Exploring Applications of Chat GPT and Similar Large Language Model AI to Promote Access

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:15am in Penrose 1 on Thursday, November 9, 2023.



  • Chris Parthemos, Assistant Director, Virginia Commonwealth University

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference


AI models such as Chat GPT have become a major news story, with some expressing concerns about the impact they will have on education as a whole.

This presentation will give concrete information about Large Language Model AI, dispelling common myths and giving concrete examples of how AI can provide pathways to access for many students. Through effective, careful use, AI can support students in self-advocacy, communication, and study skills so they can focus on higher-order learning.


Over the last year, news outlets have offered breathless coverage to a number of AI tools, both image-generating models such as Midjourney, and language models such as Chat GPT. In education, some have expressed concern that the availability of tools like Chat GPT will lead to widespread plagiarism, and many school districts and universities have already called for its removal. On the flipside, software developers, researchers, and academics have begun to identify tangible uses for Chat GPT, and have begun creating guidelines for its effective use.

This presentation will discuss some of the risks and benefits of AI Models. Risks include accuracy, bias, confidentiality, and privacy. Benefits include scalability, efficiency, and opportunity for independence.

We will discuss in detail concerns about Chat GPT’s direct engagement in academic work, and the possibility of plagiarism risk. We will model the use of Chat GPT in essay writing, showcasing its ability to draft copy, and discussing the risks and benefits of students using Chat GPT in this context.

We will directly engage Chat GPT during the presentation to model its use by students registered with a DRO to support access in their courses. Some of the tasks we will model include using Chat GPT to assist in drafting emails (e.g: requests for extensions), using Chat GPT to support executive functioning (e.g: designing study plans), and using Chat GPT as a conversation partner to practice difficult conversations. In modeling these uses, we hope to demonstrate the capacity of Chat GPT to promote a more holistic accessibility of the college experience to students, mitigating the administrative burden, and providing support which would typically have only been available through expensive human resources such as tutors or coaches.


  1. Large Language AI Models are here to stay, and will be integrated into higher education in some manner.
  2. AI can support students in self-advocacy, communication, and the hidden curriculum of university study.
  3. AI can fulfill a role similar to an Executive Function coach or learning specialist for many students.

Disability Areas

All Areas, Cognitive/Learning, Psychological

Topic Areas

Assistive Technology, Other, Uncategorized, Universal Design for Learning

Speaker Bio(s)

Chris Parthemos

Chris Parthemos is the Assistant Director of the Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity (SAEO) at VCU, and is a doctoral candidate in Educational Research, Assessment, and Evaluation with a focus in Sense of Belonging for college students who have disclosed disabilities. As part of his role at SAEO, Chris created and oversees the Assistive Technology Lab initiative, focused on expanding both the availability of AT at VCU and general knowledge around AT. Chris collaborates with the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium (MERC), and in that collaboration is a co-author of a research brief on large language model AI.