting critical thinking. However, the integration of Chat GPT is not without its risks. Overreliance on Chat GPT for problem-solving may inadvertently hinder students' independent critical thinking development. Employing a SWOT analysis as the methodology for evaluating Chat GPT integration in computer classes reveals various facets. It unveils strengths such as enhanced accessibility and automation, but also weaknesses like algorithmic biases and potential technology dependency. Opportunities include personalized learning and global connectivity, while threats encompass declining cognitive skills and context-sensitive solutions. In conclusion, Chat GPT presents a dynamic opportunity to enhance critical thinking skills in programming classes across various learning phases. Its utility, when strategically integrated, fosters an enriched educational experience. However, educators must be cautious to strike a balance and mitigate the potential pitfalls, ensuring that the development of students' autonomous critical thinking skills remains at the forefront of programming education. This literature review paves the way for a more nuanced understanding of the symbiotic relationship between AI-driven tools like Chat GPT and the cultivation of critical thinking prowess in programming.

Konak, A., & Clarke, C. J. S. F. (2023, October), Augmenting Critical Thinking Skills in Programming Education through Leveraging Chat GPT: Analysis of its Opportunities and Consequences Paper presented at 2023 Fall Mid Atlantic Conference: Meeting our students where they are and getting them where they need to be, Ewing, New Jersey. 10.18260/1-2--45117

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