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Artificial Intelligence in Teaching & Learning

Helpful information, guidance, and resources for faculty and students on the implications of generative artificial intelligence for teaching and learning.

Communicating with Students

Since generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools are still quite new to higher education (e.g., ChatGPT, Elicit, QuillBot), many students may be unaware of what is allowed or not allowed in a particular course. Since there is no college policy on AI use, the rules might differ from one course to the next.

Instructors can help to dispel any ambiguity or uncertainty by clearly communicating with students. Consider, for example:

  • Including a statement in your syllabus which outlines whether (or not) and how AI tools can be used in your course. See examples below.
  • Having conversations as a class about appropriate and inappropriate uses of AI tools in the course or disciplinary context.
  • Asking students to sign and adhere to an "honour statement" or code of conduct based on key course/institutional policies.
  • Constructing a "group agreements" document with your class that can be amended and referred back to throughout the semester.
  • Sharing examples from your discipline of how inappropriate use of AI led to negative consequences.
  • Sharing examples of how generative AI tools are changing your discipline or creating new opportunities for innovation.
  • Clarifying learning outcomes in the course so that students understand which essential skills they need to be able to demonstrate without the use of AI.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Preparing a Syllabus Statement

The course syllabus is often viewed as a "contract" between an instructor and students in a course. This presents an opportunity to provide clarity and reduce ambiguity about the role of Gen-AI in the course. The following questions can help you develop a customized statement for your course. Discuss your proposed statement with peers in your department. Some departments at Camosun are developing standardized syllabus statements for their courses. See below for examples.

Discipline and program context
  • What are the program learning outcomes?
  • What kinds of knowledge, skills, or values do students develop in the program?
  • Which knowledges/skills/values are foundational to the program or discipline? In other words, are there things that a graduate needs to know or be able to do even if later in their career some of these tasks might be offloaded?
  • Are program graduates likely to use AI in their day to day work? Can these uses be taught or developed while students are in the program?
Course context
  • What are the course learning outcomes?
  • What is the most authentic way to assess the course learning outcomes?
  • Is the assessment type (e.g., a written essay) integral to the course? Could other kinds of assessments be used (e.g., oral interviews, collaborative in-class assignments, presentations, etc.) that would limit the impacts of artificial intelligence?
What is the intent of your statement?

When putting together your syllabus statement, consider what intent you are attempting to convey to students. Your statement may fall into one of the following categories:

  • Prohibition.
    If you intend to prohibit AI use in your course, your statement should clearly state why generative AI tools are not allowed to be used. If you choose prohibition, you should also consider the extent to which a ban is enforceable. How will you know if a student uses AI? Which AI detector will you use? How will you protect students' personal information?
    • Example: Because the learning outcomes for this course focus on writing and composition, use of generative artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, Quillbot, etc., is expressly prohibited. All written work in this course will be checked through Turnitin Feedback Studio to identify possible use of AI and other forms of text similarity.
  • Specific uses allowed.
    Describe which uses of AI are appropriate in your course and which are not allowed. If AI is to be allowed, what are your expectations for citation and attribution?
    • Example: In this course you may use AI writing aids to generate ideas, provide feedback on your written work, or to help polish a near-complete draft of a written essay. To align with principles of academic honesty, all use of AI tools (including, but not limited to ChatGPT) must be clearly and explicitly cited in Chicago Style footnotes and must include the prompts used in any interactions with the AI tool.
  • Complete freedom.
    Some students may be assuming that AI is not allowed, so be explicit that you are allowing students to use AI tools in coursework. You can also clarify your expectations for citation and attribution.
    • Example: In this course you may use AI tools (Chat-GPT, DALL-E, etc.) in any way that will support your learning in the course. For example, if you are preparing a PowerPoint presentation, you might use a tool such as DALL-E to create original images for your presentation. You might also use a tool such as Tome to help with storytelling. To align with principles of academic honesty, all use of AI tools (including, but not limited to ChatGPT) must be clearly and explicitly cited in Chicago Style footnotes and must include the prompts used in any interactions with the AI tool.

For examples of syllabus statements that you could adapt for your course, check out the links and samples below. The links here were compiled by the folks in the Library at Northern Arizona University.

Sample Statement from an Introductory History Course

The following statement was prepared by Derek Murray, faculty member in CETL and an instructor in the History Department at Capilano University. The statement is intended for an online aysnchronous course aimed primarily at first-year students seeking a humanities elective. The summary appears on the syllabus while the full statement appears in the course website. Please feel free to use and adapt as you see fit.

Syllabus Statement

This course was not designed for use with generative artificial intelligence (Gen-AI) tools, e.g., ChatGPT, Quillbot, etc. Gen-AI tools are not required for this course and their use may hinder your learning. As such, use of Gen-AI tools in this course is not allowed unless explicit permission is provided in advance. See additional guidance in eLearn. If you believe that a specific Gen-AI tool would be useful to support your learning in this course, please talk to me first.

Generative AI in HIST 109

Please note, this guidance is intended for students in HIST 109 in Summer Session II, 2023. This guidance is not intended to apply to any other courses that you may be taking, now or in the future. Please consult with your other instructors about their policies on use of Gen-AI in their courses.

Generative artificial intelligence (Gen-AI) tools (e.g., ChatGPT, Bing AI, Quillbot, DALL-E, etc.) show considerable promise as assistive technologies and could possibly help students with coursework. At the moment, they can perform complex tasks such as producing short essays that sound like they were written by a human. I encourage you to carefully explore how such tools could be useful to you in both professional and educational context, e.g., as a productivity tool or a study aid. Please be safe and make sure to read the privacy and legal policies of each tool you use. Who owns inputs and outputs? How will your personal data be used by the service? Ensuring the factual accuracy of any Gen-AI output ultimately falls to the user. It is your responsibility to ensure that your use of any Gen-AI tool is in line with University policies such as the policy on Academic Integrity, which can be found here: CapU Academic Integrity Policy.

While these technologies are already incredibly powerful, their usefulness remains an open question in many contexts. Until we know more about how such tools might be applicable in a history course, we should be cautious in our adoption. At the moment, AI tools are not necessary to successfully complete this course. Course activities and assessments are designed to allow you to reflect on your learning and to share your perspectives with me and with your peers. These are tasks that AI is not (yet) very good at. Use of AI tools to complete course assignments is thus counter to your own learning and self-interest.

Clear communication is of course important to conveying your thoughts and demonstrating your learning effectively. Note, however, that spelling, grammar, and overall formatting (things that AI does really well) constitute only a very small portion of your grade on each assignment. Tools such as spelling and grammar check features in MS Word should be sufficient to ensure your spelling and grammar are of sufficient clarity. If you would like additional support with writing, please consider using the services available in the Writing Centre or in English Language Support.

If you believe that an AI tool would help support your learning in this course, please send me an email with a description of the tool and an explanation of why you think it would be useful to you. I am here to support your learning and I am happy to discuss anything which you think might further that endeavour.

Citation and Attribution of Gen-AI

If you do end up using an AI tool to help complete any portion of an evaluated assignment, you must include appropriate citation and attribution of the tool. For example, in history research, we often use tools like text mining, data visualization, and statistical analysis software to analyze and interpret historical data. The use of such tools has created new opportunities for historical insights that wouldn't have been possible with technologies that existed fifty years ago. As such, whenever these kinds of tools are used, we make sure to acknowledge that they were incorporated into our research and analysis.

As Chicago Style is the accepted format for referencing in history, in a written assignment you can cite your use of AI tools in a Chicago Style footnote. For guidance on how to format a reference to an AI chat bot, see the Chicago Manual of Style FAQ. If you are submitting an audio or video response to an assignment, please attach a supporting document which describes your use of AI tools in the submission. When attributing AI in your work, your citation must include the following information:

  • Name of the tool
  • Date(s) of use
  • Prompt(s) used to generate output
  • Details about subsequent edits that you made to the AI output.

If you have questions, please let me know in the Virtual Office.