What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
As defined by WGU, AI is “the theory and development of computer programs that are able to do tasks and solve problems that usually require human intelligence. Things like visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and word translation are all things that would normally need human intelligence, but now computer programs are able use their intelligence and capability to solve these tasks.”
What can AI like ChatGPT do?
The most prominent AI tool at the moment is ChatGPT but it’s important to recognize that the development of AI tools will only proliferate and become more sophisticated over time. ChatGPT is an example of a large language model (LLM), which is a type of artificial intelligence algorithm that uses statistical models, deep learning techniques, and massively large data sets to understand, summarize, generate and predict new content in ways that can mimic human intelligence.
ChatGPT, the acronym for “Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer,” is a web-based “chatbot” that responds to user prompts about any topic. The application’s creator, OpenAI, says that ChatGPT can “answer followup questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.”
However, it is important to note that the application itself does not analyze concepts in the way a student would while writing a paper, or a faculty member would while doing research. The New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose explained that ChatGPT works, “in extremely oversimplified terms, by making probabilistic guesses about which bits of text belong together in a sequence, based on a statistical model trained on billions of examples of text pulled from all over the internet” (“The Brilliance and Weirdness of ChatGPT,” December 5, 2022). Simply put, it strings together words and phrases that are statistically likely to be related and forms them into grammatically accurate sentences and structured paragraphs. And while it does that very well, it has several notable shortcomings. Among them are: lack of depth, repeated responses, and fabricated citations.
Faculty should first try the technology and then draw their own conclusions as to how it may impact their teaching and student learning in their classes.
We encourage faculty to use the introduction of the ChatGPT tool as an opportunity to reflect on their teaching practices and broaden learning rather than to immediately jump to simply monitoring student assignments through one of the new ChatGPT detectors.
Here are a few strategies that faculty are encouraged to take in response to AI:
- Revising your academic integrity statement
- Communicating the learning goals and rationale of your assignments
- Considering how AI might influence the design of your assignments and assessments
- Incorporating the practice of AI in your classes.
Currently, there is no Queens College or CUNY-wide policy on the use of ChatGPT and other AI tools. The following resources are examples of how other educators are addressing this issue.
Acknowledgments: Part of this page was repurposed from Baruch CTL’s page “ChatGPT and Its Impact on Teaching in Spring 2023”
Adapting to AI in Higher Ed
Adapting Your Teaching to Generative AI Tools, Doug Holton & Ilene Frank
Practical Responses to ChatGPT, Office for Faculty Excellence, Montclair State University
AI Technology and Academic Integrity, York University
ChatGPT Advice Academics Can Use Now, Inside Higher Ed
Talking about Generative AI: A Guide for Educators by Sidney Dobrin, May 15, 2023, Broadview Press
ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it by Will Douglas Heaven, MIT Technology Review, April 6, 2023
You’ve Checked Out the New AI Tools. Now What? by Michelle D. Miller, the Chronicle of Higher Education, August 17, 2023
How AI Tools Both Help and Hinder Equity in Higher Ed by Susan D’Agostino, Inside Higher Ed, June 5, 2023
The CUNY Academic Integrity policy is in the process of incorporating AI into how it defines academic integrity, which you might consider incorporating into the academic integrity statements on your syllabus. In short, syllabus statements often ask students to acknowledge any use of AI in the composing of their assignments.
Here are a few examples of syllabus statements:
- Papers that are composed with the help of artificial intelligence like ChatGPT must include attribution.
- Student writing that makes use of a generative AI tool, and that is not in response to a specific assignment requiring AI, must be accompanied by a statement from the student articulating the process by which the student incorporated AI technology into their writing practice. The statement should identify the generative AI tool used, define the student’s role in the creative process, and include a reflection on the student’s decision to employ AI technology, as well as links to all potential source materials (Ryan Black, English 210W: Introduction to Creative Writing)
- Crowdsourced examples
Considering AI's Influence on the Design of Assessments
Communicating Learning Goals and Rationale of Assignments
While thinking about how your syllabus can incorporate AI or any other new pedagogical developments, a syllabus statement about AI is only one step.
Plan to discuss AI with your students in relation to the assignments you give. For the most part, the conversations you have about AI in relation to an assignment will be similar to how you are already providing guidance for your assignments.
Discuss the goals of an assignment with students. Rather than assume that students will understand how and why to write a research paper, a lab report, or any other document, explain the rationale so they can start to learn the boundaries and expectations of using outside resources, whether that resource is AI or a friend who is going to help them revise their paper.
Detecting & Generating AI Content
Detecting AI-generated Content
AI detection tools often return false positives and may be biased against non-native English speakers. With that in mind, faculty should use caution in using these tools. If you suspect a student of using AI to complete an assignment, have a discussion with your student to identify areas where they might need help.
- How to Identify AI Generated Text, an interactive graphic. The first slide shows low-tech ways to identify AI-generated text.
Tools for Generating Content
Rather than forbid the use of AI in your course, you can incorporate them into your assignments as part of a reflection or self-assessment process.
Classroom Resources, Boston University Alumni Medical Library
Artificial Intelligence Writing, Faculty Center, University of Central Florida
Considerations for Using and Addressing Advanced Automated Tools in Coursework and Assignments, Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning, University of Delaware
Sample citation language: My Tentative Academic Integrity Policy for a Responsible Use of AI-based tools (such as ChatGPT) Dr. Spencer M. Ross