The use of generative AI tools in coursework
We have prepared some information and example instructions to students relating to the use of ChatGPT and other generative AI tools that teachers can adapt for their course.
From the Education Office’s bulletin, read the University’s response to the emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools in education. AI is moving at a fast pace so please consider that these suggestions are a moment in time.
What you should know
AI is here to stay, Prof Michael Witbrock (NAOInstitute) says we are still in early days of Artificial Intelligence, the output of LLM like ChatGPT gives no reflection or reconsideration to output but many Labs are working on far more complex reasoning, including scientific and legal reasoning. AI systems are going to become more competent quite rapidly.
There is no right answer or model for the use of generative AI tools. Each discipline and course is different and will need to decide how and what the best use of AI is.
Jason Lodge et al., suggests six options for redesigning assessment with two options, embrace and rethink being viable for the medium to long term.
Students will need to understand how to use AI for future employment, it has been suggested that AI may not replace a role but a person with AI skills will. Consider how AI is being used in the workplace and bring those skills into the course for students to learn.
AI will adapt and improve the more we use it. The language that it produces currently lacks human emotion or rationality. It can appear to reflect human thinking and therefore it is important to have an open discussion about the affordances and limitations of AI tools such as ChatGPT. Remind students not to rely on any information given by the tool.
What you should do now
- Consider how AI is being used in the workplace within you discipline or industry and how you will incorporate and teach this in your course/programme.
- Clearly communicate to students the decision and expectation of how AI should be used during your course. Use the templates found on the academic honesty declaration page to create your own instructions to students on the use of ChatGPT and generative AI.
- Read the University’s guidelines for permitted use of software in assessment activities.
- Consider the purpose of assessment, the ‘why’. Effective assessment design in the age of GenAI still focuses on principles of good assessment design.
- Consider programmatic assessment, an arrangement of different assessment methods deliberately designed across the entire curriculum.
- Decide what matters most in your discipline and what learning and skills students should be graduating with. Do the learning outcomes align with these skills, and therefore which assessment should be secure and which could be teaching collaboration and human skills.
- Consider assessments that value and mark the learning journey rather than the end goal. Encourage feedback literacy in students. Boud and Carless (2018) Feedback literacy is based on social constructivist theory and focuses on students learning and sense making.
- Danny Liu and Adam Bridgeman (UoS) make assessment suggestions that will have longevity even as AI advances. This article suggests to consider the humanness of teaching and learning. A full guide is available for download.
Examples on how teachers are incorporating generative AI into coursework and assessments
Dr Thomas Loho
CHEMMAT 121: Materials Science
Dr Thomas Loho, a professional teaching fellow in the Chemical and Materials Engineering department, discussed the innovative use of generative AI, specifically Chat GPT, in his teaching approach. He introduced the concept of leveraging AI to design creative assessments, particularly in the context of online evaluations. Instead of perceiving AI as a threat, Thomas proposed that it could be harnessed to craft engaging assignments and questions for students.
He shared a specific example from his 2023 summer school course, where he employed Chat GPT to create an exam question related to a copper-nickel alloy. This question appeared intelligently crafted at first glance, but students were expected to identify errors within it, such as inaccuracies in material properties. Students appreciated the challenge and viewed Chat GPT-generated questions as a tool to promote critical thinking rather than a direct source of information.
Thomas emphasised that students should use AI-generated content as a starting point for further research and fact-checking, similar to consulting a colleague or searching the internet. He highlighted the potential for generative AI to enhance student learning by encouraging independent verification of information.
Due to the positive feedback from students, Thomas has incorporated Chat GPT into his other courses as well. Thomas’s approach showcases the beneficial use of generative AI in education to inspire critical thinking and promote effective learning. Thomas welcomes inquiries and discussions about his innovative teaching methods.
Professor Alex Sims
Postgraduate Diploma in Bioscience Enterprise Program
SCIENT 704 is a course within the Postgraduate Diploma in Bioscience Enterprise program, primarily taken by students with backgrounds in science. These students pursue a diverse curriculum, encompassing subjects such as accounting, finance, marketing, law, and commercialisation, in addition to courses in Biological Sciences, Bioinformatics, Medical Science, Medicinal Chemistry, Food Science, Pharmacology, or Psychology.
In SCIENT 704, students delve into foundational legal concepts, intellectual property (IP), and IP strategy. This particular assignment spanned the initial five weeks of the course, covering topics like copyright law, contract law, statutory interpretation, and agency law. Moreover, it equipped students with practical skills, including using track changes and making comments on documents, offering advice, and providing information. The deliberate intent behind this assessment was to simulate real-world scenarios, as graduates from the program often find themselves engaged in contract management and IP commercialisation within organisations.
Professor Alex Sims designed an authentic assessment wherein students had to review a draft contract containing errors, using track changes to submit a revised version in a Word document. This task required students to possess the knowledge to spot and rectify the errors and also explain why there were errors. Importantly, this assessment holds practical relevance, mirroring the tasks they will encounter in their future workplaces. In the video presentation, Alex further elaborates on the rationale behind this approach, emphasising the use of a specific rubric.
View example of SCIENT 704 First Semester, 2023: Contract Analysis Assignment.
Please reach out to Alex (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about incorporating generative AI in coursework and assessments.
Dr Ruth Dimes & Prof Charl de Villiers
ACCTG 780: Sustainability Accounting and Integrated Reporting
In response to the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, Ruth Dimes and Charl de Villiers redesigned the assessments to allow students to engage with generative AI and develop their critical evaluation skills in sustainability accounting and integrated reporting.
In this course students practise submitting prompts to Chat GPT then revising their prompts, to gradually achieve a satisfactory outcome in the form of a CEO report. The student generated reports are then combined with real reports and other AI generated ones, which are then critiqued and subject to peer review.
Each assessment has relevance to the finance and corporate industry and incorporating AI into the assessment prepares students for real world tasks that they will be expected to complete. It engages students critical evaluation and analysis skills. The assessments have a mixture of low and high stakes grading enabling students to receive feedback and build upon their learning as they progress through the course.
Associate Professor Ethan Cochrane
ANTHRO 306: Pacific Archaeology
Ethan Cochrane has designed ANTHRO 306 using Bloom’s knowledge taxonomy. The first third of the course builds a basic foundation of the facts of Pacific archaeology. The second third is about comparisons with these data, and the final third focuses on evaluating knowledge claims.
The final assessment is an essay on best practice for evaluating competing knowledge claims using archaeological debates and literature discussed in class. For this essay students must also read and annotate assigned texts prior to class discussion. Their reading and engagement with the texts is automatically marked through the Perusall app within Canvas. Ethan’s “real world” goals for this essay, and other assessments, are plainly stated in the assessment briefs. For example, considering the final assessment, “You may not write many long-form essays outside of university, but in the professional world you will often have to aggregate different kinds of information – verbal, written, audio-visual – into a cohesive picture that supports a particular position. Ultimately, this is what you are learning to do here.”
Ethan last taught this course and used this assessment in 2020, before the proliferation of Gen-AI writing, and Perusall software for group-reading and automatic marking of student annotations. This year he has made a more specific requirement for the final essay to lessen dependence on Gen-AI: students must reference in-class discussions. He does not provide lecture recording of these discussions, requiring students to engage in face-to-face conversation, in real-time, and with the physicality and emotional appeals this can involve. He encourages students to consider that this too will benefit them in the world of work (and life in general).
Finally, Ethan uses ChatGPT in class to produce a final essay for this assessment to teach about the overly general responses made by Gen-AI text relative to the assigned readings and class discussions.
Dr Mohsen Mohammadzadeh
Urban Planning Programme
As a student, engineer, and educator, Mohsen Mohammadzadeh noticed how tech changes transformed education, work, and daily life. He’s curious about both the good and bad effects of new technologies, like Gen-AI. This curiosity is important for his Urban Planning courses, where he teaches Policy-making, Smart Cities, and Planning Theory. Dr. Mohsen uses his academic and professional network to stay updated and improve his teaching and pedagogies using new technology advancements. He adjusted how he teaches to match and dedicates lectures to technology’s philosophy and ethics. Assessments have also been redesigned to:
- Using formative assessments instead of summative assessments.
- Diversifying assessments, including quizzes, class tasks, group work presentations and video recordings, and individual practice-based projects.
- Focusing on crucial skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creativity. Carefully write Learning Outcomes to align with the skills being assessed.
- Designing the assignments and assessments as a process, considering the steps of the project, rather than solely focusing on the final work submission.
Dr Elham Bahmanteymouri
Urban Land Economics, Urban Economic Development and Urban Economics
Danping demonstrates an unwavering dedication to sustained excellence in teaching. This dedication is exemplified through her promotion of relational pedagogies that foster a dynamic learning environment where she actively engages with and learns from students. Her commitment to this co-learning and co-production of knowledge aligns with the concept of Ako and illustrates her responsiveness to learner diversity. Furthermore, Danping’s innovative use of technology, and her mentorship of colleagues showcase her remarkable and sustained contributions to teaching.
Case studies in teaching
CASE STUDY – Dr Dulani Jayasuriya developed a chat-bot to aid instructors and students in navigating a large undergraduate course.
Short examples of how our staff have adapted to the inevitability of Gen-AI in teaching and learning.
CASE STUDY – Dr Benjamin Liu provides a guide to working with AI writing tool GPT-4, to train it as a useful teaching assistant for answering students’ questions.
Example instructions to students
A template for adding an academic integrity statement to your assignments, including instructions on the use of generative AI tools in coursework.
UoA Generative AI Usage Standard
This standard serves to ensure safe, ethical, and legal use of Gen-AI tools and services. The Standard is applicable to all members of the University.
AI in Education
This University of Sydney resources prompts students to consider the implications of using AI and where it can be useful. Although the policy is specific to Sydney, it may prove useful for developing your own instructions to students within a UoA context.
Video: Practical AI for instructors & students
A five-part video guide exploring the breakthrough and growth of AI (the disruption, ethics, and bias).
Page updated 14/02/2024 (updated link to Gen-AI Usage Standard)