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What is 'API'? Where do I find my API key for openAI?

Preparing to go beyond just being a user of ChatGPT and try finetuning

What is 'API'?

API stands for Application Programming Interface which defines a set of rules and protocols that specifies how two software programs can communicate with each other. It defines the types of requests that can be made, the format of the data that can be exchanged, and the actions that can be taken in response to those requests.

Ever wondered how we can magically sign up/ authorize different apps using our Google account? There is an API that Google opens up which other apps utilizes. This is one of many uses or API calls that we make daily without really realizing it. 

Why does it matter for teachers?

API's are significant to educators because they allow them to access and use data and resources from a variety of sources in their teaching and even for further educational research or improving learning analytics. For example, an educator might use an API to access data from a database or to interact with a learning management system. This would be far more efficient than in the past when we had to manually collect data. 

Furthermore, using APIs can also help educators automate tasks and streamline their workflows. For example, they might use an API to create custom reports or to automate the grading of assignments - this is provided that the apps we use have APIs. One common API key that the String team uses is the key from Google Sheets (we treat it as a basic backend or a way to store data for a number of projects that we are doing).

Overall, APIs can be a powerful tool for educators to access and use data and resources more efficiently and effectively in their teaching and research.

How do I get my API Key?

After logging in, click on the top right hand corner > View API Keys

You should be brought to this page. Click on Create a new secret key if this is your first time! 

What next?

As every app would emphasize, you should never share your API key with others! It is also seldom displayed again after generating once so the String team highly encourages you to copy/ keep it in a safe place (:

Hope this provides a quick introduction as to why APIs matter and how to access it. In the upcoming live sessions we may do some API calls and the following is some non-exhaustive list of apps with APIs that our team is tinkering with:

  • OpenAI

  • Google Sheets

  • Google Maps

  • Telegram

  • Notion

  • Miro

And many more! (: 

We will continue with our attempt to fine-tune GPT in the next session using our own data!