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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI-based tools such as ChatGPT, Microsoft Copilot, DALL-E, and Adobe Firefly will continue to progress and be integrated with many computer programs that we use every day. These advancements bring productivity benefits as well as pedagogical challenges. Instructors at UMD are encouraged to continually adapt to and embrace the use of advanced technologies. AI has the potential to contribute to teaching and learning in meaningful ways, and in other instances be a deterrent when skill development requires that its use be restricted. 

The only bad way to react to AI is to pretend it doesn’t change anything.

Ethan Mollick Associate Professor, The Wharton School

At the TLTC, we look forward to helping you think creatively about your assessments and your specific learning outcomes to put authentic, relevant,  student-centered learning at the forefront of your academic planning. Here are important points to consider as you plan your course: 

  • Experiment: Try out these tools yourself in order to better understand their benefits and risks. You will learn much more though experimentation than you will by only reading and thinking about your assignments!
  • Communicate: Speak openly and frequently with your students about your expectations for technology use — specifically, for AI-based tools.
  • Assess your risks: Like many other software/apps available on the web (free or not), access to AI-based tools requires users to agree with specific terms of service and privacy policies. Instructors and students should carefully read these documents and understand the risks associated with their use, prior to accepting the terms.
  • Offer alternatives: If your pedagogy allows you to embrace the use of AI in your course, plan to also offer alternative ways to achieve similar outcomes in case you have students who are unable to use the tool for a variety of reasons. 
  • Integrate and motivate: Integrating AI tools, or motivating compliance with relevant rationale, will be more effective than an adversarial approach to restrict and detect AI-generated content with technology solutions.

Top Resources to Support Your Teaching

Considerations: Incorporating AI

By incorporating AI-based tools into your classes, you have the opportunity to shape your students' perceptions of AI in an academic setting and prepare them to leverage them responsibly and effectively in their future careers.

Some questions to consider as you begin planning:

  • What are some of the most important skills you want students to learn in your class? Consider the alignment with your course outcomes as you incorporate these new tools.
  • How might you incorporate AI into an assignment in order to prepare students for its real-world applications in their future careers?
  • How might you incorporate AI into an assignment in order to help students develop critical literacies about the tool and its benefits and risks?

Potential assignment ideas:

  • Allow students to use an AI-based tool to create a draft, then ask them to deconstruct and edit the draft and turn in both versions.
  • Ask students to submit an outline and create AI-generated drafts for them.
  • Encourage students to use an AI-based tool to search terms or ask questions when beginning their research process.
  • Have students generate an argument on a topic using an AI-based tool, then write a counterargument.
  • Have students deconstruct the output from an AI-based tool and compare it to content they have been learning about in class.
  • Encourage students to use an AI-based image generator to sketch out ideas or illustrate a presentation.

Looking for more? Here are 101 crowd-sourced ideas for using AI in education and five things to think about as you begin teaching with AI.

As you explore these new tools with your students, you'll want to do it as thoughtfully as possible. Some things to consider:

  • Security: Read through privacy agreements and make sure you are personally comfortable using different AI-based tools. Consider using more vetted tools in university-licensed programs, such as Bing AI (must download Microsoft Edge to use) and Adobe Firefly. Never put private information (especially about students!) into these tools.
  • Opt-out options: Some students may not be comfortable signing up for accounts in these tools, or may experience barriers to access if they use tools such as screen readers. Make sure you have a plan for a student who needs to opt out of using a tool.
  • Accuracy and bias: As you encourage the use of these tools, make sure you're talking with your students about the ways they may portray inaccurate or biased information, based on how they were made. For help with these conversations, check out our module on AI and Information Literacy for students [coming soon].

Considerations: Deterring AI

There may be times in your courses that the use of an AI-based tool would deprive students of practicing a valuable skill. When that is the case, here are a few strategies to keep in mind.

Use teaching practices that motivate your students:

  • Set realistic goals
  • Describe the relevance of skills
  • Offer options to increase choice and control
  • Allow time for multiple drafts and feedback opportunities where students discuss their work
  • Consider alternative grading strategies

Determine acceptable levels of collaboration for each assignment and explain your reasoning in the syllabus, in class, and in the ELMS site/assignment. Some questions to consider:

  • How do you want your students to engage or not engage with AI? And why?
  • Which AI use is acceptable? (collect definitions, generate outlines, develop full passages, etc.)

See the resources section at the bottom of this page for example syllabus language.

If you have concerns regarding student work, refer the issue to the Office of Student Conduct. They are also available to talk through questions you may have about student work or their processes.

Additional Resources to Support Your Teaching

Self-paced 45-minute module. Enroll here.

The TLTC and University Libraries have teamed up to create a module to help your students learn more about AI-based tools, how they work, and how to assess them for accuracy. Just insert it directly into your course in ELMS! Module link and directions for importing it here.

What goes into an AI policy? See this page for guidance and sample syllabus policies, based on your course goals.

Interested in attending a live workshop to learn more about AI in your classroom? Check out the schedule of upcoming workshops and register for one here.

Additional materials:



Page last updated March 2024

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