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A Primer for Learning How to Use ChatGPT and its Features

A Primer for Learning How to Use ChatGPT and its Features


During my summer break between 9th and 10th grades, I decided to teach myself how to touch type. My high school offered a Typing class, but I thought I would be better off teaching myself how to type that summer and taking an Advanced Placement class instead of Typing class.

 Fortunately for me, my mother had a typing manual that she used when she learned to type. I used that manual half an hour to an hour each day and within six weeks I learned to touch type at a fairly decent pace.

 Given that many teachers and professors are about to begin their summer break, I thought I would see if ChatGPT could design a weekly guide for learning how to use ChatGPT. Its response is below and is unedited. I may choose to use this as the basis for designing a self-paced learning manual. I reviewed the weekly and daily tasks and there are more than a few features that I am unfamiliar with and I look forward to learning more. Those of you who have taken a course to learn how to use ChatGPT are free to provide any comments. Thanks.

Designing a manual to improve a person’s ability to utilize ChatGPT effectively would involve a structured approach that focuses on developing key skills and techniques over a period of time. Here’s a suggested framework for a daily lesson manual to enhance one’s interaction with ChatGPT:

Week 1: Fundamentals and Familiarization

Day 1: Introduction to ChatGPT and its capabilities. Familiarize yourself with basic commands and guidelines for interacting with the model.

Day 2: Understanding prompt engineering. Learn how to frame clear and concise prompts to achieve desired results.

Day 3: Effective conversation starters. Explore techniques to initiate conversations with ChatGPT and elicit meaningful responses.

Day 4: Probing for specific information. Practice asking targeted questions to extract precise information from the model.

Day 5: Context management. Learn how to maintain context and refer back to previous responses for more coherent conversations.

Week 2: Enhancing Interaction Skills

Day 6: Active listening and paraphrasing. Develop skills to actively listen to ChatGPT’s responses and paraphrase to clarify understanding.

Day 7: Steering the conversation. Understand techniques to guide the direction of the conversation effectively.

Day 8: Using system messages. Explore the usage of system-level instructions to provide guidance or constraints to the model.

Day 9: Providing feedback. Learn how to give constructive feedback to ChatGPT to improve its responses.

Day 10: Handling ambiguous queries. Practice strategies to clarify ambiguous queries and provide more specific instructions.

Week 3: Refining and Optimizing

Day 11: Creative writing exercises. Engage in creative prompts to foster more imaginative responses from ChatGPT.

Day 12: Leveraging examples and demonstrations. Discover how providing examples or demonstrations can enhance the model’s understanding.

Day 13: Utilizing knowledge cutoff. Understand the limitations of the model’s training data and how to work within those boundaries.

Day 14: Fine-tuning prompts. Refine your prompt engineering skills by tweaking and experimenting with different approaches.

Day 15: Ethical considerations and responsible use. Explore ethical implications and guidelines for using ChatGPT responsibly.

Week 4: Advanced Techniques and Applications

Day 16: Conditional responses and logical reasoning. Experiment with conditional prompts and guide ChatGPT’s responses based on specific conditions.

Day 17: Generating code snippets. Learn how to leverage ChatGPT’s capabilities to generate code snippets or programming assistance.

Day 18: Storytelling and narrative generation. Engage in exercises to prompt ChatGPT to generate compelling narratives.

Day 19: Multimodal inputs and outputs. Explore how to incorporate images, text, or other media in your interactions with ChatGPT.

Day 20: Collaborative conversations. Practice collaborative conversations between multiple users and ChatGPT.

Throughout the manual, it is important to emphasize critical thinking, responsible use, and continuous improvement. Each day’s lesson can include exercises, tips, and best practices to reinforce the concepts discussed. Remember, adapting the manual based on personal preferences and learning styles can enhance the effectiveness of the learning process.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), as a Trustee of The American College of Financial Services, as a member of the board of Our Community Salutes - USA, and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


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