About fifteen years ago I started moving away from the standard research essay assignment. In my Literary Theory classes I assigned dialogues; in Christianity and Fantasy I asked students to make critical editions of texts; since I got to Baylor I’ve used dialogues in some classes and in others have given take-home exams asking people to do close-reading explications of passages I’ve chosen for them. The LLMs do not yet know how to do any of these things, so I am not having to think too much about their effects on my classes; my chief challenge is to avoid smug self-satisfaction. But I remind myself that the day of reckoning is surely coming for me also.

(And yes, I know this courts that smugness, but: I stopped assigning research essays because what my students gave me was so maddeningly predictable — predictable because formulaic — that I just couldn’t bear to grade them any more, not after thirty-plus years of doing it. Now I think: the predictability was in some crucial pedagogical respects the whole point, and so of course LLMs can do those assignments!)