21 Aug

AI/LLM policy statements

This is what it feels like to be teaching sometimes (made with Bing Image Creator, powered by Dall-E)

Me, teaching to a room of robots

It seems that all I can think about lately is AI in the classroom. I wanted to share my summer 2023 AI/LLM policy statement for my class. Feel free to use with attribution.

Important to note:

  • This is for a research methods class with very little writing, so if your class has writing in it, YMMV.
  • I’m currently teaching remote and asynchronous classes, so I don’t have the same options for in-class assignments as others do.
  • I have MANY other tools to discourage AI/LLM use in my courses. (Hypothesis social annotations, video reactions, etc.)
  • I give FREQUENT reminders to students about this policy.
  • This is a work-in-progress. I took a summer workshop on AI/LLM in the classroom that helped me refine it. I read through Aleksandra Urman‘s work on this. I am in dozens of AI/LLM in the classroom Facebook and subreddits. All of this contributed.
  • It is ESSENTIAL that your policy aligns with your university policy and what your student conduct group’s policy is as well as how they react to such cases.
  • AI detection software is quite flawed. A single tool for detection is insufficient as evidence of AI. And these tools are notorious for flagging non-native English writing as AI. More on this here.

Artificial Intelligence and Large Language Model Policy

We know that artificial intelligence text generators like ChatGPT and other tools like Grammarly and Quillbot are powerful tools that are increasingly used by many. And while they can be incredibly useful for some tasks (creating lists of things, for example), it is not a replacement for critical thinking and writing. Artificial intelligence text generators and editors are “large language models” – they are trained to reproduce sequences of words, not to understand or explain anything. It is algorithmic linguistics. To illustrate, if you ask ChatGPT “The first person to walk on the moon was…” it responds with Neil Armstrong. But what is really going on is that you’re asking ChatGPT “Given the statistical distribution of words in the publicly available data in English that you know, what words are most likely to follow the sequence “the first person to walk on the moon was” and ChatGPT determines that the words that are most likely to follow are “Neil Armstrong.” It is not actually thinking, just predicting.  Learning how to use artificial intelligence well is a skill that takes time to develop. Moreover, there are many drawbacks to using artificial intelligence text generators for assignments and quiz answers and proofreading and editing. 

Some of those limitations include: 

  • Artificial intelligence text generators like ChatGPT are sometimes wrong. (For example, for our sampling assignment, I had ChatGPT generate lists of Pokemon that can evolve and not evolve and it was wrong for 15% of them.) If the tool gives you incorrect information and you use it on an assignment, you are held accountable for it. If the proofreading introduces terminology that is not as precise as the terminology in course materials or used differently than in course materials, you are held accountable for it.
  • There is also a drawback in using artificial intelligence tools like Grammarly or Quillbot to “proofread” or “edit” your original writing – it may change your text so much that it no longer reflects your original thought or it may use terminology incorrectly. Further, in COM 382, you are not being evaluated on your writing, so there is no need to use extensive proofreading.
  • The text that artificial intelligence text generators provide you is derived from another human’s original writing and likely multiple other humans’ original writing. As such, there are intellectual property and plagiarism considerations.
  • Most, if not all, artificial intelligence text generators are not familiar with our textbook or my lectures and as such, will not draw from that material when generating answers. This will result in answers that will be obviously not created by someone enrolled in the course. It is likely that your assignment will not be graded as well if you’re not using course material to construct your writing. For example, AI does not understand the difference between measurement validity and study validity. AI does not understand the difference between ethics more broadly and research ethics. 
  • Answers written by artificial intelligence text generators are detectable with software and we will use the software to review answers that seem unusual. We will have to be cautious in our use of such tools, but if multiple detectors find that something is likely to have been written with AI, that will be used as evidence of misconduct.

It is okay for you to use artificial intelligence text generators in this course, BUT:

  • You must use them in a way that helps you learn, not hampers learning. Remember that these are tools to assist you in your coursework, not a replacement for your own learning of the material, critical thinking ability, and writing skills.
  • The only acceptable use of AI on assignments (quizzes, tickets, etc.) in COM 382 is for proofreading (like Grammarly or Quillbot). This should only be for simple grammar checks, not extensive rewriting. And in COM 382 you are not being evaluated on your grammar, so we discourage this use, while acknowledging that some students want to use it.
  • It is acceptable to use AI in COM 382 to provide you with other explanations of concepts or organize your notes and there is no need to disclose these. However, if the AI gives you incorrect information and you use that incorrect information on an assignment, you will be held accountable for it.
  • Be transparent: If you used an AI tool for proofreading, you must include both your original writing and the AI-version so that I may see both and determine if the answer that you submitted reflects your original thought. And I expect that you will include a short paragraph at the end of the assignment or in the final 0 point question in the quiz/exam that explains what you used the artificial intelligence tool for and why. (For example: “I used Grammarly to give me feedback on my sentence structure on question 6. English is my 3rd language and I like using AI as a proofreading tool.” It is not required to disclose using AI for studying, but you can if you want to: “I read the book and listened to the lecture on measurement reliability and I didn’t fully understand it, so I asked ChatGPT to give me other examples which helped my understanding.” Or “I did not understand a term in the textbook and I asked ChatGPT to explain it to me.”)
  • If you are using artificial intelligence tools to help you in this class and you’re not doing well on assignments, I expect that you will reflect upon the role that the tool may play in your class performance and consider changing your use.
  • If artificial intelligence tools are used in ways that are nefarious or unacknowledged, you may be subject to the academic misconduct policies detailed earlier in the syllabus.