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ChatGPT: Fiction to Diction

University of Phoenix researchers are conducting a study exploring educational implications of using ChatGPT in higher education

By Dr. Aaron R. Kenneston

Artificial intelligence (AI) emerged as science fiction in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.  Isaac Asimov authored stories about a Multivac supercomputer providing information in response to human inquiries.1  Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Oddity presented HAL 9000 overriding human commands.2  These portrayals of AI-fueled the public’s imagination with hope and apprehension. 

No longer a figment of fiction writers’ imaginations, by 2010 AI was routinely creating Internet news articles to meet the growing demand for content.3  Widespread use for school and business writing still seemed a distant possibility.  However, in November 2022 the OpenAI company unveiled ChatGPT.  Over one million people were using it within a week.4

Suddenly, AI is not fictional or in the distant future. Academics are now the people experiencing hope and apprehension

Suddenly, AI is not fictional or in the distant future. Academics are now the people experiencing hope and apprehension

Suddenly, AI is not fictional or in the distant future.  Academics are now the people experiencing hope and apprehension.  ChatGPT potentially enhances learning and inspires critical thinking.  It also presents the threat of encouraging academic dishonesty.  A Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR) team is addressing this in an exciting research project. 

The study, Exploring educational implications and strategies of using ChatGPT in courses at an online higher education institution, examines the benefits and challenges in online graduate and undergraduate programs.  Because ChatGPT is not consistently or fully implemented in higher education, the methodology is a Qualitative Program Evaluation. The team is exploring instructor experiences, both positive and negative, using an established theory.  

A rubric was designed using Roger’s theory of diffusion of innovation. This provides a way to examine factors affecting innovation: advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability, and observability.  The team consists of nine University of Phoenix researchers in business, nursing, finance, organizational leadership, project management, and education.  Researchers use the rubric to review the literature and record ChatGPT experiences.

This project focuses on faculty perceptions and experiences.  Initial observations suggest ChatGPT can enhance learning.  It may serve as a virtual assistant providing answers to common questions that help students better understand topics.  ChatGPT can provide personalized learning experiences based on individual learning styles, interests, and past performance.  The program can even assist with grading assignments.  However, instructors must ensure ChatGPT complements the teacher’s style and does not replace human feedback entirely5.

This research may lead to future studies addressing student experiences.  It might also serve as a starting point for follow-on projects to examine other AI products or initiatives.  This intriguing project is creating a new base of knowledge for technology that was once in the realm of science fiction.  The CEITR team anticipates findings to support the successful integration of AI into classrooms as the prevailing emotions of hope and apprehension are replaced with excitement and optimism about enhanced educational outcomes.  


1- An SF and Fantasy Bibliography, (2022).  Multivac, Isaak Asimov.  Retrieved from:

2- 2001: A Space Oddity. (1968). Retrieved from:

3- WNIP (2017). The Washington Post’s robot reporter has published 850 articles in the past year. Retrieved from:

4- ChatGPT achieved 1 Million users in record time. Retrieved from:

5- Potential classroom uses of ChatGPT.  Suggested by ChatGPT at:



Dr. Aaron R. Kenneston

Dr. Aaron R. Kenneston is a scholar, practitioner, and leader. Aaron earned a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership from University of Phoenix, and is a member of the Delta Mu Delta honor society. He recently helped develop and taught in an Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) 4-year degree program for a Community College in Northern Nevada.

Dr. Kenneston has facilitated a variety of business, management, and strategy classes for the University of Phoenix since 2008. He has written articles for publication and presented research findings at professional conferences throughout the country.  His professional life has included serving our nation, state, and local government. As a Certified Emergency Manager, he led the Washoe County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) program for 16-1/2 years. He also led several Statewide Task Forces to address strategic objectives of the Nevada Homeland Security Commission. Aaron managed the Regional Emergency Operations Center (REOC) in Reno, Nevada while leading public safety officials in planning, training, responding, mitigating, and recovering from a variety of natural and human caused disasters. His efforts resulted in several awards from the International Association of Emergency Managers. He is a graduate of numerous leadership and management courses taught by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security- to include the FEMA Executive Academy. His many responsibilities included teaching incident management topics as well as coordinating, writing, and updating regional EMHS Strategic Plans.

Dr. Kenneston served on active duty in the Army National Guard for over 24 years and retired as a Colonel. He commanded armored-cavalry units from platoon, to company, to squadron-level. Aaron was deployed on overseas training missions to Europe, Panama, Pacific Islands, and Central Asia. As the Military Support to Civil Authorities Officer, he directed strategic management activities for the State of Nevada and the National Guard. His military education included a wide variety leadership and management courses taught by the Army and Air Force command and staff Colleges. Aaron graduated with honors earning a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the United States Army War College.