Generative Artificial Intelligence

Generative AI Implications for Teaching & Learning

Before making any determinations about how AI could support your teaching and learning it is advisable to spend some time familiarizing yourself with a few of the common tools and the general capabilities of generative artificial intelligence. We encourage you to consider how these emerging tools align with your overall teaching philosophy and the learning objectives of the courses you teach. GenAI will have tremendous impact across most disciplines so it’s in our student’s best interest to prepare them for a future where they can use these tools effectively and ethically.

Check out the Tools link for brief videos on many of the most popular generative AI tools. For stories and insights into faculty who are using AI in different ways, check out the Illinois Community tab. To connect with us about utilizing GenAI in your teaching, Request a Consultation or join the Generative AI in Education group on MS Teams.

Guiding Principles 

While AI holds great potential to revolutionize higher education, its implementation should be guided by ethical considerations and a focus on preserving the human aspects of teaching and learning. By effectively integrating AI into educational practices, we can create more engaging, personalized, and effective learning experiences for our students. Using artificial intelligence in a higher education environment brings numerous benefits, but it also raises important ethical considerations that should be addressed to ensure equity, transparency, and responsible use. 

Academic Integrity: The use of artificial intelligence for assignments and assessments can blur the lines between original work and automated assistance. Faculty should clearly define the boundaries for using AI in student work to maintain academic integrity and discourage plagiarism. Students should be educated about the ethical use of AI tools and reminded that text and ideas generated by AI must be cited to avoid plagiarism. Your syllabus policies should address the importance of academic integrity and the use of AI. Avoid punitive language which can break trust. Stress the positive.

It is also important to consider why students might “outsource” their work and address those issues. Often, time management skills are to blame, or the student does not know how to get started with a project. You can assign students to speak to a librarian about a topic, provide them with instructional resources, or structure assignments in such a way that they complete bite-sized, manageable components over time, and do not get in a rush at the end.

Students should be made aware of the benefits of academic integrity along with the potential consequences. It is often better for the student and instructor to focus on ways to improve learning and disincentive cheating overall. Explain to your students the intention of your policies and focus on the outcome you are seeking. Highlight how your course policies are intended to help them succeed and how using AI would defeat the intended goals of the course.

Difficulty in Policing AI Use:

While it may be tempting to try to set strict policies against all AI use in your course, this puts an undue burden on you and your teaching assistants. It is difficult to positively detect the use of AI generated text within a written assignment. The available tools are simply not effective in providing the evidence needed to build an academic integrity case against a student. Our pedagogies should be built with critical AI literacy in mind, so it’s important to think through what goals AI prohibition is going to meet and whether enforcement is how you want to spend your time and energy.

Do not depend on AI detection tools to address the use of generative AI in your assignments. They are unreliable and easy to circumvent with small amounts of editing. They also generate many false positives. For these reasons the campus has decided not to use TurnItIn as an AI detection tool.

Student Rights: Instructors do not have complete freedom in their course policies because they are beholden to the student code and the FAIR system. It is possible that you could unintentionally violate student rights, particularly if you do not follow the due processes afforded to students through the student code and the FAIR system. To process plagiarism as an academic integrity issue, you must submit proof in support of the allegation, and it might not always be possible to have definitive proof in writing of AI use. AI detection programs have already been shown to be biased and inaccurate and are unlikely to be persuasive in an academic integrity case. Additionally, students have a right to use these tools to enhance their own learning. By being unnecessarily punitive in your policies you risk negatively impacting your student’s academic growth and understanding of these tools.

Equal Access: If you are creating assignments that endorse or require the use of GenAI capabilities, be sure that all your students have easy access to these tools. Many of the options are free, but students with greater access and the ability to pay for more advanced and updated tools may have unintended advantages not available to all your students. Group projects could be used to help minimize this concern.

Privacy and Data Security: AI systems generally require students to register to gain access to the tool. Faculty should never require students to register for any platform using their official university email address. It is the faculty members’ responsibility to safeguard student data following all relevant regulations covered by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Students and faculty should also be aware that sharing sensitive or proprietary data with third-party AI tools may expose that data to potential security risks and unauthorized access.

Accuracy and Bias: It is important to educate your students about the potential for inaccuracy and the inherent bias within these tools. AI algorithms can inadvertently perpetuate biases present in the training data potentially leading to discriminatory results. These tools can also generate incorrect, and at times seemingly random, data that is presented as fact, including sources and citations that can appear factual. It is important we assist our students in becoming savvy AI users to avoid replicating these biases and spreading inaccurate information.

GenAI Literacy for Student Success

Just as traditional literacy empowers individuals to communicate effectively and critically evaluate information, GenAI literacy, or the ability to understand and navigate the world of generative artificial intelligence, will become increasingly important in today's technologically-driven landscape. 

It is our responsibility as faculty to empower students and help them learn to utilize AI tools responsibly and ethically. Being GenAI literate means that students can discern AI-generated content, make informed choices about its usefulness, and uphold the value of human creativity and authenticity. As AI and automation begins to reshape our social, intellectual, and artistic endeavors, being able to harness AI tools and use them to create and evaluate information will help students prepare for jobs that don’t even exist yet. It’s clear that GenAI literacy is vital for student success now and in the future. This short list of GenAI best practices may help your students better understand the expectations of using these tools within academia.

  • Always check the accuracy of any facts generated by AI
  • Verify all citations and quotes
  • Document your use of GenAI
  • Talk to your faculty member about your use of GenAI
  • Understand the policy and procedural requirements for GenAI use for each of your courses
  • Protect your privacy and be mindful of data security

You might also want to encourage certain uses of GenAI for your students. This list of activities may help students understand acceptable uses of these tools that do not risk violation of academic integrity.

  • Creative brainstorming
  • Generating outlines
  • Helping overcome writer's block
  • Gap analysis to quickly identify what you might be missing
  • summarizing videos, books, and articles
  • Rephrasing difficult readings in more understandable language
Course Syllabus Guidance 

The course syllabus is a contract between faculty and students informing them of what they will learn and how they will be evaluated. Inherent in that evaluation are expectations for student behavior during the course, and how students will continue to behave as they become professionals in their discipline. CITL offers general  guidance about creating a syllabus   which may be helpful to faculty getting started with syllabus development, but many have asked for more specific syllabus guidance that pertains specifically to GenAI.

The knee-jerk response is to add a blanket AI policy to your syllabus, but this is not advised. Instead look for interesting ways to introduce AI into the course. Start by using AI in class to demonstrate its benefits and limitations. Modify a few assignments so students can explore AI as a tool. Teach students how to generate artwork to enhance a presentation, create a story outline, or build their own study notes. Building these specific opportunities into the syllabus will help students gain confidence and discernment, while still allowing you to define the parameters.

 One document that may be of interest is a collection of crowdsourced their  course policies on using generative AI across multiple disciplines. Here are some additional examples of syllabus guidance from this campus:


Predictive writing technologies (like ChatGPT, Google Translate, and Grammarly) can be valuable writing tools in many contexts, when used effectively. However, much of the learning in this course occurs through direct, personal experience of the writing process, from first drafts to final revisions. If you use predictive technologies in this class, use them ethically by disclosing how you used them (see, for example, the MLA citation guidelines for generative AI). Regardless of what you use to compose, you are responsible for what you turn in. For example, including inaccurate citations and sources from predictive technology puts you at risk of academic integrity violations. Come to me with questions! 
[Personalization options: You can ask students to acknowledge all forms of support via an acknowledgments section; you can require footnotes for predictive technologies; you can include this in author’s notes; etc. Please talk to us if you are dedicated to prohibiting technologies like ChatGPT so we can discuss the difficulty of enforcement. We welcome all feedback as we continue to address this evolving technology in ethical and meaningful ways.]

Practical Approaches to Assignment Makeovers

Now is a great time to rethink some of your assignments and consider how you are assessing student learning in your courses. Beyond just reducing the use of GenAI, moving toward more engaged forms of learning can offer important benefits to students.

  • Focus on individual presentations: Require students to make short informational presentations in class, alone or in small groups, tying related concepts together or demonstrating a problem-solving strategy. Try rotating students through different roles as Leader, Fact Checker, Disruptor and Arbiter to provide alternative learning experiences, and use a question guide or rubric to help students formulate their ideas and anticipate questions from peers.
  • Focus on applied learning in small groups: Having students engage in classroom role play exercises, debates, and panel discussions will encourage them to prepare ahead of time and reflect upon their understanding. Participating in Think-Pair-Share exercises, Fishbowl discussions, and Brainstorming sessions help students process what they are learning while exploring different viewpoints.
  • Focus on making learning visible: Ask students to show what they know by working alone and in groups to create detailed concept maps, diagram complex processes, complete timelines, build fishbone maps, Lotus diagrams, or hexagonal graphs to pull apart concepts and examine them in parts. Increase collaboration by having students answer questions or share ideas by posting sticky notes in the room or online. Explore digital debate and annotation tools to continue learning outside of class and retain an artifact that can be used later for review.
  • Focus on multimodal projects: Ask students to create short podcasts or videos of themselves or their peers describing a concept, being interviewed, unboxing a product, or documenting the steps for completing a project or building a model. Have students work alone or in groups to create a game that teaches a concept, tells a story, or demonstrates what they have learned about a topic. Send them to makerspaces on campus to build a prototype, create an augmented reality poster, or explore other creative tools.
  • Teach proper citation methods: Help students learn how to cite the use of AI properly as they would any other source. Recommended style sources are MLA and APA. Discuss formatting issues and how to cite for different uses such as ideation, inspiration, or brainstorming.

CITL is here to help as you consider redesigning your assignments. Reach out for a consultation at any time.

Going Further with Multimodal Options

Moving away from traditional essay assignments altogether can inspire students to create more novel and interesting results that call upon different learning styles and talents. This approach supports the idea of universal design for learning (UDL) as it allows students some flexibility in how they demonstrate their learning. Let’s look at a fairly traditional assignment and then contrast that with multimodal options that teach the same learning objectives.

A traditional assignment might ask students to produce a five-page essay in which they Investigate the multifaceted aspects of autonomous vehicles, analyze and document their potential impact on society, the U.S. economy, and the environment. 

Podcast Series: As a group, develop a series of podcast episodes discussing various dimensions of autonomous vehicles. Each episode could feature role play interviews with student experts in the field, or real-life stories drawn from research on autonomous vehicles, or discussions on ethical and legal considerations drawn from the literature. Transcripts of the episodes would be provided for accessibility and grading.

Infographic Poster: Create an infographic poster summarizing key points about autonomous vehicles in a visually engaging format. Include sections on technological advancements, illustrations of different sensors used in autonomous vehicles, social implications with statistics on safety improvements, and economic considerations with charts comparing costs between traditional and autonomous transportation.

Social Media Campaign: Develop a social media campaign or PSA aimed at raising awareness and fostering discussion about autonomous vehicles. Include posts featuring infographics, short videos explaining key concepts, polls to gather opinions on various aspects of autonomous vehicles, and live Q&A sessions with role-playing experts.

Illustrated Storyboard or Comic Strip: Using tools like Adobe, Canva, Storyboard That, or Comic Life, create a visual narrative that explores different scenarios and ethical challenges faced by autonomous vehicles. Record a brief audio explanation for each storyboard panel, discussing the decision-making process and ethical considerations. Compile the audio and visual elements into a live presentation.

Augmented Reality App: Create an augmented reality (AR) app that overlays information about autonomous vehicles onto real-world environments. Users can point their smartphones at pictures of these vehicles to see statistics about their autonomy level, safety records, and environmental impact, or at images of other students role playing stories or facts about their experiences and opinions.

Board Game: Create a board game that examines how innovative technologies have transformed traditional industries. The game could include characters or challenge cards with scenarios describing workers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders, as well as a storyline that progresses through the implementation of new technologies in various sectors.

Interactive game using Twine or Scratch: Create decision-making scenarios for autonomous vehicles or for innovative technologies that allow players to make specific types of choices, including ethical ones. Accompany the game with a brief recorded audio commentary discussing the dilemmas, the data analyzed, or the current research and propose alternative solutions. Share the game link along with the audio commentary.

Interactive Website: Create a website that offers an interactive exploration of subtopics, including sections on different autonomous vehicles with embedded videos demonstrating how autonomous vehicles operate, interactive maps showing potential changes to urban infrastructure, and quizzes to test understanding of ethical and legal frameworks.

Interactive eText: Create an eText that guides readers through the impact of innovative technologies on traditional industries, including multimedia elements such as videos, interactive timelines, and quizzes to engage readers and reinforce key concepts. Test your knowledge quizzes can be part of the book. 

Role Play Panel Discussion or Live Debate: Working in teams, organize a panel discussion featuring role-playing experts discussing their viewpoints from their positions in academia, industry, and government. The role-playing panelists will discuss the challenges and opportunities arising from technological innovation in traditional industries, and respond to questions from the instructor and the student audience.

New Horizons for Higher Education

We are in the early stages of harnessing artificial intelligence to enhance education. As these technologies continue to evolve, we’ll see the emergence of more capabilities, greater accuracy and a growing reliance on these tools in support of teaching and learning.

Content Creation: GenAI can aid instructors in the development of high-quality course materials. With these tools you can generate learning objectives, course outlines, rubrics and study guides. GenAI is also useful for condensing complex topics into accessible language. Additionally, GenAI can assist in creating visually appealing presentations and multimedia elements that enhance the learning experience.

Personalized Learning Assistance:

AI-driven chatbots and virtual assistants can offer round-the-clock support, answering students' questions and providing assistance outside of traditional classroom hours. This ease of access promotes continuous learning and self-directed study. AI algorithms can also be used to generate study guides, flashcards and other study aids and options for self-assessment. 

Real-World Simulations: AI can simulate real-world scenarios enabling students to practice problem-solving and decision-making in a safe virtual environment, particularly in fields like healthcare, engineering, and business.

Individualized Student Support:

AI-powered tools can provide instant feedback for students, highlighting areas for improvement and offering explanations for correct answers. The iterative nature of GenAI can also provide personalized information to address specific study challenges over time. Consider encouraging your students to use GenAI tools to review early iterations of their work.

Enhancing Creativity: AI-generated prompts can inspire creative thinking and encourage students to explore new ideas. Collaborating with AI tools to generate ideas and early drafts can help students push through the boundaries of their imagination and innovation.

Inclusive Learning: AI tools can provide accessibility features, such as text-to-speech, text to image, and translation services, enabling students with diverse abilities and backgrounds to access educational content more effectively. AI-powered language learning platforms can provide real-time language correction, pronunciation feedback, and vocabulary suggestions, making language acquisition more interactive and effective for ESL learners. 

Meeting and Email Summaries: We are all challenged by the sheer amount of information we need to take in. Generative AI can help by creating summaries of long email chains. You can even record meetings and use AI to produce brief summaries and a list of actions items. We’ll soon see features like these built into our communications tools.

Career Development: GenAI can assist both students and educators in career development. It can help students create well-structured resumes, cover letters, and portfolios that showcase their skills and experiences. GenAI can provide insights on industry trends, job market demands, and required skills, aiding students in making informed career decisions. Educators can also use GenAI to stay updated on emerging trends and tailor their curricula to meet evolving industry demands.

Getting Started with Generative AI

If you still haven’t yet taken your first step in exploring these new technologies you might want to try a few of the examples below. Keep in mind the response you get from each of these prompts will vary depending on the tool you use. It’s important to remember that the results you get are just a starting point. It is up to you to continue to steer and prod the tool towards a response that meets your needs. 

Copy and paste the following prompts into ChatGPT or CoPilot. Rarely will the first response be what you're looking for, but you can use your natural language skills and your own human intellect to continue to refine the results. Try simple commands like "expand on this point" or "Can you clarify what you mean by bullet #1".

Planning your next trip
Gardening suggestions
Writing online discussion prompts


Additional Resources

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


Department of Education Reports