GenAI: Uses for Teaching and Learning

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Generative AI (GenAI) tools can support student learning in a variety of ways, such as brainstorming ideas and obtaining real-time writing feedback, and also assist instructors’ in developing course materials.  However, the generative nature of these tools also poses crucial challenges for learning and teaching practices.  

Read more to discover applications for employing (and resisting) GenAI tool use in your classroom and in your own development of assignments and materials.

Responsible Student Use of GenAI

GenAI tools are now available directly as well as being integrated with other applications. In this wide context, students are can employ GenAI tools in a variety of ways, sometimes indirectly, and at times unknowingly. To help students use such tools responsibly to support their learning, provide clear parameters for GenAI tools usage and limitations in your course over all, and when applicable at the assignment level.

Be sure to address appropriate use of GenAI tools in your course syllabus. See recommendations on the GenAI Academic Integrity page »

Given the rapid evolution and rising prominence of GenAI tools, your students are likely keeping up with new technologies—and potential uses to supplant their classroom experience. Beyond establishing parameters for appropriate use in your course syllabus, continue to consider how GenAI can be beneficial in your course and check in with your students throughout the semester. Some suggestions include conducting informal surveys to assess whether students are familiar and/or have used tools, reflections on their potential benefits and pitfalls, and making clear how you’ll address suspected plagiarism. 

While there is much discussion about providing attribution for GenAI tools use in student work, there is no best practice. As with all situations, it depends on how the GenAI tools have been employed and to what end during the learning process.

Reference these resources for GenAI tools use citation guidance: 

Instructor Course Development

Instructors and course designers are leveraging generative AI tools like ChatGPT to support the development of course materials and learning activities. Keeping in mind what GenAI tools can do for you—and what they cannot—will help you strategize their use in in your own practice. 

Review these key applications for GenAI tools use for course materials development.

  • Ask ChatGPT a question, and evaluate how good the responses are. Learn to modify the prompt and examine the change in response.
  • Ask students to act as editors and subject experts, and critique ChatGPT-generated content
  • Ask students to create a bibliography fact-checking ChatGPT-generated work
  • Enter a large lengthy text as the prompt, and ask ChatGPT to synthesize the long document into PowerPoint presentation slides with headers and bullet points. 
  • Use ChatGPT for translation in your language class, and have students discuss the room for improvements. 
  • Try to use ChatGPT to debug incorrect codes to help students as a personal tutor. 
  • Assign topics for students to debate with ChatGPT, and have students reflect on what they have learned.
  • Ask students to do peer reviews on each other's work.

UCLA The Use of Generative AI in Teaching and Education - Guidance to Instructors "Leveraging Social Annotation in the Age of AI"

Originality checkers and plagiarism-prevention tools such as Turnitin have developed AI writing detention tools that are now available for use by faculty. However, given that detection tools are reliant on matching similarities with existing repositories of content, including previous student submissions, internet sources, and academic articles, their capability may be limited in detecting the breadth of AI-generated content in your students’ work. 

With some originality checkers and plagiarism-prevention tools similarly reliant on artificial intelligence to determine whether a submission violates academic integrity, you may encounter false positives and negatives. Thus, suspicions of plagiarism and submitting un-original work should be assessed holistically—not merely based on a detection report.

Brandi Lawless (Communication Studies) shares with Inside Higher Ed the importance of humanizing the classroom:

First, we must trust students, foremost because they are people … We must be mindful of the ways in which academic surveillance dehumanizes the very people we signed up to nurture." (How ChatGPT Bested Me and Worsted My Students)

For more information, visit the GenAI Academic Integrity page »