As with other technological advancements, generative artificial intelligence (AI) and associated technologies (e.g ChatGPT, Perplexity, DALL-E2, etc.) have already brought to our campus significant opportunities for innovation in teaching and research along with concerns around the ethics of their implementation and utilization. While the use of these tools may vary substantially for each instructor and class based on a host of factors (including discipline, learning objectives, etc.), we encourage all to be proactive in both learning about them and in providing guidance to students on their appropriate application. Generative AI is expected to have a significant impact on the workforce. Given our polytechnic university mission to develop civically-minded students for the workforce and to achieve exceptional student learning and success, it is critical to prepare our students to effectively and appropriately use generative AI tools.
The ChatGPT Task Force recommends the general guidelines stated below
In March 2023, the Provost established the ChatGPT Task Force to provide guidelines for the appropriate use of ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms in academic classes and assignments. The task force strongly recommends that faculty members follow the guidelines below to help students understand what is expected of them regarding using generative AI tools in the courses you teach.
- Become familiar with the capabilities and failings of the technology with respect to your discipline.
- Decide on appropriate use of the technology for assigned tasks and assignments.
- Update assigned tasks, assessments, and pedagogy to ensure student experiences will best reflect the course, program, and university learning outcomes.
- Clearly communicate appropriate and inappropriate use to students; include the reasons for your decisions relating to learning outcomes. This should include a clear statement on your syllabus that contains the following:
- When AI is appropriate (list specific assignments and activities)
- When AI is not appropriate (list specific assignments and activities)
- How AI can be used (summarizing, idea generation, paraphrasing, etc.)
- How to cite the use of AI in assignments (footnotes, APA, supporting documents, etc.)
- Consequences for violating the assignment or course AI policy (F on assignment, etc.
- Talk with your students about generative AI. Discuss opportunities for AI to contribute to your discipline. How will these tools support advancements in your field (medicine, science, art, music, humanities, health, and more)? Discuss the ethical issues and limitations of AI.
- Periodically repeat these steps as the technology develops.
This webpage provides additional information and guidelines below for faculty members regarding how to integrate generative AI tools in your courses and assignments to achieve exceptional student learning and success. Please note that these guidelines are interim and will most likely be updated and revised as we continue to explore and understand the possibilities and challenges of these tools.
Sample Syllabus Statements and Department Statements Regarding Generative AI and ChatGPT
- “It is expected that students will adhere to generally accepted standards of academic honesty, including but not limited to refraining from cheating, plagiarizing, misrepresenting one’s work, and/or inappropriately collaborating. This includes the use of generative AI tools that has not been cited or documented or authorized. Students will also be expected to adhere to the prescribed professional and ethical standards of the profession/discipline for which the student is preparing. Any student who engages in academic dishonesty or who violates the professional and ethical standards for the profession/discipline for which the student is preparing, may be subject to academic sanctions as per Utah Tech’s The Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities” (Eaton, n.d.)
- “You may use AI programs e.g. ChatGPT to help generate ideas and brainstorm. However, you should note that the material generated by these programs may be inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise problematic. Beware that use may also stifle your own independent thinking and creativity. You may not submit any work generated by an AI program as your own. If you include material generated by an AI program, it should be cited like any other reference material (with due consideration for the quality of the reference, which may be poor). Any plagiarism or other form of cheating will be dealt with severely under relevant university policies” (Eaton, n.d.).
- “It is expected that students will adhere to generally accepted standards of academic honesty, including but not limited to refraining from cheating, plagiarizing, misrepresenting one’s work, and/or inappropriately collaborating. This includes the use of generative AI tools that has not been cited or use documented or authorized. Students will also be expected to adhere to the prescribed professional and ethical standards of the profession/discipline for which the student is preparing. Any student who engages in academic dishonesty or who violates the professional and ethical standards for the profession/discipline for which the student is preparing, may be subject to academic sanctions as per the University Student Code” (University of Utah, n.d.).
- “The introduction of new communication technologies often generates and increases anxiety. When composing on computers was introduced, people continued to worry about the new tools of writing. Spell check, Grammarly, email, and computers in the classroom, for example, were criticized for taking away people’s ability to spell, remember grammar lessons, or focus in class. Now we consider not just writing, but all of these tools to be helpful if not necessary ways of interacting with language and each other. When people learn to use writing and its tools effectively, writing becomes a powerful instrument for composition and for learning. Consistently focusing on invention strategies, drafting, and revision will complicate students’ interactions with such tools as ChatGPT and help them learn how and when to use them. We understand the campus community’s concerns about the misuse and abuse of AI tools, and we pledge to work with our colleagues to address them. However, we recognize the opportunity that these new tools offer in terms of teaching and learning. The Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies reaffirms that teaching writing in all its modalities means engaging students in the writing process by helping them see writing as invention, as intervention, as transformation—in a word, as learning. We teach students not just how to write, but when to write, for what audience, with what purpose, and yes, with which tools. We teach students to consider genre, audience, and purpose and to respect the social and linguistic diversity embedded and circulated in our own department and across the curriculum. We see writing as an integral part of student success in all university contexts and classes that teach and require written texts. Learning to write requires the development of critical tools that help students problematize the structures and the force of writing itself. We teach students how to critically engage with the tools of writing, such as ChatGPT, and their social and pragmatic implications. The Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies at the University of Utah creates a space for students to gain facility with writing technologies while they learn to understand the implications, promise, power, and responsibility of using such tools” (University of Utah, n.d.).
- “During our class, we may use AI Writing tools such as ChatGPT. You will be informed as to when, where, and how these tools are permitted to be used, along with guidance for attribution. Any use outside of this permission constitutes a violation of Bryant’s Academic Honesty Policy” (Bryant University, n.d.).
- “We recognize that there are a variety of AI programs available to assist writers. AI programs are not a replacement for human creativity, originality, and critical thinking. Writing is a craft that you must develop over time to develop your own individual voice as a writer. However, within limited circumstances, and with proper attribution, AI programs may be used as a tool” (Bryant University, n.d.).
- “AI Writing tools such as ChatGPT are welcome in this class, provided that you cite when and how you use the tool. You will be provided with examples of how to cite your use of this tool in your writing” (Bryant University, n.d.).
- “ChatGPT will be integrated into the curriculum of this course, specifically in the writing and research components. This will allow students to improve their writing and research skills by receiving feedback and generating summaries” (ChatGPT, personal communication, April 21, 2023).
- “ChatGPT will be used in various ways throughout the course, such as generating text summaries, providing feedback on writing assignments, and aiding in research projects” (ChatGPT, personal communication, April 21, 2023).
What are Generative AI Tools, such as ChatGPT?
“Artificial intelligence (AI) is ‘the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior’ (Artificial Intelligence, 2011). Advancements in AI have transformed the way we live, including how we teach and learn. Think about some examples of AI-assisted technology you might encounter in education today, including calculators, automated grading tools, text editors, transcription programs, and assistive technology. You may even remember the first iterations of some of these technologies and the conversations about benefits and challenges that followed.
Generative AI applications can generate content, rather than merely analyze existing data, by utilizing Large Language Model (LLM) technology. Many of these applications function as AI-powered chatbots—in other words, users submit a prompt and content is generated in real time in response to that prompt.
One of the more widely known and discussed AI-powered chatbots is ChatGPT. Developed by tech company OpenAI, its large language model was trained using very large datasets, codes, and texts, and it pulls from all this data to generate responses. Using predictive technology, it can “create or revise written products of all kinds, including essays, computer code, lesson plans, poems, reports, and letters” (University of Toronto, n.d.). It’s likely OpenAI is also utilizing user prompts and ChatGPT responses to train the model as the company collects data from users and continues to modify and improve the tool.
While ChatGPT is well-known, it is far from the only generative AI system. In fact, the range of AI tools available is expanding on an almost weekly basis as companies develop their own versions. Educators may be primarily focused on AI’s ability to generate text, but it is worth noting that ChatGPT and many other AI applications can also create code, images, music, and other media” (The Ohio State University, n.d.).
For a big picture overview of generative AI tools and ChatGPT, click on the link below to access a 29-minute course in Pluralsight (instructions on how to login to Pluralsight)
Some additional examples of generative AI applications include:
- Jasper Chat, Google Bard, Perplexity for text
- Dall-E 2 and Stable Diffusion for images
- Lumen5 and Quinvio for video
- Soundraw and Soundful for music
- OpenAI Codex and Polycoder for code
Are students using these generative AI tools? Yes, many students have been exploring and using these tools to support completion of their coursework.
Generative AI tools can have several benefits in higher education. They can help design and organize course materials, personalize course material based on students’ knowledge gaps, skills, generate original text, images, and sound by responding to prompts, etc.. These tools can also lead to more personalized and efficient learning experiences and increased accessibility to information (Perplexity.ai, personal communication, April 21, 2023). Below are four potential benefits.
- “Provides learners a tool for generating rough drafts, outlines, and brainstorming notes. Generative AI applications like ChatGPT can assist students during the earliest stages of the writing process, auto-generating text for learners who are either stymied by writer’s block or stuck during the brainstorming process. When prompted, these systems can produce reams of raw content (of varying levels of quality and accuracy) that students can further evaluate, interrogate, and research. Using AI tools in this fashion can help students during the difficult preliminary stages of the composition process, creating a workable path toward their own inquiries and investigations (Gero, 2022; Krause, 2022; Weissman, 2023).
- Summarizes and clarifies longer or potentially difficult texts. AI chatbots can also condense and summarize longer texts with only moderate error, potentially aiding students during the reading and research process. They may help in clarifying and explaining daunting or challenging texts in simple, digestible language. This function might potentially help learners (especially English language learners) gain a deeper comprehension of dense academic materials by making obscure prose and concepts more approachable and accessible (Anson and Straume, 2022; Warner, 2022).
- Assists learners with automated grammatical assistance and language acquisition. When prompted, generative AI applications like ChatGPT can provide direct and immediate automated assistance for students struggling with grammar, mechanics, and syntax. They can identify, explain, and even correct basic grammatical mistakes. Additionally, AI language systems can function as a fluent conversation partner for informal language practice. This might be of particular benefit for English language learners and multilingual students who are still learning the basic mechanics of writing in English (Warner, 2022).
- Promotes wider classroom discussion around rhetoric, style, and AI literacy. Generative AI applications also provide an avenue for discussing various facets of rhetoric, authorship, and academic integrity with students. They can function as the focal point of a broader conversation about the ethical questions posed by AI language systems, especially as their continued use and development alters our understanding of plagiarism and cheating. Using generative AI, we can help students develop their own style, skill, and voice as authors, particularly when we ask them to review and discuss their work in contrast to machine-generated texts (Fyfe, 2022; Grobe, 2023; Anson and Straume, 2022)” (The Ohio State University, n.d.).
It is important to carefully consider the limitations of generative AI tools as you integrate them in your courses. These tools are constantly learning and evolving but, as of the date of this document, some limitations include the items below.
- “Generative AI applications use predictive algorithms to generate text based on user input. It replicates, but cannot replace, human agency and expression. Despite their relative fluency and adaptability, they cannot comprehend the meaning behind their words or exhibit human-like levels of critical thinking. This disconnect sometimes leads to text that sounds stilted, makes insubstantial claims, and lacks the subtle intricacy of human expression. AI can also commit rhetorical errors with relative frequency, pepper its texts with meaningless filler phrases, and over-rely on certain writing formulas. For instance, ChatGPT has a strong preference for five paragraph essays with short, three-sentence paragraphs and often overuses single word modifiers and transitions (Grober, 2023; University of Central Florida, 2023). Because of the way AI operates, below are some primary limitations.
- Generates incomplete, inaccurate, or false information. Although they draw from vast datasets of text, AI-powered chatbots remain limited to the information available to them at the time of their training. In other words, they cannot access or consult with external sources of information, nor can they self-correct or fill knowledge gaps with correct information. For example, ChatGPT often punctuates its responses with obvious fabrications, failing to maintain accuracy when tasked with generating knowledge outside its dataset. Users can also prompt ChatGPT to churn out obvious misinformation and nonsense, making it generate “garbage output” that is presented credibly and uncritically. In particular, it struggles when prompted to generate text about current events or recent developments, particularly on anything that has occurred after 2021 (Fyfe, 2022; Schatten, 2022; Grobe, 2023).
- Includes plagiarized text without proper attribution. Generative AI’s understanding of American academic integrity and copyright standards is virtually nonexistent. Texts generated by language models have consistently committed frequent and flagrant acts of plagiarism, from direct, word-for-word plagiarism to misrepresenting others’ ideas as their own (Tutella, 2023).
- Reiterates biases and is prone to discriminatory, non-inclusive language. Generative AI applications can sometimes employ biased or discriminatory language, repeat extreme or controversial viewpoints, or slip into explicit racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and so on. Even when safeguards are added to filter out some of the more extreme or discriminatory positions, AI language systems are still prone to generating text that reinforces certain stereotypes, biases, and belief systems (Hutson, 2021)” (The Ohio State University, n.d.).
Integrating AI in Teaching
For over two millennia, scholars and teachers have been wary of emerging technologies that might reduce students’ ability to learn and create. Even Plato opposed the relatively new invention of writing, claiming it would prevent students from memorizing and understanding content (Fowler, 1925). This suspicion has continued in modern times with educators resisting the advent of typewriters, word processors, home computers, calculators, and even the Internet. But in time, these technologies have become commonplace, and it is now hard to imagine a classroom or curriculum without them. With this history in mind, the ChatGPT Task Force encourages faculty members to embrace the latest emerging technology, generative AI. In integrating these new learning technologies, it is wise to engage in dialogue around their advantages and implications for teaching and learning. Each section below offers suggestions for supporting your students to develop knowledge and skills around AI while maintaining an evidence-based lens on instruction.
- Align to Learning Goals and Outcomes
- When trying to decide on the adoption of any new learning technology or teaching strategy, begin by reflecting on course goals and learning outcomes. Then decide whether integrating or allowing the technology in your course can enhance learning and support specific assessments and activities (Wiggins & McTigue, 2005). Activities and assignments designed to support students’ self-directed learning or develop their skills in leveraging the latest technologies for professional practice could potentially require different approaches to AI than those focused on fostering creativity or reflective practice.
- Reflecting on your course goals prior to deciding if and how to integrate generative AI technology will help you align your learning objectives, assessments and course activities to acheive exceptional student learning and success. Activities and assignments that scaffold the process of learning, as opposed to those that assess the product of learning (e.g., student-developed artifacts such as written assignments, code, or media), may be well-suited to the integration of generative AI applications. When using potentially transformative technologies such as generative AI in your course, strive to create learning experiences that enable students to practice what Bloom (1956) considers, “… the more complex classes of intellectual abilities and skills,” such as applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.
- In the table below developed by the Teaching and Learning Resource Center at Ohio State University (The Ohio State University, n.d.), consider how the use of generative AI in each learning activity supports the example learning outcome.
Learning Outcome AI-Supported Learning Activity In Nursing, students should be able to summarize research behind evidence-based practice. Students work in groups to examine and critique AI output of a literature summary vs. human-based summaries and consider the implications for how they inform a specific clinical practice scenario. In Sociology, students must be able to examine literature reviews to establish the background for proposed research. Using relevant disciplinary databases and Google Scholar, students track down the citations (students might need some guidance here) in an AI-generated literature review to evaluate 1) whether the citations exist and 2) how relevant they are to the proposed research. In a Biology lab experience, students must be able to articulate valid experimental methods that contribute something novel to scientific knowledge. Putting themselves in the position of scientific peer reviewers, students evaluate and critique AI output of a methods statement vs. human-based statement for validity and for how it articulates its contribution to the science. In an Academic English Writing Program course, multilingual and international students must identify rhetorical patterns in a range of genres in American academic contexts. Students use AI to generate three different passages paraphrasing a key source for a paper making an argument, note patterns among the different passages (how the passages represent the author’s points, what is emphasized, their accuracy, critique potential bias in point of view or language), and in an annotation, choose which passage is most useful for their argument and explain how they would revise it for their paper.
- Active Learning
- “AI-supported learning activities are a great opportunity to use active learning strategies to foster engagement and create a student-centered experience. Active learning can be broadly described as “any instructional method that engages students in the learning process” (Prince, 2004). Recent meta-analyses have established its value both in terms of student learning (Freeman et al., 2014) and equity (Theobald et al., 2020). You might intersperse small-scale activities like Think-Pair-Share and polling during lecture, reference AI for low-stakes brainstorming or Writing-to-Learn activities, or plan more structured and time-intensive activities that utilize AI output such as case studies, student-led discussions, debates, and peer review” (The Ohio State University, n.d.)
- Course Design
- “Consider utilizing ChatGPT and other AI tools explicitly. After experimenting with ChatGPT you may decide that you want to incorporate exercises where students are explicitly encouraged to interact with ChatGPT.
- Ask students to use ChatGPT and “fact check” the response provided by finding primary and secondary sources to back up the information provided.
- Ask students to generate a first draft using ChatGPT then keep track changes in a document to refine/edit.
- Reflecting upon prompt engineering-use prompting logic used by students to generate information and then provide a different prompt to help guide revision. Showcase that small changes can lead to major differences in output!
- The University of Wisconsin, Madison provides some examples for how to integrate AI into the writing process in your classroom (University of Wisconsin-Madison, n.d.).
- Adapt or create assignments that are not easily completed using AI. Be more explicit about having students provide references for assignments, use a social annotation tool like Hypothes.is or Perusall, utilize comments, Microsoft Word Track Changes or Google Docs Suggesting mode for individual or group annotation, have students complete written assignments in class, ask students to connect learning to their personal experiences and/or current events. Support students in developing oral communication skills by providing more opportunities for in-class presentations (or during discussion sections).
- Require students to make a connection to class discussions. Prompt students to explicitly reference in-class discussions, lecture material and course readings in their homework assignments in addition to using generative AI tools to help with their homework assignment” (University of California, Los Angeles. (n.d.).
- “Consider utilizing ChatGPT and other AI tools explicitly. After experimenting with ChatGPT you may decide that you want to incorporate exercises where students are explicitly encouraged to interact with ChatGPT.
Communicate with your students about AI
It is very important to clearly communicate appropriate and inappropriate use of generative AI tools to your students. Be transparent concerning the reasons for your decisions relating to learning outcomes. Have open conversations discussing generative AI tools and give some examples of how these tools are being used in education and the workplace generally. Below are additional ideas to encourage communication with your students.
- “Discuss opportunities for AI to contribute positively to your discipline.
- Discuss the potential. Many of our students will go on to become leaders at organizations that utilize and/or develop new AI technologies. How will these tools support advancements in your field (medicine, science, art, music, humanities, health, and more)?
- Prepare students for the future when they will work and interact with AI. This technology is likely to develop and become embedded in many parts of our lives. Preparing students to thoughtfully engage with it, co-create with it and be curious about and know how to interact with other technological developments as they occur.
- Seize the opportunity to center the importance of critical thinking and digital literacy. Students will have the opportunity in the future to break the cycle of spreading disinformation, lack of journalistic integrity in news, and elevating accurate and factual research and scholarship. Emphasize the importance of digital literacy, research, and writing skills with students; connect students to library resources for research and writing. As educators, we have an obligation to help guide our students through many types of literacy, including digital media and AI literacy.
- Lean in to talking to your students about how learning happens (deep learning occurs when learners reflect on their learning process and patterns). Talk with students about how they learn and how course assignments contribute to their learning. Learning happens when actively engaging with the course material, through conversations and dialogue leading to deepening conceptual understanding.
- Discuss the ethical issues and limitations of AI.
- Facilitate discussions with your students on the impacts of spreading disinformation or biased information, lack of regulation of companies that develop these technologies, and other dangers. While students will likely still continue to use ChatGPT and other tools like it, it is crucial that our community has this shared understanding of both dangers and opportunities.
- Our nation has yet to catch up to the regulation needed to prevent the potential for tremendous harm when false or biased information is taken as fact. Our community must continue to explore the value and innovation that can come from AI while simultaneously contributing to the dialog about these potential harms.
- Ensure equity and accessibility concerns are addressed. As with any emerging technology, ChatGPT may not always be accessible by individuals with disabilities. As the technology evolves, there may be a cost to using it, so continuing to revisit your learning goals and activities with respect to access is a critical equity issue” (University of California, Los Angeles. (n.d.).
- “Cultivate an environment in your course in which students will feel comfortable approaching you if they need more direct support from you, their peers, or a campus resource to successfully complete an assignment. To take steps toward cultivating this environment, you might include a question about generative AI on your introductory course survey to understand your students’ potential interest and concerns about the tool” (Barnard College, n.d.).
References and Further Reading
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Below are additional documents that were developed by the ChatGPT Task Force
For additional information and resources related to generative AI tools, click on the link below.
Below is a link to a copy of student guidelines for using generative AI Tools titled “The Utah Tech Student Guide to Using AI Wisely.”
Below is a link to an email from Provost Lacourse regarding guidance for the use of artificial intelligence in teaching and learning sent on April 27, 2023.
Below is a link to the ChatGPT Task Force Recommendations for Provost Lacourse and Other University Leaders (Google Doc)
Below is a link to the members who served on the ChatGPT Task Force, the process they used, and results. (Google Doc)