Campus AI policy: in progress but not complete
UCO faculty and staff have released several resources for both students and professors, including links to even more guides and data. All of this information is available on the internet for everyone to use.
Two resources are the ChatGPT and AI technology page at https://www.uco.edu/technology/trc/chatgpt-ai-technology and the UCO library resource directory at https://library.uco.edu/ai/ QR CODE HERE. These both provide access to several resources ranging from explanations of the usage of AI to the ethics involved and resources for using them in day-to-day applications.
Late last year, ChatGPT and other Large Language Models (LLM) shook the world by offering compellingly human prose at the press of a button; this lit a fire under academics that has yet to go out.
By synthesizing convincing arguments with such ease, LLMs had many claiming they would usher in the end of modern education as we know it; this was not true.
Teachers, faculty and staff are all essential parts of the education system, and no computer will be able to emulate their understanding and care in the nurturing of students and their learning.
Engineering professor Cole Prather pointed out a possible strength of ChatGPT and generative AI models in creating descriptive and experiential learning that helps form a more intuitive understanding of concepts, particularly in a way that textbooks seem to struggle with.
By being less rigid, the AI can relate information more directly than textbooks.
Plagiarism and academic integrity are both parts of the discussion surrounding AI in academia, with most institutions operating with AI in a gray zone of acceptability.
As part of a UCO-hosted panel on ChatGPT back in March, manager of academic technology & training Amanda Keesee said “a knee-jerk reaction tends to be to ban this type of technology, … but what we want to do is to find appropriate ways to use this to make it effective in a teaching and learning environment.” A recording of that panel is publicly available through the website https://www.uco.edu/technology/trc/chatgpt-ai-technology, a QR code is provided.
Director of the 21st Century Pedagogy Institute Eric Kyle was on the panel as well. In a blog post, he elaborated his own opinion on the matter. The following paragraph is from the post which is linked in a QR code below. “I would rather spend my time teaching students the skills to be better consumers of information and teach them how to use this new technology as yet another tool in their writing and researching arsenal than spend my time policing every document to see if it was written by an AI program.”
According to the Fall 2023 UCO student information sheet and syllabus attachment, students must receive authorization before using any form of AI. The exact wording of which, “This policy specifically addresses the unauthorized use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools or technologies to gain an unfair advantage in academic activities,” leaves much unsaid. The lack of a comma between “tools or technology,” allows it to apply to anything from Grammarly to unmodified AI-generated essays.
However, LLMs can be a very effective tool for educators to increase retention, decrease the workload put on teachers and improve the rate of pupils’ learning. Prather said, “We can use it as a tool to enhance our learning because it will actually make us more critical of the information.”
Prather said “It’s better to describe than to explain and so if you can use AI to describe things rather than asking for the answer directly, they might give you a more experiential or relatable example. Descriptions are something that we can relate to based on observation whereas an explanation is more like ‘this is just the way it is,’ and as we know in science, we don’t know anything for certain.”