July 2023

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We in OTL continue to grapple with the possibilities and challenges presented by the evolving landscape of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in higher education. Over the past few months, several events related to AI and higher education have been held, and resources have been created, to offer experts’ insights on this complex topic.  

This special issue of the OTL Teaching and Learning Digest features curated resources related to AI and teaching to help you think about how these technological changes may interact with your teaching.  

OTL Curated Resources Related to Generative AI in Teaching and Learning 

As we work on building provisional recommendations on the use of generative AI in teaching and learning, we have launched new materials to help instructors navigate this technology. We have curated an annotated list of resources on generative AI, including guidance in the University of Guelph context, introductory overviews on the technology, and expert advice on using generative AI in post-secondary teaching and learning. Our top three highlights from the resources include: 

  1. UNESCO’s Quick Start Guide to understand generative AI in higher education

  2. Innovative resources from other Canadian post-secondary institutions

  3. Specific perspectives from students and instructors on the use of generative AI in teaching and learning 

OTL will be updating these resources periodically, and welcomes input from our UofG community at otl@uoguelph.ca.

Announcing the OTL Generative AI and Teaching Summer Session  

In response to instructors’ requests for guidance on generative AI and teaching, OTL is pleased to announce two Generative AI and Teaching Summer Sessions. During these sessions, participants will:  

  • discuss generative AI and teaching with colleagues from other disciplines,  

  • experiment with a tool to determine allowable uses of generative AI in their courses,  

  • and productively address an area of interest (e.g., modifying assessments to be AI-resistant, using AI for course planning and design, implementing generative AI into coursework, etc.)

The session is intended to be participatory and collaborative. It is not intended to be a primer on how to use ChatGPT or a detailed introduction to how generative AI works. 

Sessions will be offered on Thursday August 3rd from 1:30pm – 3:30pm (in-person in McLaughlin Library Room 265) and on Friday August 11th from 10:00am to 12:00pm (online via Microsoft Teams). To register for one of the sessions, visit this registration link. Please contact otl@uoguelph.ca with any questions. 

UofG Academic Integrity Statement 

In March 2023, the UG Campus News released a statement on AI systems and academic integrity. The statement affirms the University’s “commitment to ensuring that the use of AI in teaching and learning complies with existing policies and regulations that govern academic and scholarly integrity.” The statement also includes the following points: 

  1. Students’ work must reflect their unique intellectual capacity and demonstrate the application of critical thinking and problem solving. Unauthorized use of AI to complete assessments violates the fundamental intellectual purposes of the University and does not demonstrate student achievement of course learning outcomes. 
  2. Submission of materials completed by AI, without permission of the instructor, constitutes an offence under the University’s academic misconduct policies, either as a form of plagiarism or the use of unauthorized aids.
  3. Acceptable use of AI should be determined by the course instructor and may vary across disciplines, programs and types of assessments. In setting out course requirements and assessment criteria, the instructor should specify allowable uses of AI, if any, through the course outline and/or the learning management system (e.g., CourseLink). Clarity about the acceptable use of AI is critical for students and instructors. Students are responsible for appropriately referencing how and to what extent they have used AI in assessments in keeping with University and course requirements. 

A New Tool to Help Instructors Determine Allowable Uses of Generative AI in Assessments  

How can instructors clearly determine and communicate allowable uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in their courses, if any, when assigning written work? To help instructors with this issue, OTL collaborated with McLaughlin Library’s Writing Services to create a tool that includes encouragement to communicate with students about generative AI, to build AI literacy, and to define skills-based learning objectives in relation to generative AI. You can find the tool here. 

The tool offers a checklist that can be included in a course outline or assignment instructions to let students know when they can and cannot use generative AI to complete writing assignments. As a Microsoft Word document, instructors can adjust the information on the checklist to their specific course content. Please try out the tool in your courses this fall and let us know how it works for you. 

The tool may be adapted via a Creative Commons non-commercial share-alike license. It acts as a template to build further discipline-specific and assessment-specific tools to guide instructors in clearly determining and communicating allowable uses of generative AI in course work. If you have ideas on adapting this tool for your discipline or assessment types, please consider connecting to us to refine the tool, and so that we may share it as a resource for instructors. 

Key Take-aways from Two UofG Events Related to AI and Education 

In the Winter 2023 semester, the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics (Lang) and the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences (CSAHS) hosted two thought-provoking events on AI in higher education.  

In March, English instructor Anna Mills presented to Lang, exploring How Should We Teach with Writing in the Era of AI Text Generators? See the video of her presentation here, and view the slides here. She covered issues of academic integrity, critical AI literacy, detection software, and generative AI’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to writing assignments. Mills offered suggestions for instructors who are considering bringing critical AI literacy and assessment practices into their courses. 

In April, the CSAHS TLEHub hosted a hybrid panel called Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Teaching and Learning at UoG: Pass or Fail? The panel featured faculty and instructors representing each of the 7 UoG colleges. Panelists discussed how they are beginning to use AI in their teaching, the opportunities and limitations of tools like ChatGPT, and its relationship with academic integrity. During the discussion, Dr. Jonathan Schmidt, Associate Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences, shared his thoughts on AI literacy, or the knowledge and skills needed to use AI tools. After the panel, Jonathan generously shared an expanded version of his thinking about AI literacy, presented below.  

The Eightfold Path to AI Literacy 

Dr. Jonathan M. Schmidt is the Associate Dean Academic at the Ontario Agricultural College. As a panelist at the CSAHS TLE Hub panel on AI, he presented his thoughts on an “eightfold path” to AI literacy, which he argued will be crucial to adapting to this technology in teaching and learning. 

He offered three premises about AI chatbots:

  • They’re not going away, and they will be used in universities.  

  • They will continue to improve.  

  • We need to learn how to benefit from these technologies. 

Given these premises, he asked what skills and knowledge will students need to effectively use generative AI tools in a manner that benefits themselves and others? How can instructors provide opportunities for students to acquire and practice these skills and knowledge in a supportive environment? 

In this summary of Dr. Schmidt’s eightfold path, he outlines how AI literacy includes the following knowledge and skills: 

  1. Function: Describe how Chat AI technologies work, including the basic principles of machine learning, large language models, the training, and datasets. 

  2. Limitations: Describe what generative AI models can and cannot do, and their limitations related to creativity, reasoning, and verification. 

  3. Input: Create effective and meaningful input (prompts, questions, requests, instructions). 

  4. Critique: Critically evaluate the reliability, logical validity, and factuality of the output of generative AI models. 

  1. Attribution: Ethically and meaningfully attribute and acknowledge AI output and ownership of work. 

  1. Fairness: Describe issues related to unequal access to generative AI platforms. Work to mitigate barriers to access. 

  1. Bias: Recognize intrinsic biases in training sets used by generative AI, and the resulting limited outputs.  

  1. Empowerment: Express one’s own creative, original work, independent of these technologies.  

Please contact Jonathan Schmidt at jonschm@uoguelph.ca if you wish to discuss the Eightfold Path to AI Literacy.  

TLI 2023: Two AI and Higher Education Panels 

This year’s Teaching and Learning Innovations Conference (TLI 2023) featured two panels related to AI in higher education. The first panel, The Future is Now: AI in Higher Education featured Dr. Graham Taylor, Academic Director of CARE-AI, Kevin Matsui, Manager Director of CARE-AI, Christa Morrison, Digital Pedagogy Specialist at McMaster University, and Jacob Claessens, MSc student studying artificial intelligence at the University of Guelph. The panelists discussed the effects of AI in teaching and learning in higher education. They also provided recommendations for instructors to ensure that students are adequately prepared for a workforce that will increasingly rely on AI.  

The second panel, Now What? Artificial Intelligence and Assessments focused specifically on the impact of AI on academic assessments. Panelists were Dr. Kerry Ritchie, Director of the College of Biological Sciences Office of Educational Scholarship and Practice (COESP), Brandon Sabourin, Educational Developer in the Office of Teaching and Learning, Kelsy Ervin, PhD candidate in Neuroscience and Writing Consultant TA in Writing Services, and Carson Johnston, BAH student in Philosophy. The panelists each brought unique perspectives on AI and assessments based on their roles as faculty, students, TAs, and educational developers.   

Assessment in the Age of AI Workshop at CoESP Day 

On May 9th, Dr. Tim Bartley, Assistant Professor in Integrative Biology, facilitated a workshop called Assessment in the age of AI at the College of Biological Science Office of Educational Scholarship and Practice (COESP) Biology Education Day. During the workshop, participants shared their fears and curiosities about AI tools, discussed the benefits and drawbacks of AI tools in assessments, and developed ideas for how assessments could utilize AI tools.  

Workshop participants co-created two resources related to AI and assessments: an Assessment Inspiration List that focuses on how to use or incorporate AI tools into assessments, and an AI Strategy Sheet that focuses on how instructors can prevent or discourage academic misconduct related to AI and assessments. These helpful resources provide concrete strategies that UofG instructors can adapt in their teaching. For questions about these resources, please contact Tim Bartley at tbartley@uoguelph.ca

For more teaching resources or to chat with an Educational Developer, visit our website at otl.uoguelph.ca or contact otl@uoguelph.ca.