Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) for writing (including Bing Chat and ChatGPT) can quickly create coherent, cohesive prose and paragraphs on a seemingly limitless set of topics. The potential for abuse in academic integrity is clear, and our students are likely using these tools already. There are similar AI tools for creating images, computer code, and many other domains. Most of this guide concerns generative AI (GenAI) such as large-language models (LLMs) that function as word-predictors and can generate text and entire essays. As AI represents a permanent addition to society and students’ tools, we need to permanently re-envision how we assign college writing and other projects. As such, FCTL has assembled this set of ideas to consider.
Category 1: Lean into the Software’s Abilities
- Re-envision writing as editing/revising. Assign students to create an AI essay with a given prompt, and then heavily edit the AI output using Track Changes and margin comments. Such an assignment refocuses the work of writing away from composition and toward revision, which may be more common in an AI-rich future workplace. Generative AI (GenAI, such at Bing Chat or ChatGPT) is spectacular at providing summaries, but they lack details and specifics, which could be what the students are tasked to do. Other examples include better connecting examples to claims, and revising overall paragraph structure in service of a larger argument. Here are some example assignments using GenAI as part of the writing prompt.
- Re-envision writing as first and third stage human work, with AI performing the middle. Instead of asking students to generate the initials drafts (i.e., “writing as composition”), imagine the student work instead focusing on creating effective prompts for the AI, as well editing the AI output.
- Focus student learning on creative thesis writing by editing AI-created theses. The controlling statement for most AI essays can be characterized as summary in nature, rather than analytical. Students can be challenged to transform AI output into more creative, analytical theses.
- Refine editing skills via grading. Assign students to create an AI essay and grade it, providing specific feedback justifying each of the scores on the rubric. This assignment might be paired with asking students to create their own essay responding to the same prompt.
- Write rebuttals. Ask the AI to produce a custom output you’ve intentionally designed, then assign students to write a rebuttal of the AI output.
- Create counterarguments. Provide the AI with your main argument and ask it to create counterarguments, which can be incorporated – then overcome – in the main essay.
- Evaluate AI writing for bias. Because the software is only as good as information it finds and ingests (remember the principle of GIGO: garbage in, garbage out), it may well create prose that mimics structural bias and racism that is present in its source material. AI writing might also reveal assumptions about the “cultural war” separating political parties in the United States.
- Teach information literacy through AI. Many students over-trust information they find on websites; use AI software to fuel a conversation about when to trust, when to verify, and when to use information found online.
- Give only open-book exams (especially online). Assume that students can and will use the Internet and any available AI to assist them.
- Assign essays, projects, and tests that aim for “application” and above in Bloom’s taxonomy. Since students can look up knowledge/information answers and facts, it’s better to avoid testing them on such domains, especially online.
- Teach debate and critical thinking skills. Ask the AI to produce a stance, then using the tools of your discipline evaluate and find flaws/holes in its position or statements.
- Ask the AI to role play as a character or historical figure. Since GenAI is conversation-based, holding a conversation with an in-character personality yields insights.
- Overcome writer’s block. The AI output could provide a starting point for an essay outline, a thesis statement, or even ideas for paragraphs. Even if none of the paragraphs (or even sentences) are used, asking the AI can be useful for ideation to be put into one’s own words.
- Treat it like a Spellchecker. Ask your students to visit GenAI, type “suggest grammar and syntax fixes:” and then paste their pre-written essay to gain ideas before submission. (Note: for classes where writing ability is a main learning outcome, it might be advisable to require that students disclose any such assistance).
- Make the AI your teaching assistant. When preparing a course, ask the AI to explain why commonly-wrong answers are incorrect. Then, use the Canvas feedback options on quiz/homework questions to paste the AI output for each question.
- Teach sentence diagramming and parts of speech. Since AI can quickly generate text with variety in sentence structures, use the AI output to teach grammar and help students how better to construct sophisticated sentences.
- Engage creativity and multiple modes of representation to foster better recall. Studies show that student recall increases when they use words to describe a picture, or draw a picture to capture information in words. Using AI output as the base, ask students to create artwork (or performances) that capture the same essence.
- Teach AI prompt strategies as a discreet subject related to your field. AI-created content is sure to be a constant in the workplace of the future. Our alumni will need to be versed in crafting specific and sophisticated inputs to obtain best AI outputs.
- Create sample test questions to study for your test. Given appropriate prompts, AI can generate college-level multiple choice test questions on virtually any subject, and provide the right answer. Students can use such questions as modern-day flash cards and test practice.
- View more ideas in this free e-book written by FCTL: “60+ Ideas for ChatGPT Assignments,” which is housed in the UCF Library’s STARS system. Even though the ebook mentions ChatGPT in its title, the assignment prompts work for most GenAI, including Bing Chat.
Category 2: Use the software to make your teaching/faculty life easier
- Create grading rubrics for major assignments. Give specifics about the assignment when asking the software to create a rubric in table format. Optionally, give it the desired sub-grades of the rubric.
- Write simple or mechanical correspondence for you. GenAI is fairly good at writing letters and formulaic emails. The more specific the inputs are, the better the output is. However, always keep in mind the ethics of using AI-generated writing wholesale, representing the writing as your own words–particularly if you are evaluating or recommending anything. AI output should not be used, for instance, in submitting peer reviews.
- Adjust, simplify, shorten, or enhance your formal writing. The software could be asked to shorten (or lengthen) any professional writing you are composing, or to suggest grammar and syntax fixes (particularly useful for non-native speakers of English!) In short, you could treat it like Spellchecker before you submit it. However, again consider the ethics of using AI content wholesale–journals and granting agencies are still deciding how (or whether) to accept AI-assisted submissions, and some have banned it.
- Summarize one-minute papers. If you ask students for feedback, or to prove they understand a concept via one-minute papers, you can submit these en masse and ask the AI to provide a summary.
- Generate study guides for your students. If you input your lecture notes and ask for a summary, this can be given to students as a study guide.
- Create clinical case studies for students to analyze. You can generate different versions of a case with a similar prompt.
- Evaluate qualitative data. Provide the AI with raw data and ask it to identify patterns, not only in repeated words but in similar concepts.
- What about AI and research? It’s best to be cautious, if not outright paranoid, about privacy, legality, ethics, and many related concerns, when thinking about exposing your primary research to any AI platform–especially anything novel that could lead to patent and commercialization. Consult the IT department and the Office of Research before taking any action.
- Create test questions and banks. The AI can create nearly limitless multiple-choice questions (with correct answers identified) on many topics and sub-topics. Obviously, these need to be proof-read and verified before using with a student audience.
Category 3: Teach Ethics, Integrity, and Career-Related Skills
- Discuss the ethical and career implications of AI-writing with your students. Early in the semester (or at least when assigning a writing prompt), have a frank discussion with your students about the existence of AI writing. Point out to them the surface-level ethical problem with mis-representing their work if they choose to attempt it, as well as the deeper problem of “cheating themselves” by entering the workforce without adequate preparation for writing skills, a quality that employers highly prize.
- Create and prioritize an honor code in your class. Submitting AI-created work as one’s own is, fundamentally, dishonest. As professionals, we consider it among our top priorities to graduate individuals of character who can perform admirably in their chosen discipline, all of which requires a set of core beliefs rooted in honor. Make this chain of logic explicit to students (repeatedly if necessary) in an effort to convince them to adopt a similar alignment toward personal honesty. A class-specific honor code can aid this effort, particularly if invoked or attested to when submitting major assignments and tests.
- Reduce course-related workload to disincentivize cheating. Many instances of student cheating, including the use of AI-writing, is borne out of desperation and a lack of time. Consider how realistic the workload you expect of students is
Category 4: Attempt to neutralize the software
Faculty looking to continue assigning take-home writing and essays may be interested in this list of ideas to customize their assignments so that students do not benefit from generative AI. However, this approach will likely fail in time, as the technology is improving rapidly, and automated detection methods are already unreliable (at UCF, in fact, the office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity will not pursue administrative cases against students where the only evidence is from AI detectors). Artificial intelligence is simply a fact of life in modern society, and its use will only become more widespread.
Possible Syllabus Statements
Faculty looking for syllabus language may consider one of these options:
- Use of AI prohibited. Only some Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, such as spell-check or Grammarly, are acceptable for use in this class. Use of other AI tools via website, app, or any other access, is not permitted in this class. Representing work created by AI as your own is plagiarism, and will be prosecuted as such. Check with your instructor to be sure of acceptable use if you have any questions.
- Use of AI only with explicit permission. This class will make use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in various ways. You are permitted to use AI only in the manner and means described in the assignments. Any attempt to represent AI output inappropriately as your own work will be treated as plagiarism.
- Use of AI only with acknowledgement. Students are allowed to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools on assignments if the usage is properly documented and credited. For example, text generated from Bing Chat Enterprise should include a citation such as: “Bing Chat Enterprise. Accessed 2023-12-03. Prompt: ‘Summarize the Geneva Convention in 50 words.’ Generated using http://bing.com/chat.”
- Use of AI is freely permitted with no acknowledgement. Students are allowed to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools in all assignments in this course, with no need to cite, document, or acknowledge any support received from AI tools.
If you write longer announcements or policies for students, try to aim for a level-headed tone that neither overly demonizes AI nor overly idolizes it. Students who are worried about artificial intelligence and/or privacy will be reassured by a steady, business-like tone.
AI at UCF
The Faculty Center recommends that UCF faculty work with Bing Chat Enterprise (BCE) over other large-language model AI tools.
BCE is NOT the same thing as “Bing Chat.” The latter is a the public model of Microsoft’s LLM. BCE is a “walled garden” for UCF that offers several benefits:
- It searches the current Internet and is not limited to a fixed point in time when it was trained
- It uses GPT-4 (faster, better) without having to pay a premium
- It uses DALL-E 3.0 to generate images (right there inside BCE rather than on a different site)
- It provides a live Internet link to verify the information and confirm there was no hallucination
- It does not store history by user; each logout or new session wipes the memory. In fact, each query is a new blank slate even within the same session, so it’s not possible to have a “conversation” with BCE (like you can with ChatGPT)
- Faculty log in with their NID (NOTE: students do not yet have access to this)
- Data stays local and is NOT uploaded to Microsoft or the public model version of Bing Chat. Inputs into BCE are NOT added to the system’s memory, database, or future answers
Bing Chat Enterprise is not accessed via a direct URL or link. Faculty should follow this procedure:
- Start at the public Bing Chat
- Click “sign in” at the top-right
- Select “work or school” for the type of account
- Type your full UCF email and click NEXT
- Log in with your NID and NID password. (Note: you may need to alter your SafeSearch settings away from “Strict”)
- Above the box where you would type your question, you will see “Your personal and company data are protected in this chat” – this is how you know you are in BCE.
Note that only UCF faculty (not students or staff) have access to BCE. Students will have to use the public Bing Chat.
We recommend that faculty approach the AI revolution with the recognition that AI is here to stay and will represent a needed skill in the workplace of the future (or even the present!) As such, both faculty and students need to develop AI Fluency skills, which we define as:
- Understanding how AI works – knowing how LLMs operate will help users calibrate how much they should (mis)trust the output.
- Deciding when to use AI (and when not to) – AI is just another tool. In some circumstances users will get better results than a web-based search engine, but in other circumstances the reverse may be true. There are also moments when it may be unethical to use AI without disclosing the help.
- Valuing AI – a dispositional change such as this one is often overshadowed by outcomes favored by faculty on the cognitive side, yet true fluency with AI – especially the AI of the future – will require a favorable disposition to using AI. Thus, we owe it to students to recognize AI’s value.
- Applying effective prompt engineering methods – as the phrase goes, “garbage in, garbage out” applies when it comes to the kind of output AI creates. Good prompts give better results than lazy or ineffective prompts. Writing effective prompts is likely to remain a tool-specific skill, with different AI interfaces needing to be learned separately.
- Evaluating AI output – even today’s advanced AI tools can create hallucinations or contain factual mistakes. Employees in the workplace of the future – and thus our students today – need expertise in order to know how trustworthy the output is, and they need practice in fixing/finalizing the output, as this is surely how workplaces will use AI.
- Adding human value – things that can be automated by AI will, in fact, eventually become fully automated. But there will always be a need for human involvement for elements such as judgment, creativity, or emotional intelligence. Our students need to hone the skill of constantly seeking how humans add value to AI output. This includes sensing where (or when) the output could use human input, extrapolation, or interpretation, and then creating effective examples of them. Since this will be context-dependent, it’s not a single skill needed so much as a set of tools that enable our alumni to flourish alongside AI.
- Displaying digital adaptability – today’s AI tools will evolve, or may be replaced by completely different AI tools. Students and faculty need to be prepared for a lifetime of changing AI landscapes. They will need the mental dexterity and agility to accept these changes as inevitable, and the disposition to not fight against these tidal forces. The learning about AI, in other words, should be expected to last a lifetime.
“Teach with AI” Conference
UCF’s Faculty Center and Center for Distributed Learning are co-hosts of the “Teach with AI” annual conference. This is a national sharing conference that uses short-format presentations and open forums to focus on the sharing of classroom practices by front-line faculty and administrators, rather than research about AI. Although this conference is not free for UCF faculty and staff, we hold separate internal events about AI that are free for UCF stakeholders.
- Bard – the text-generating AI created by Google using LaMDA technology
- Bing – Microsoft’s regular search engine is inherently powered by an LLM.
- Bing Chat – A ChatGPT-style chatbot, Bing Chat holds conversations and can generate images
- Bing Chat Enterprise (BCE) – a UCF-specific instance of Bing Chat, using UCF logins and keeping data local.
- BlenderBot – the text-generating AI created by Meta
- Canva – a “freemium” online image creating/editing tool that added AI-image generation in 2023
- ChatGPT – the text-generating AI created by OpenAI
- Claude – the text-generating AI created by Anthropic (ex-employees of OpenAI)
- CoPilot – AI embedded in Microsoft Office products
- DALL-E – the image-generating AI created by OpenAI
- Generative AI – a type of AI that “generates” an output, such as text or images. Large language models like ChatGPT are generative AI
- Grok – the generative AI product launched by Elon Musk’s xAI
- Khanmigo – Khan Academy’s GPT-powered AI, which will be integrated into Canvas/Webcourses (timeline uncertain)
- LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) – a LLM trained specifically on dialogue, such as Google’s Bard
- LLM (Large Language Model) – a type of software / generative AI that accesses large databases it’s been trained on to predict the next logical word in a sentence, given the task/question it’s been given. Advanced models have excellent “perplexity” (plausibility in the word choice) and “burstiness” (variation of the sentences).
- Jasper – a for-pay text-generating AI aimed at businesses and blog posts
- Midjourney – an industry-leading text-to-AI solution (for profit)
- NightCafe – a free imagine-generating AI
- OpenAI – the company that created ChatGPT and DALL-E
- Sydney – the name of the AI that supports Microsoft’s Bing search engine
- xAI – the AI company launched by Elon Musk