AI in the classroom

AI in the Classroom


Artificial intelligence (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.

Provost Office Guidelines

Use of Generative Artificial Intelligence in Instructional Settings at UCR

Join the UCR Faculty Conversation on Slack

Professor Rich Yueh, from School of Business, has created a Slack workspace for UCR faculty to share and engage on all things related to AI and higher education. We encourage faculty members to join this group and add your thoughts. To join UCR AI Forum Slack workspace

Get Familiar with Generative AI!

Log into your UCR Google Gemini (previously Bard) account and experiment with different prompts. UCR has contractual guarantees with Google and the AI tools they offer in Generative AI Studio but not with companies offering other AI tools (e.g., ChatGPT, Anthropic, etc). This allows more freedom to explore and utilize Google’s AI tools while minimizing security and privacy concerns.

More information can be found in this ITS knowledge article or contact  (Deputy CIO at ITS) for further details on Generative AI Studio within the Google Cloud Platform.

Relevant Definitions

For an overview of relevant definitions and links to further information on AI in higher education, please consult the webpage “Generative AI (GPT) in Higher Ed” moderated by Ray Schroeder, a Senior Fellow with UPCEA: 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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

  • Generative AI

    Generative AI, a type of artificial intelligence that can create new content, such as text, images, or music, by learning from existing data. Examples of tools that exist today are Bard and ChatGPT for text generation, and Stable Diffusion for image generation.

  • Large Language Model (LLM)

    Large Language Model (LLM):  are a type of Generative AI that predict what words are an appropriate response to a prompt or question and generate text. Bard and ChatGPT both rely on LLMs to generate the text responses to prompts or questions posed by users of these services.

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 or UCR Google Gemini (previously Bard), 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.

Approach 1: 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  and UCR Google Gemini (previously Bard) 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

    AI content is sure to be needed in the workplace of the future. Instructors can help students be prepared for this AI future by having them craft specific and sophisticated inputs to obtain best AI outputs.

  • 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, UCR Google Gemini (previously Bard) or similar 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)

Approach 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 approach, instructors design classwork (with specific course strategies and assessments) that AI cannot perform.

  • 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.

Approach 3: Limit the Use of AI

This approach is for instructors who want to limit the use of AI for their classes. 

  • 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. This approach continues to be a significant challenge in its ability to accurately detect AI with numerous false positives and bias. 


  • 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 Google Bard, Anthropic, ChatGPT as an example of tools that violate academic integrity when used inappropriately.

    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.

Sample Syllabus Language for Course Policies on the Use of AI

  • Embrace AI

    “Generative AI (such as UCR Google Gemini (previously Bard) or ChatGPT) can be a potentially useful and powerful information source and thought partner which can enhance productivity and learning. This emerging technology likely will have wide-ranging impacts on our personal and professional lives, which means there are potential benefits for students in starting to learn how to use it responsibly. You are encouraged to use generative AI in this course, where applicable and/or relevant to your enhance your learning outcomes. Experiment with these tools and study the results. However, keep in mind that, although generative AI is capable of producing human-like responses, these responses are not always accurate and/or may violate intellectual property rights. Also be aware of information security and privacy concerns created through the use of AI. UCR has contractual guarantees with Google and the AI tools they offer (including UCR Google Gemini (previously Bard)) but not with companies offering other AI tools (such as ChatGPT). Students are invited to explore and utilize UCR’s Google AI tools, since they will minimize security and privacy concerns. Lastly, although generative AI may be used like any other source of information that supports your work – such as a book, article, video, interview, etc. – it must be properly quoted and cited each time it is used. Failure to properly cite the use of AI in your work will be viewed as a potential academic integrity violation.”

  • Understand AI potential

    “Generative AI (such as UCR Google Gemini (previously Bard) or ChatGPT) can be a potentially useful and powerful information source and thought partner which can enhance productivity and learning. However, over-reliance or dependence on generative AI can undermine your education, limit opportunities for intellectual growth, and impact your performance in venues like job interviews, meetings, and presentations. Therefore, this course has been designed to emphasize authentic learning and utilizes assessment methods that reduce the potential usefulness of generative AI in your work. Furthermore all work submitted in this course must be your own. Although generative AI may be used like any other source of information that supports your work – such as a book, article, video, interview, etc. – it must be properly quoted and cited each time it is used. Failure to properly cite the use of AI in your work will be viewed as a potential academic integrity violation.”

  • Limit the use of AI

    “This course emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills, some of which can be mimicked by generative AI (such as UCR Google Gemini (previously Bard) or ChatGPT). The vitality of a campus community relies on academic honesty and the integrity of intellectual work. The use of generative AI in this course can undermine your learning, limit opportunities for intellectual growth, and impact your performance on in-class assessments and face-to-face interactions. Generative AI also can interfere with a fair and accurate assessment of your work. Therefore, all work submitted in this course must be your own. Students should not receive any assistance from any person or entity that writes or completes substantial portions of the work for them.  AI should never be a replacement for your own thinking or research. Although generative AI may be used like any other source of information that supports your work – such as a book, article, video, interview, etc. – it must be properly quoted and cited each time it is used. Failure to properly cite the use of AI in your work will be viewed as a potential academic integrity violation.” 

AI and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)

AI can help everyone in the world with internet access learn (Kasneci, 2023). It can support DEI and may help with equity in education (Kasneci, 2023). AI-based tools can recognize and produce various forms of text. Students can get suggestions for alternative wordings or better text compositions, which can help them improve their ability to express themselves (Kasneci, 2023). Overall, these tools can help in creating effective learning experiences for our students.

Reference List

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