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AI and the Classroom


AI can help students learn in new and innovative ways and as a result has come to play a critical role in higher education today. Because of AI, we are working to offer new forms of pedagogy– heutagogy, for example, is a student-centered strategy that emphasizes self-determined learning (, 2022). Our role as teachers shifts from codifying and providing knowledge to supporting the lifelong goals of learners to direct their own learning (Schroeder, 2022).

In the past, technologies like calculators, personal computers, and smartphones posed threats to students learning math skills. Today AI undermines the use of writing assignments to assess student learning. Worrying about how students might use AI to cheat is not the most productive question to focus on for us as educators– instead we should ask ourselves how we can best teach our students. (Prochaska, 2023)

Below is a discussion of the challenges of AI and ways for instructors to adapt to its existence. This will also provide recommendations for instructors who want to discourage the use of ChatGPT and other AI in their courses. AI writing tools, including ChatGPT are not endorsed by the university and UCR does not provide official technology support for the product.

Relevant Definitions:

Artificial Intelligence (AI): computerized forms of tasks that are normally assumed to require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, translation, or composition

Large Language Model (LLM): are a type of AI that predict what words are an appropriate response to a prompt or question

ChatGPT: A type of LLM called “Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer” that was designed by OpenAI and is currently one of the best models at producing accurate answers that seem to be written by a human.


Teaching in the Era of AI:

The strategies can be applicable to all academic majors and course modalities.

For instructors who want to adopt AI in their classroom, the technology can support the writing process, such as by writing a first draft of an essay that students can use as a launching point for a more in-depth analysis of a topic. The latest AI, such as ChatGPT, can write essays and even code, but AI is fairly error-prone and should not be relied upon to create a final product.

Below are strategies for addressing AI use that can be applicable to all academic majors and course modalities.

Method 1: Inhibit the use of AI in your course

This method is for instructors who want to deter the use of AI for their classes. This method solely focuses on the detection of the use of AI tools (Prochaska, 2023).

  • Employ plagiarism checkers:

    Integrate tools that are able to identify AI-writing. This way students are caught when using AI generated content as their own. Communicate to your students that AI tools may not be used in your classes for any activity.

    These features are in very early development and are still under review by various user communities.  For this reason, the UC System is still currently evaluating new technological capabilities related to plagiarism checking. At the present time, these features are in pre-release beta, and are pending further validation by the proper user groups. 

    For more information visit: Turnitin: UCR has opted out of Turnitin’s Preview of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Plagiarism Detection software Document.

  • Have students cite AI tools:
    • Consider adding a statement within the ‘academic dishonesty’ section in your course syllabus that explains that if a student uses text generated from any AI tool and passes it off as their own writing, without acknowledging or citing these AI tools, they are in violation of the university’s academic honor code.
    • Provide your students with concrete examples of what constitutes written plagiarism related to your course content may help them make more informed choices about how and whether to use particular AI tools to support their projects/writing. Consider incorporating ChatGPT as an example of a tool that violates academic integrity when used inappropriately.
    • Specify policies about AI writing on the syllabus. If you do not allow the use of AI writing, say so directly on the syllabus and then guide them on how to properly reference and cite. Be explicit in the syllabus about your expectations. If you allow its use, consider connecting with resources and staff at UCR Library to learn more about how to cite AI tools. Also, refer to and link UCR Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures in your classes and course syllabus. but want it acknowledged (cited, referenced, etc.).

    Key points to discuss in your syllabus/ in class:

  • Flip your Classroom

    Consider using a flipped classroom model for your course. In this model, students learn the course content and materials on their own as homework via the resources provided. They are free to use AI tools to understand course content. And then during class time they solve problems and write assignments.

Method 2: Understand the possibilities of AI

AI is here to stay and improvements and innovations will allow it to do more over time. So instead of focusing solely on detection, instructors can work to circumvent the submission of AI text in the first place (Prochaska, 2023). In this method, instructors design classwork (with specific course strategies and assessments) that AI cannot perform.

Strategies and ideas to design your assignments to circumvent AI:

  • Use in-class writing prompts
    • Instructors can have students write in-class. This is similar to writing in supervised or proctored settings. Instructors can guide students to understand the value or benefits they gain from writing in your class. For example, give students credit when they turn in outlines, drafts, pre-writing assignments, and other kinds of notes so that they demonstrate their thinking about a topic prior to the creation of a formal written piece.
    • Scaffolding in pre-writing, drafting, or outlining can help faculty see the evolution of a student’s thoughts before they engage with the final written product (, 2023).
  • Writing alternatives- Assign visual organizers or other assignments instead of papers

    Instructors can provide assignments that have guidelines on the needed structure, ideas, number and types of evidence, and arguments. Instructors can then also ask them to perform presentations or even have collaborative writing sessions during class, when in alignment with the course outcomes (Prochaska, 2023).

  • Design writing prompts that require students to incorporate cited sources
    • So far, AI tools have minimal capacity to relate concepts to one another and see connections between them.
    • Instructors can strengthen this kind of assignment by specifying a need for students to engage with multiple sources, asking them to cite those sources and explain how they are connected around shared themes, arguments, and ideas in the course.
    • Another approach is that instructors can create essay and exam assignments that require students to devote a significant amount of time and space to describing and analyzing a specific example, object, or case.
    • AI is incapable of close reading and of description based on sensory perception. Any assignment that includes a clear and specific requirement to discuss concrete examples that cite experiences will require students to do much of the work themselves.
  • Create topics that avoid AI’s wheelhouse or assign highly specific prompts
    • AI is less likely to address prompts with granular specificity (Prochaska, 2023). Instructors can relate the prompts or the assignments to a discussion that occurred in class or some other content that students encountered via guest speakers, peer presentations, field trips, in-class debates, etc (Prochaska, 2023).
    • Instructors can have their students require to include unique and specific knowledge in their writing based on their discussion in class or their encountered experiences. AI will not be able to accurately generate the content you require (Prochaska, 2023). Instructors can also design essay and exam prompts that require close discussion or analysis of the materials used for class, including images, video, and other media.
  • Assign writing based on human experience

    Assign writing that relies on student perspective, experience, and cultural capital. This approach aligns with designing inclusive assessments (diversity, equity, and inclusion model) and could lead to the most meaningful analysis and synthesis of information (Prochaska, 2023). In this type of assignment, AI will not produce texts that resonate with personal perspective (Prochaska, 2023).

  • Integrate Project-Based Learning in your course design
    Break up major assignments into smaller graded chunks. Have your students work to improve on each sub-set before submitting the next sub-set, and then also improve as a final project as one submission at the end. By scaffolding assignments into smaller chunks, students will not be able to easily cheat, and create much stronger final products, and will have an effective learning experience.

Method 3: Embrace AI

In this approach, instructors embrace the reality of AI-written content and work with their students to analyze and criticize the textual artifacts AI produces.

  • Use AI as your teaching assistant

    Instructors can use AI to explain why commonly-wrong answers are incorrect. Then, use the Canvas or other educational technology feedback options on quiz/homework questions to paste the AI output for each question. AI also can help create lesson plans based on the course content.

  • Provide multiple modes of representation

    AI tools like ChatGPT can recognize and produce various forms of text. Students can use this tool to learn the course content topics. It supports Universal Design for Learning as it can provide another form of representation of your course materials. It is also accessible with assistive technologies and supports users with learning disabilities..

  • Teach AI input strategies as a discrete subject related to your field
  • Create sample test questions

    AI can generate college-level multiple choice test questions on any subject matter or course topic, and can also provide the right answer. Instructors can have students use such questions as modern-day flash cards and test practice as an in-class learning activity or as a homework activity.

    The ideas below mostly pertain to ‘Writing’ courses. But can also be used for other academic courses that involve a writing component. Here is also a link to Academy of Distinguished Teaching (ADT) Webinar on ChatGPT for Writing for details on ideas below pertaining to ‘Writing’ courses.

  • Use AI to generate flawed text

    Ask AI to produce text with a specific flaw and then have your students analyze for flaws. This helps avoid the social pressure to be nice when critiquing student work, since students are critiquing AI work instead (Long, 2023).

  • Analyze or Critique a good AI text

    In a group, in pairs, or alone, have students criticize or analyze good AI work by asking them on What’s missing? What could be added? What could be cut? What is incorrect? What is superficial? Where does it need citations? What would you argue in response? (Long, 2023)

  • Use AI as a Socratic Questioner

    Instructors can use this technique when they want their students to learn to explore and deepen their thinking and to answer follow-up questions. Instructors can set to have students extend the questioning a certain number of pages. Students need to answer questions together and students must remain on topic (Long, 2023).

  • Have students Revise an AI generated text or have AI Revise their text

    Have students experiment with re-arranging the contents of an AI written piece. Students can expand the paragraphs, combine the sentences, add support, and rewrite conclusions. Use the AI text as a starting point (Prochaska, 2023). Or, the student analyzes what the AI revised: What did the AI change? Why did the AI change it? What was the AI “thinking?” Did it make your paper better or worse? Why or Why not? What would you do that is different from what the AI did? (Long, 2023)

  • Turing Test the AI

    In this situation, students think about what they bring to a text that an AI can’t. Give students a text where they must determine whether it is AI-generated. They analyze the text and then argue whether it is AI generated or not (Long, 2023).

  • Fact check the AI

    This can work very well for writing related courses. Have students generate an AI text (with or without bibliography and citations) about your class topic. Then students must detect all factual or citation errors. Students can then also work to correct the inaccurate text. This is particularly useful when you want your students to think about sources (Long, 2023).

  • Predict the Predictive Text

    Instructors can use this approach to have students think about originality of idea. Have students guess what the AI will write in response to a prompt and then have them generate ideas the AI could never produce– such as personal stories or responses to a guest speaker in class (Long, 2023).

  • Have students do a Rhetorical Analysis

    Consider the following questions for this depending on your content: Deconstruct the very act of AI writing. Discuss how AI “learns” to write. What assumptions about good writing are revealed when AI writing is analyzed? What is AI incapable of doing in its writing? Are there writing situations where AI should be more or less trusted? What is the role of the human in generating and proofreading AI text? (Prochaska, 2023)

  • Peer Reviewing AI created content

    Consider doing a peer review and/or class discussion of AI writing. Analyze what AI writes. What content does AI include? What does it not include? How does AI organize its writing? What sentence structures does AI favor? Analyze the style in terms of voice, tone, diction, and syntax. Is there rhythm in AI language? Can the full rhetorical situation be deduced by analyzing an AI text? How could the text better address the rhetorical situation? (Prochaska, 2023)

  • Compare/Contrast AI versus human writing

    Without knowing the author, can students tell which text is written by a human and which by AI? Who writes better? Which writing “sounds” better? Compare line-by-line, thesis statements, voice, organization, evidence and support, arguments and logic, overall impact, and persuasiveness of the pieces (Prochaska, 2023).

  • Refine AI Writing
    Try to make AI refine its writing with a focus on the rhetorical situation. Have students compose several variations of the same prompt to fine tune the result that AI produces. Are there limits to how much we can refine the writing? Are there trade-offs of one element being sacrificed when another is included or enhanced? Have students try to dial in the rhetorical situation by adjusting for audience, purpose, voice, tone, etc. Ultimately, is it easier to have AI write the perfectly appropriate text for a specific situation or to write it on our own? (Prochaska, 2023)

AI and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)

AI helps everyone in the world with internet access learn (Kasneci, 2023). It supports DEI and helps with equity in education (Kasneci, 2023). It can help students with disabilities or for students who are English as second language learners to express themselves better in writing who otherwise have difficulty doing so. AI-based tools can recognize and produce various forms of text. Students can get suggestions for alternative wordings or better text compositions (Kasneci, 2023). That can help them improve their ability to express themselves. Overall, these tools can help in creating effective learning experiences for our students.

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