Considerations for AI tools in the Classroom
As Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools -- such as Chat GPT-- have gained prominence in public discourse over the past few years, faculty are considering their possible uses in the classroom. Many AI tools are freely accessible, and some students are beginning to use them to complete a wide range of assignments across disciplines.
As pedagogical best practices always encourage faculty-student engagement, faculty should consider the same approach when interacting with students regarding the use of AI. Talking with students transparently about the uses and limitations of AI technology can help students learn while avoiding confusion or misunderstandings about classroom AI policies.
What about using AI detection software?
It’s important to remember that AI detection software is often inaccurate and will always lag behind the ever-evolving AI programs, so faculty should exercise extreme caution in their use. Additionally, we should be wary of how detection software stores and incorporates users’ text and data. See our library guide for more resources and information about accuracy and privacy concerns.
We suggest the following considerations as faculty explore AI technology in learning settings:
- Teaching with AI Tools: Consider teaching with AI tools, to help students familiarize themselves with these programs and learn how to best use them in ethical ways. Demonstrating AI uses and limitations in the classroom may deepen students’ critical thinking about what makes good writing, and how to weed out faulty information and sources. One key thing that AI tools cannot do – and may never be able to do -- is think critically. Incorporating critical practices into your teaching and assignments will ensure that assignments cannot be successfully completed by AI.
- Help Students Reconnect with their own Higher Ed goals: Students are more likely to be engaged when they can map the relevance of current coursework to their personal, academic, and career goals. Working with students to help them identify and articulate their goals can help them connect what they are doing now to the future they are working towards. Consider providing experiential and reflective options in assignments and prompts so that students have agency to connect coursework to their interests, goals, and experiences.
- Co-Create Clear AI Policies: Setting up clear expectations around the usage of AI is essential. Faculty can add their own AI expectations into their Academic Integrity syllabi language. Even better, invite students to co-create a class AI policy with you. This practice gives students and faculty a chance to explore the possibilities and issues surrounding AI usage specific to areas of study.
- Consider how your Assignments are Weighted: Students tend to feel the most anxiety around heavily weighted assignments such as long writing projects, big tests, etc., making those tempting targets for academic dishonesty. Spreading more credit out among scaffolded assignments places more value on process and learning than on final products. Consider giving credit for students “showing their work” or making their decisions visible along with final assignments.
- Experiment with AI: Consider seeing how AI responds to your assignment prompts. If an AI is able to answer a prompt fully, then perhaps the prompt could use some tweaking that requires critical thinking. Look for opportunities to revise assignments in order to incorporate more process, personal connections, and creative thinking. AI responses can be used by instructors to weed out prompts that tend to result in generic writing and responses.
These suggestions were drafted by a Seattle Central CCC+ work group. Updated: 8/15/23