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AI - Info for Faculty: AI and Teaching

Guidance for faculty on the use of AI technology in teaching and research

Guidance to Faculty – use of Generative AI

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT are now freely available to the public, including our students, and many are being integrated into common teaching and learning tools we use such as Grammarly, Microsoft Office, and Google Apps.

We highly recommend that you talk to your students at the beginning of the semester about if and how they can use AI in your class and include a statement about the use of Generative AI tools in your course outline.

If permitted by the instructor or a student’s supervisory committee, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools and technologies to generate, create or refine content submitted as an academic assignment or other academic work may be permitted, or even encouraged. However, the instructor or committee may also specify that only certain AI tools and technologies can be used. Permission should be provided in writing, for instance as part of the course syllabus or as feedback for the thesis proposal.

If the instructor has provided permission, the AI tools and technologies used and the specific content affected by their use must be disclosed in writing as part of the work submitted by the student, and cited as per an accepted style guide (MLA; APA; Chicago)

What is Generative AI?

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is a term that refers to a type of “AI algorithms that can create a variety of content types—including alphabetic text, images, and sound—based on patterns it has identified within a data set.” (Dobrin, 2023, p. 7)  This allows the algorithm, once trained, to produce a wide variety of content.  As of early 2023, a number of open source (free to all) language models, were made available, including the well-known ChatGPT.  These are algorithms that have been trained on huge amounts of natural language (primarily from the internet) to (essentially) learn how to create text in response to a request or other input.  

What principles does the University of Lethbridge recommend around the use of these tools?

Use of Generative AI should follow the University of Lethbridge Fundamental Principles. These include a commitment to encourage and protect free inquiry and expression and an emphasis on ethical actions that are socially responsible.As well, these principles remind us that we strive to be student-centred, and to help students achieve their full potential by their intellectual growth and personal excellence in an atmosphere of engagement within and beyond the classroom. We believe that, in the context of the upsurge of interest in AI tools, we have a responsibility to consider and encourage ethics of care when representing the ideas of others, including when those ideas are AI generated or altered.

Please note: Sometimes plagiarism checking software (such as TurnItIn) may flag work that has been written on a machine that has AI software installed (such as Grammarly). Always be aware of this possibility when writing or reviewing and ensure the lines of communications are open with your students to be aware of what is permissible in the course but also what inadvertent use of AI may have occurred.

This article highlights some of the ways that we can possibly determine AI from human written work ourselves by recognizing the use (or lack) of connective words in the work.

What are the various ways these tools can be used?

These tools are undoubtedly powerful, offering support with editing and adjusting the style of existing content, assisting with problem-solving, and even generating "new" content. As educators we should be aware of the risks and work to educate our students, as well as having a sense of the possible benefits these tools can offer.

Sample Statement for Course Syllabi

It is a good idea to explicitly state your stance on the use of generative AI by students in your classes. Some instructors may encourage it; others, absolutely forbid it, and others in between. Some institutions have provided excellent guidance and examples on how you can outline your expectations around this in your course outlines:

UofL's Academic Offence Policies

A small group of staff, faculty, instructors, and librarians came together earlier this summer to develop proposed changes to the academic offence policies to include additional language about the use of Generative AI by students in completing their assessments. The overall policies are also being reviewed and feedback gathered from users over a number of years is being integrated.

While the new draft policies will take some time to make their way through feedback and approval processes this Fall, the current undergraduate and graduate student policies do have language that can be referenced in your course outline or on individual evaluations. If you are clear with students about the expectations in your course for if or how they can use AI, you can take action using section 7 “Other Offences”, if their conduct is counter to your instruction and as a result adversely affects the integrity of the evaluation process.

For further assistance

Feel free to contact The Teaching Centre or the Library for further information or assistance.

Additional Resources

How to cite AI Generated Content

If you are using generative AI tools in your work, you must cite it properly. We have added examples of how to cite generative AI to our existing citation guides: