The recent proliferation of freely available artificial intelligence (AI) platforms has challenged and will challenge virtually all industries, organizations, societies, and governments to react and adapt. Higher education also has been and will continue to be deeply impacted by AI.
The guidance below is to help you as Emerson faculty navigate this new terrain and is organized into three options for managing the use of AI in our classrooms. In all cases, the following remains true: faculty set the parameters for which tools are available to students; and it is essential for faculty to be clear in all communication about the choice.
Option 1: Work With
The "work with" option involves incorporating AI intentionally as a tool in specific assignments. When choosing this option, it is essential to clearly articulate the reasons behind using AI and how it aligns with the course learning goals. For instance, students could leverage AI language models to analyze and optimize written content for different target audiences; AI can also serve as a study tool, enabling students to engage in debates or collaborate with AI to create an interactive quiz. Faculty should encourage students to explore AI resources, both within and outside the classroom. Additionally, faculty should provide students with a list of appropriate and reputable AI tools and platforms relevant to the assignment. Ethical implications and limitations of the technology might encourage useful conversations. It is possible to leverage AI as a tool for learning and innovation both in and beyond the classroom.
Option 2: Work Around
When designing assignments to mitigate AI usage (the “work around” option), faculty could prioritize tasks that encourage critical thinking, personal reflection, and creativity closely aligned to the syllabus, making them difficult for AI to replicate. Real-world scenarios, peer review, and in-class activities that foster active engagement and collaboration are effective tools to mitigate AI use. Project-based learning and open-ended questions promote deep understanding and originality, and focusing on higher-order thinking skills ensures meaningful learning experiences that are not replicated by AI.
Option 3: Work Against
The “work against” option includes a clear statement in your syllabus on Canvas prohibiting the use of AI in all components of course assessment, including research, homework assignments, papers, quizzes and tests. Faculty should also discuss in class their reasons for the AI prohibition, articulating as clearly as possible why AI is not appropriate for the material and/or what they believe students lose by reliance on this tool. “Working against” will also require close examination of submitted work. The College has not endorsed any AI-checking tools at this time, as their reliability is unproven. Detection will be challenging, and faculty choosing this option should familiarize themselves with the Academic Misconduct Process.
The Office of Academic Assessment (OAA), the Instructional Technology Group (ITG), and the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL) are all available to help.