September 21

A Professor in a Box: Boosting Your Mental Bandwidth With ChatGPT


by | Sep 21, 2023 | Featured, Podcast, Tools

While the swift changes we’re seeing these days with AI technology can be scary, education marketers should consider all the great reasons to incorporate new tech like ChatGPT into their workflow.

The debate over AI technology isn’t just happening in higher education. It’s also being discussed and argued over in the political sphere. 

In a rather extreme move, the country of Italy has outright banned ChatGPT from its nation, citing privacy concerns. 

I don’t believe that these kinds of knee-jerk reactions are going to be helpful as we proceed into the future. In fact, the rejection of AI tech is more likely to harm organizations as it keeps them from adapting to an inevitable change in the world.

CMO Jaime Hunt shares with us how AI technology like ChatGPT helps clear up mental space for education marketers by taking on some of the more repetitive, mundane tasks so that you can put your creative energies on more high-return tasks. That’s why we spoke with Jaime Hunt, on The Higher Ed Marketer Podcast. Jaime is a veteran of the newspaper business and Vice President for University Communications and Chief Marketing Officer at Old Dominion University. She has seen firsthand how resisting change can destroy industries.   

Like me, she believes higher ed institutions and organizations need to hit the pause button on banning ChatGPT and other AI services.

Rather than branding it as a threat, higher ed marketers need to treat ChatGPT as a powerful tool that can take their content marketing to higher heights.

Jaime gives us a glimpse into how she’s been harnessing the power of ChatGPT to save her mental bandwidth in the higher ed marketing space.  

ChatGPT: Collaborator, not a Replacement

One of the main reasons there is so much pushback on AI technology is the fear of being replaced. 

But this comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of the best use of ChatGPT and other AI technology. 

Rather than thinking about AI as a replacement for the human marketer, think about it as a collaborator to help clear up mental bandwidth. Here is one way that Jaime does that with AI. 

I use ChatGPT for job descriptions. I’ll [enter a prompt into ChatGPT] like “write a job description summary for the position of a multimedia content creator,” for example, or “write a list of qualifications for someone who may be a marketing manager.”

I’m not going to just copy-paste that into a job description and be done. But it gives you something to work from. With all of that mental bandwidth you’re spending thinking of those things on your own, you can now pour into crafting the job description to be exactly what you want. 

[In contrast, you could do it all yourself and] by the time you get all these things put together, [you feel like saying] “I’m tired of thinking about it! This is good enough.” 

[AI technology] saves mental bandwidth, as well as a ton of time. 

[Another example of saving mental bandwidth would be] if I’m using it for interview questions, I will give it the job description, and then ask it to produce interview questions based on that job description, and that’s been great!

This is where ChatGPT and other AI technologies shine. They do very well in augmenting human work as opposed to supplanting it. 

A Creative Assistant

Another way that AI can help you clear up mental bandwidth is by helping you with brainstorming tasks. 

Unlike humans, ChatGPT is an inexhaustible source of creative rearrangements of ideas and words, mainly because it doesn’t understand the information in the same way you and I do. 

Jaime often used ChatGPT to help her keep the creative juices flowing.

There’s just no limit to what you can do with it! 

This is conference proposal season, so I’ve been [inserting prompts] like, “Here’s the outline of my presentation. Write me a proposal synopsis that I can work from.” Or, “This is my proposal synopsis. Give me 10 catchy headlines for it.” 

Plus, you can always hit “regenerate response” and you get another 10 catchy headlines for it. Sometimes, you just don’t have the mental bandwidth to be clever with those things. 

I’ve also really enjoyed it for outlining articles. If I’m going to write about something, it helps me not miss any part of that topic. 

So I can [insert a prompt like], “I want to write an article about this. These are the high notes I want to hit.” Then it gives me an outline. 

Later, I can always delve deeper into that outline, and then I can write from that, and it saves me so much time.

A Non-Judgmental Professor

Another way that our guest Jaime Hunt and I have found ChatGPT to be very useful is that it operates as a non-judgmental professor helping you to learn things that you might be embarrassed to admit that you don’t know. 

When I was at Winston Salem State, we had a chatbot, and the amount of effort it took to populate the responses was intense. 

So when [I used ChatGPT], and I typed, “What’s the best way to distribute a press release?” it gave me a nice answer with four points. 

But within those points, there are things you can click on, and it sort of answers those things more in-depth. 

The first answer had something about best practices for email outreach. So I clicked on “email outreach,” and then it gave me [more information on] “What is email outreach?”, “What makes it successful?”, and “How does it work?” 

ChatGPT is almost like a professor!

If ChatGPT can be a great “professor” for us in higher ed marketing, could it also be used to serve the needs of our prospective students? Jaime Hunt thinks so.

I could see this really moving the needle in a lot of ways for students or alumni. 

My institution has a lot of first-generation college students, who maybe don’t have people in their family that can help guide them. 

[That means they don’t have anyone to answer questions like] “What the heck is a Bursar?” Or, “What is a credit hour”?

Now, you’re not embarrassing yourself by asking this question and showing that you don’t have the knowledge.

Now, you’re asking the question of an inanimate being. It’s not judging you, and probably giving you a more beneficial answer than what you would get if you had called somebody’s office.

At this point, it’s important to note that ChatGPT is still being developed, so you should certainly look over the information that it generates before copying and pasting it into some kind of official communication or application. 

Sometimes the information it gives can be inaccurate, or even outright made up!

But it is getting better all the time and it is very much worth the small investment of time to learn how to use it to clear up your mental bandwidth. 

Discover more when you listen to the podcast!

Like all of our blog post reviews of The Higher Ed Marketer podcasts, there’s so much more to learn in the podcasts themselves.

Listen to our interview with Jaime Hunt to get even more insights into:

  • How ChatGPT helps streamline mundane work (7:54)
  • Tailoring advanced chatbots to your specific marketing needs (16:06)
  • Using automation to hyper-personalize comm flows (24:18)

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