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ChatGPT and other AI-based tools

Online tools that use artificial intelligence (AI) to generate text, such as ChatGPT, are increasingly at the forefront of teaching and learning conversations. Students are beginning to use these tools, which are often free, to complete assignments in a wide range of courses – from writing composition to computer programming.

Because tools like ChatGPT use AI, they are constantly evolving, making it very difficult to develop technology that can identify AI-generated student submissions. The following strategies can help instructors think about how to communicate with students, set expectations, and develop assignments that increase students’ motivation to develop their own skills and ideas. 

  • Set expectations – Establish a policy for your course around the use of text generated by AI (e.g., ChatGPT) and communicate this with students through the syllabus and/or assignment prompts. Discuss how you will proceed if you discover that a student has turned in AI-generated work.
  • Communicate the importance of college learning – Many students are focused only on learning that appears to them to relate to their intended career track, but the vast majority of them will change careers at least once in their lives. Talk with students about how the relevance of your course may become apparent years from now. The skills they are learning will likely transfer to other careers – even careers that do not yet exist! 
  • Acknowledge that struggle is part of learning –  Talk with students about how intellectual struggle is an inherent part of learning. Learning happens only when we move outside what we already know. Seeking a shortcut or workaround through AI tools only prevents them from learning. The short-term consequence is that they pay for a benefit they never receive. The long-term consequence is that they miss the opportunity to become better thinkers and more effective writers.
  • Assess process as much as (or more than) product – Lowering the stakes of individual assignments reduces students’ motivation for cheating and encourages them to build their own skills and competencies. Low- or no-stakes formative assessments reinforce the notion that learning is a process and demonstrates to students the value of that learning process. 
  • Design assignments that ask students to connect course content, class conversations, and lived experience. It’s harder for AI-based tools to effectively connect the dots between these sources of knowledge.
  • Consider teaching through AI-based tools. Think about how using AI-based tools might facilitate students’ learning and prepare them to thoughtfully engage these tools in their personal and professional lives. How can AI-generated work help students think critically about digital literacy, information accuracy, and even what constitutes effective writing?

What do I do if I suspect academic misconduct?

Students are expected to practice high standards of academic and professional honesty and integrity. The University communicates with students about the importance of knowing and understanding the expectations of both the University and specific instructors regarding academic standards. If you have prohibited the use of AI-based tools, such as ChatGPT, and suspect that a student has engaged in academic misconduct, you are encouraged to make a report to Community Standards and Student Conduct.

Information that is communicated to students regarding academic standards and the Student Conduct Code is available on the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct “Academic misconduct” page.