Talking to Students about Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI)

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) has received much attention across higher education. Instructors and students alike are curious and concerned about its use. This resource outlines an approach instructors may consider in preparing to talk to their students about AI.

Generative AI refers to technology that can create new, original content, such as images and text, based on examples it has been trained on from existing data. Regardless of whether you permit students to use AI text generation tools, you should talk to your students about the limitations and possibilities of these tools as well as their ethical use.

When discussing generative AI with students, you should consider: 

1. What do your students know about AI and academic integrity? 

2. What are the ethical considerations of generative AI?

3. What is the relationship between writing, research, and AI in your discipline?

4. Why might students rely on generative AI?

Questions to Start the Conversation

Your conversation should offer clarity to students, center students and their experiences, and provide room for reflection. Below are some questions to help start the conversation. 

Ask your students:

  • What is AI and how does it work?
  • Have you used AI tools before? For what purposes?
  • Is it cheating to use AI tools to help complete your school work? Why or why not?
  • Why are students often required to write essays in university?
  • What role might AI tools play in your professional life?
  • Can you tell when text has been written by ChatGPT?
  • What questions do you have about generative AI? 

To use ChatGPT or not: A student decision tree

The following decision tree provides some high level guidance to students when considering using ChatGPT in their course work. It may help to inform your conversation with them as well. A downloadable PDF version is also available should you wish to share this with your class.

Figure 1: Chat GPT Decision Tree


Resource by Melanie D.