Many of you may be aware of the press around the new AI open tool, ChatGPT. ChatGPT is a tool that uses machine learning to generate text in response to a wide range of prompts. There are many open questions regarding how effective the tool is at generating text and how its existence impacts writing instruction moving forward. It is important to note that UCI has world leaders in the areas of writing instruction and education technology. People on campus are actively engaged in evaluating this and other AI-based tools for their impact and effectiveness from a wide range of perspectives. As we learn more, we will provide regular updates to the campus community.
This email provides instructors with some initial information on the tool and offers recommendations for elements they should address in their courses/syllabi.
If you are looking for more information on ChatGPT, please consider attending the free webinar co-hosted by the WRITE Center and the National Writing Project or attending a locally hosted presentation:
ChatGPT, Generative AI, and the Future of Education: Friday, January 13 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (PST). Located in the Public Service Building 270, (next to UCI Parking Office, above the police station) or via Zoom: https://uci.zoom.us/j/95325363357
2. If your course includes essay writing, you should consider addressing ChatGPT explicitly with your class, and even demonstrate the shortcomings and challenges of using it to generate truly effective writing for the types of prompts we typically use in college courses. (In fact, it is a good idea to test your prompts on ChatGPT to evaluate what ChatGPT outputs and potentially refine your writing prompts.) Working explicitly with your students is one of the best ways to avoid academic integrity issues.
3. It is important to note that under the current conditions, using ChatGPT to generate essays for submission for lower division writing will be considered a violation of academic integrity (see sample of lower division writing syllabus text below). However, as with any tool, individual instructors should determine how specific tools are used within their course. Knowing that individual faculty may make different choices within their specific classes, it is critical that we communicate clearly to students what will or will not be considered a violation in a particular course. For example, when can tools be used for testing and brainstorming versus work for submission? Also, it is useful to remind students that the usage of tools will be course-specific and dependent on individual course goals.
4. For your reference, here is the language from the Composition lower division writing course syllabi:
Academic Integrity for Your Writing Class: The Composition Program and its teachers assume that work submitted by students–all process work, drafts, low-stakes writing, final versions, and all other submissions–will be generated by the students themselves, working individually or in groups. This means that the following would be considered violations of academic integrity by the Composition Program:
1) if a student has another person/entity do the writing of any substantive portion of an assignment for them, which includes hiring a person or a company to write essays and drafts and/or other assignments, research-based or otherwise, and using artificial intelligence affordances like ChatGPT;
2) if a student submits the same work for more than one class without consulting with the instructors.
5. We will continue researching and evaluating ChatGPT, both for potential pedagogical uses and in the context of academic integrity violations. As various tools and information become available, we share them through a range of channels, including the Campus Writing and Communication Coordinator Daniel M. Gross, the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation, and EEE/Canvas websites.
If you have any questions or please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org