Writing Centers

AI Resources and FAQ

The Writer in the Loop

The Writer in the Loop is a Saint Mary’s Initiative to awaken, nurture, and empower writers to ethical lives of service and leadership in a world with AI.

AI Syllabus Statement Workshop Recording

Writer in the Loop Workshop Recording 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the reasons for permitting the use of AI tools in my course?

There are several reasons for permitting the use of AI tools in your course:

  1. Enhanced Learning Experience: AI tools can provide personalized learning experiences tailored to individual student needs. They can adapt content delivery based on student performance and learning pace, making learning more effective and engaging.
  2. Efficiency and Automation: AI can automate routine tasks such as simple grading, generating quizzes, or even providing feedback on assignments. This frees up instructors’ time to focus on more interactive and personalized aspects of teaching.
  3. Access to Advanced Analytics: AI can analyze large datasets to identify learning trends, areas of improvement, or students who may need additional support. This data-driven approach can help instructors make informed decisions about their teaching strategies.
  4. Promotion of Critical Skills: By using AI tools, students can develop essential digital literacy skills and gain exposure to technologies that are increasingly prevalent in various industries. This prepares them for future career opportunities.
  5. Accessibility and Inclusivity: AI tools can help accommodate diverse learning styles and accessibility needs. For example, AI-powered captioning and translation services can make course content more accessible to students with hearing impairments or those who speak different languages.
  6. Innovation and Future-readiness: Embracing AI tools demonstrates a forward-thinking approach to education. It prepares students to navigate and utilize emerging technologies effectively, which is crucial in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
  7. Global Collaboration: AI tools can facilitate global collaboration among students and educators. For instance, AI-powered language translation can enable students from different linguistic backgrounds to participate in discussions and projects together.
  8. Student Engagement and Motivation: Interactive AI tools, such as virtual tutors or simulations, can enhance student engagement and motivation by offering interactive and immersive learning experiences.

By integrating AI tools thoughtfully into your course, you can leverage these benefits to enrich the learning experience, support diverse student needs, and prepare students for success in the workplace.

Q: What are the potential benefits of using AI for academic writing?

Using AI for academic writing offers several potential benefits:

  1. Enhanced Writing Efficiency: AI tools can assist in drafting, editing, and proofreading.
  2. Plagiarism Detection: AI-powered tools can be used as a way for students to check the originality of their own work. 
  3. Research Assistance: AI tools can aid in literature review processes by  summarizing articles, and extracting key information for the purposes of coding interviews or other sources of data.
  4. Formatting and Citations: AI can automate the initial drafting of citations and references according to various academic styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.), 
  5. Feedback and Revision Support: AI can provide iterative feedback during the writing process.
  6. Accessibility: AI tools can make academic writing more accessible to individuals with disabilities by offering features like text-to-speech or language translation.
  7. Time Management: AI can assist in managing deadlines and milestones for writing projects, helping writers stay organized and on track.
Q: What are the potential pitfalls of using AI for academic writing?

Although AI can offer numerous benefits, there are also several potential pitfalls to consider:

  1. Over-reliance on AI Suggestions: Students and researchers may become overly dependent on AI suggestions for writing improvements, potentially leading to reduced critical thinking and writing skills development.
  2. Risk of Plagiarism: Despite AI tools being able to detect plagiarism, there is a risk that users may intentionally or unintentionally plagiarize content if they rely too heavily on AI-generated text or ideas without proper attribution.
  3. Quality and Accuracy Issues: AI tools may not always provide accurate or contextually appropriate suggestions for academic writing, leading to errors or misunderstandings in the final text.
  4. Lack of Creativity: AI-generated content may lack the creativity and originality expected in academic writing, potentially diminishing the uniqueness of the work and its contribution to the field.
  5. Privacy and Data Security: Some AI tools may require users to upload their writing, raising concerns about data privacy and security, especially when dealing with sensitive or proprietary research content.
  6. Accessibility and Equity: Access to advanced AI tools for academic writing may not be equitable across all students or institutions, potentially widening the gap between those who have access to such tools and those who do not.
  7. Dependency on Technology: Heavy reliance on AI tools for academic writing could lead to a dependency on technology, reducing students’ abilities to write effectively without AI assistance.
  8. Misinterpretation of Feedback: AI-generated feedback may not always be interpreted correctly by users, leading to misunderstandings or improper revisions in their writing.
  9. Limited Scope of Assistance: AI tools may excel in certain areas (e.g., grammar checking) but may not provide holistic feedback on complex issues such as argumentation, logic, or theoretical coherence.
  10. Ethical Considerations: The use of AI in academic writing raises ethical questions about authorship, intellectual property, and the authenticity of scholarly contributions.

It’s essential for educators and students to use AI tools as aids rather than substitutes for critical thinking, creativity, and rigorous academic engagement. It’s important to maintain a balance between leveraging AI benefits and preserving the integrity and authenticity of academic writing practices.

Q: If I permit the use of AI in my course, how can I be sure that all students have equal access to these tools?

Ensuring equal access to AI tools for all students in your course involves several considerations and strategies:

  1. Identify Available Tools: Research and identify AI tools that are accessible to all students, either through institutional licenses, free versions, or affordable options. Ensure that these tools are compatible with different devices and operating systems.
  2. Provide Training and Support: Offer training sessions or resources on how to use AI tools effectively. Include instructions on accessing and utilizing these tools, so all students can benefit regardless of their familiarity with technology.
  3. Consider Accessibility: Ensure that AI tools and the platforms they are accessed through are accessible to students with disabilities. Check for features such as screen reader compatibility, keyboard navigation, and adjustable font sizes.
  4. Address Connectivity Issues: Recognize that not all students may have consistent access to high-speed internet. Provide offline or downloadable options for AI tools where possible, or ensure assignments can be completed using lower bandwidth solutions..
Q: ChatGPT collects some of my information when I sign up. Should I be worried about that?

There are some significant concerns about privacy and data security with  any online service, including platforms like ChatGPT. Understand that most AI, including ChatGPT, collects your information and any information it is fed. Assume all information will become public unless told otherwise. Given the public nature of the information in large language models, always consider the sensitivity of the information you provide.

Q: What tools are available to detect the use of AI-generated writing in student work?

Detecting the use of AI-generated writing in student work can be challenging because of the inherent sophistication of the AI tools. However, several approaches can help educators evaluate for AI use. 

  1. Plagiarism Detection Software: Turnitin and Grammarly are commonly used to detect plagiarism, and they can sometimes flag content that appears too polished or atypical for a student’s usual writing style, potentially indicating AI-generated content.
  2. AI Detection Tools: Some specialized tools are emerging specifically designed to detect AI-generated text. However, these tools have a high false positive rate and provide the likelihood and not a certainty that AI was used. Non-native English speakers are more at risk for these false positives because their writing tends to be more patterned and predictable. Additionally, tools like Grammarly can create false positives if students take too many of the suggestions offered.  
  3. Manual Review and Evaluation: You can manually review student work, looking for inconsistencies in writing style, abrupt shifts in language proficiency, or sudden improvements in grammatical accuracy that might indicate the use of AI tools.
  4. Student Interviews or Discussions: Engaging students in discussions about their writing process and requiring them to explain their reasoning behind certain passages can provide insights into the authenticity of their work.
  5. Education as Prevention: Educators can educate students about the ethical use of AI tools and the consequences of academic dishonesty. Understanding the rules in your classroom will help facilitate learning a create clear expectations for students.
Q: How should AI be cited in APA?

In-Text Citation:

When referencing AI within the text of your paper, cite the author(s) or developer(s) and the year of publication for the AI tool.

(Author(s) or Developer(s), Year)

Example:

  • We used OpenAI’s GPT-3 model (OpenAI, 2020) to generate text responses.

Reference:

Author(s) or Developer(s). (Year). Title or description of the AI model or tool. URL or source.

Example:

  • OpenAI. (2020). GPT-3: Language models. https://arxiv.org/abs/2005456.14165
Q: In what ways can I modify writing assignments to discourage over-reliance on generative AI?

There are a number of simple modifications you can make to reduce the use of AI.

  • Clearly Define Expectations: Clearly communicate the purpose of the assignment and specify the skills you want students to develop, such as critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, and originality in their writing.
  • Set guidelines: Clearing when and how AI tools can be used. For instance, specify that AI can be used for initial brainstorming or generating ideas but not for drafting entire essays or reports.
  • Focus on Process: Break down assignments into smaller steps (e.g., outlines, drafts, revisions) and require students to submit their work at various stages. 
  • Create Authentic Tasks: Design assignments that require personal reflection, analysis of real-world scenarios, or application of theoretical concepts to practical situations. These types of tasks are less conducive to AI-generated responses and promote original thought.
  • Include Reflective Components: Ask students to reflect on their writing process, challenges they encountered, and how they addressed them. 
  • Use Specific Prompts: Craft prompts that require deep understanding and application of course material rather than simple factual recall. Questions that require interpretation, evaluation, or argumentation are less likely to be answered effectively by AI alone.
  • Encourage Diverse Formats: Assign projects that require presentations, multimedia elements, or creative writing. These formats require students to apply critical thinking and creative skills that are less easily replicated by AI tools.

In many ways, designing assignments that are less conducive to AI means creating BETTER assignments. You can assess deeper learning and more advanced cognitive tasks. 

Q: Can I use AI to provide assessment/feedback on student writing assignments?

While AI can assist in simple grammar feedback, its greatest value for feedback is through Learning Analytics. AI can analyze patterns in student writing, identifying common mistakes or areas where additional instruction may be needed. This data can inform teaching strategies and curriculum development.

Q: What should I do if I suspect prohibited uses of AI in a student’s assignment?

COMING SOON!

Q: How is A.I. handled at Saint Mary’s Writing Centers?

Coming soon!

Q: What do I need to Include on my Syllabus

Coming soon!

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