Within reasonable boundaries, LSA instructors can choose whether or not they wish to use Generative AI tools in the classroom or as part of assignments. General guidelines include that AI should not be used with any information regulated by FERPA or human subject research information; that if you do use or allow your students to use AI for any class activities, use the UM-GPT instance to preserve student data security; and that your departments or disciplines may make additional guidelines or recommendations, so check in with your department.
“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” –Lewis Carroll
While it is tempting to dive directly into the adventure, whether that be use or avoidance of GenAI, we recommend first and foremost that instructors take the time to give students the explanation.
For those instructors who are concerned about use of GenAI to do classwork for students (write essays, answer test questions, etc.), this will mean spending some class time to discuss with your students why it is important for them to learn those skills for themselves. What is the value, to the students, in putting in the time and effort to learn those skills? While this may seem self-evident to instructors who have been in the field for years, remember that students are only just beginning. The rationale behind course activities is often not at all self-evident to them.
For those instructors who are excited about the possibilities of GenAI and want to let their classes sample this new tool, the explanation will mean making time to discuss with students what current AI capabilities and limitations are, and encouraging students to apply their own developing skills in evaluation, research, and critical thinking to any GenAI output.
In either case, it is important that expectations are clearly articulated in the syllabus and reinforced when assignments are given.
Clearly state in the syllabus that GenAI tools are not allowed, that all work needs to be and is assumed to be the student’s own effort, and that GenAI use will be considered an act of academic dishonesty. Instructors should also give concrete reasons why the use of GenAI tools would mean missing out on development of critical skills.
Clearly state in the syllabus what activities GenAI tools will be used for, and that use of those tools is limited to those activities. Define any guidelines, such as how to attribute or indicate material generated by the AI tool. It may be helpful to note that these guidelines apply specifically to your course, and that other instructors may have other guidelines.
A variety of sample syllabus statements have been curated, from a variety of peer institutions. Feel free to adapt these for your own courses.
With the rise of numerous GenAI-based tools, from a wide variety of vendors who may or may not be trustworthy, it is important to make sure you use tools that maintain data security. Tools provided by the University of Michigan, such as U-M GPT, are private, secure, and free for U-M faculty and students. Data you share while using these tools will not be used for training these models, and hence are not at risk of unacceptable exposure.
LSA licensed tools such as Harmonize will already have a Data Security Agreement that protects student and instructor data. Many of those tools are developing GenAI-based tools for things like improving assignment prompts. These are also generally safe to use.
Regardless of the GenAI tool, the most successful output comes from well-designed prompts. The resources below can help you build your prompt literacy skills.
Can I grade student work with GenAI tools like ChatGPT?
No. Student work cannot be graded with AI tools. They are not sufficiently reliable and UofM Safe Computing directs AI not be used with any information regulated by FERPA.
Additional reasons to avoid using AI to grade include:
Can I use a GenAI detector to check student work for AI material?
No. LSA does not support the use of any plagiarism detection tools. Further, GenAI detectors are not able to accurately detect AI output. There is currently no reliable way to check for AI output in student work. Instead, consider explaining your expectations for AI use, and consequences of misuse, in your syllabus and in class discussion. Just as is the case in “classic” plagiarism, it is often the result of students genuinely not knowing or understanding what constitutes plagiarism and why it’s a problem.
What are the capabilities of GenAI as a teaching and learning tool?
While GenAI can’t replace the work faculty do in designing or teaching courses, it can assist with some course preparation tasks. Remember to always verify that what it generates is accurate, if you employ it this way, and understand that anything you enter or prompt may become part of the system’s data-set in ways that you will not be able to withdraw.
With that caveat, here are some example uses for GenAI in course preparation:
What are the limitations of GenAI as a teaching and learning tool?
There are still many limitations to what we are calling generative AI. These include:
GenAI at U-M site: This site offers some resources and access to the secure UM tools such as UM-GPT.
The Full Report on GenAI at U-M: Detailed guidelines are available from the full report authored by U-M Generative Artificial Intelligence Advisory (GAIA) Committee.
Using Generative AI for Scientific Research: Learn about the best practices for navigating the usage of Generative AI in your research.
Schedule a consultation with the Learning & Teaching Consultants to discuss GenAI in relation to your particular classes.