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It is important that every faculty member create a set of guidelines for their course to clarify how and when students and instructional staff are permitted to engage with generative text based AI. These should be shared in your syllabus and on Canvas.

 Tufts University's campus with students walking about and computer code in the background

The evolving capacities of AI systems as learning tools can make it difficult to recognize clear boundaries between tasks helpful for learning and those that might mis-represent a student’s knowledge or skills on an assessment or assignment. One can use these tools to answer questions, explain unfamiliar concepts or ideas, brainstorm ideas, revise outlines, create drafts of code or writing, suggest approaches to solving a problem, summarize a paper, and as a copy-editing tool that identifies grammatical and spelling errors. Tufts schools, professional societies and journals are also beginning to explore what effective and ethical use of these systems might look like for academic use. However, at this time it is up to the individual instructor to determine guidelines for its appropriate use by students in each courses.

Developing guidelines that take into account that AI systems are changing and evolving quickly is important. It may be valuable to to explore and revise guidelines in collaboration with your students, and to revisit them regularly. One approach to engaging your students is to develop an activity where they explore the use of an AI tool in an assignment and then, based on that experience, help craft or suggest guidelines for the ‘ethical’ use of AI within the context of the course assignments. We encourage you to be clear about when and how tools might be used, and to explain why this is important for their learning.

Below are examples that might help inform you in developing your guidelines and links for more example statements. This worksheet might also help you identify which some activities might be acceptable for students in your courses.

A statement sharing guidelines for the use of AI in a course

In this course, you may use AI tools for your learning, just as you can collaborate with your peers for things such as brainstorming, getting feedback, revising, or editing of your own work. However, you may not submit any work generated by an AI program as your own. This is a violation of Tufts Academic Integrity policies.

To help guide you in the use of AI in this course – consider the following guidelines:

  1. Familiarize yourself with AI tools, including that: Bias is embedded in the creation of these systems and in their output and you may encounter harmful language and ideas. AI platforms can produce inaccurate or false information with confidence (so called hallucinations, e.g, it frequently invent false references). Text from AI may closely mimic human knowledge, understanding and even human emotions. Many of these tools retain the rights to use your information and the content shared with them in a variety of ways.
  2. Cite all AI tools when used or referred to in assigned work. See How to Cite ChatGPT from the APA & How to Cite Generative AI from the MLA.
  3. Identify the way it contributed to your work. For example, you can include a statement that you asked an AI to “identify any grammatical or spelling errors” in your writing, or you used it to get started in thinking about topics for your paper. Any statement directly generated by an AI system should be in quotes.
  4. If you have questions please ask via email, in office hours or during class.

A statement prohibiting the use of AI in a course:

Since writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills are part of the learning outcomes of this course, we expect that all work students submit for this course will be their own. Additionally, students are not allowed to use any generative artificial intelligence tools (e.g. ChatGPT or Dall-E 2) at any stages of the work process, including preliminary ones. AI-generated submissions are not permitted and will be considered as plagiarism.

A statement encouraging the use of AI:

This course encourages students to explore the use of generative artificial intelligence (GAI) tools such as ChatGPT for all assignments and assessments. Any such use must be appropriately acknowledged and cited, and it is each student’s responsibility to assess the validity and applicability of any GAI output that is submitted - you bear the final responsibility. Violations of this policy will be considered academic misconduct. We draw your attention to the fact that different classes at Harvard could implement different AI policies, and it is the student’s responsibility to conform to expectations for each course. (Source: Harvard University)

Examples from Tufts Courses

Links to collections of example syllabus statements guiding the use of AI: