Developing course policies around A.I.

Your syllabus is an essential document for conveying expectations to your students. You likely already have policies around late work, attendance, and other aspects of your course, so it is highly recommended that you think about how you might incorporate a policy related to A.I. use into your existing course structure. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here since courses differ vastly from one another and there is wide variety in how instructors are incorporating A.I. into their courses.

Before we present some specific examples, here are a few things for you to consider:

  • Having an A.I. policy is important. Some instructors allow any use of A.I. in completion of coursework while others prohibit it entirely. It is therefore very important for you to clearly convey when and how you allow use of A.I. in your courses, if at all. Otherwise, students may assume that the rules from their other courses also apply in yours, which can lead to inadvertent violations of academic integrity.
  • You may have different policies based on assignment type. You likely already have different sets of expectations across the assessments in your course. For example, textbook use is often encouraged on homework but prohibited on exams. You may end up with similarly distinct policies regarding A.I. use. For example, it might be okay to use it for the brainstorming phase of a project but not production of the final work. Maybe it could be useful for helping improve essays but prohibited on quizzes and exams. If this is the case, be very clear about when and how you allow A.I. use.
  • Explain the ‘why’ behind your policy. Generative A.I. is quickly becoming a commonplace feature in our world. It is already being used in workplaces to speed up tasks, brainstorm ideas, organize concepts, and so many other things. Be clear about the value you place on your assignments in terms of learning value and explain why you place limits on A.I. use in terms of how it would negatively impact learning.
  • Give guidance for citation of A.I. If you allow students to use A.I., you may want to ask them for formal citations of any text that was generated by A.I. as well as asking them to explicitly state how they used A.I. for help. Guidance is becoming available for citation of A.I. using formal styles like APA and MLA.
  • Ask for help. If you’re not sure how to get started or want to discuss your policy with someone, instructional designers at the CTT are available for consultation on this or any other teaching challenge you may be facing.

A.I. Syllabus Policy Examples

As noted above, there are a wide variety of different approaches you can take to developing a syllabus policy around A.I. Consider the different types of assignments you have in your course, how they would be impacted by student use of A.I., and what reasonable limits you can put in place. Example policies tend to fall into 3 main categories, as outlined below. This page includes some examples of each type, but you can find many more on this page of crowdsourced A.I. policies.

Unrestricted use.

These policies allow students to use A.I. in any way they’d like to complete coursework. These policies tend to include warning language about the likely pitfalls of turning in A.I. generated work without making any revisions.
The use of A.I. tools like Chat GPT is neither encouraged nor prohibited on assignments for this course. If you choose to use Chat GPT for assignments, please be sure to revise the content for clarity, conciseness, and audience awareness. Chat GPT is simply a tool and should not be used as a way to produce first and only drafts. Every assignment submission will be graded using the rubric provided in the syllabus. Be aware that Chat GPT may not develop high-quality work that earns a passing grade. It is your responsibility to review and revise all work before submitting to the instructor.
Within this class, you are welcome to use foundation models (ChatGPT, GPT, DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, GitHub Copilot, and anything after) in a totally unrestricted fashion, for any purpose, at no penalty. However, you should note that all large language models still have a tendency to make up incorrect facts and fake citations, code generation models have a tendency to produce inaccurate outputs, and image generation models can occasionally come up with highly offensive products. You will be responsible for any inaccurate, biased, offensive, or otherwise unethical content you submit regardless of whether it originally comes from you or an A.I. model. If you use an A.I. tool, its contribution must be acknowledged in the work you hand in, and you will be penalized for using A.I. without proper citation. Having said all these disclaimers, the use of foundation models is encouraged, as it may make it possible for you to submit assignments with higher quality, in less time. The university's policy on plagiarism still applies to any uncited or improperly cited use of work by other human beings, or submission of work by other human beings as your own.

Use allowed under specific circumstances.

These policies allow students to use A.I. in some situations but not others. For example, it may be allowed in particular phases of a project but not others. In other courses, it might be allowed on some types of assignments but not all of them. If you choose to apply this type of policy, be sure that you cover all types of assignments in your course so your students know exactly what they can use when.
The use of A.I. tools such as ChatGPT is allowed in this course under some circumstances. For homework and projects, you must clearly indicate any use of A.I. tools and provide appropriate citations or references for any A.I.-generated content or results produced. This should include full documentation of exactly how the tool was used. A.I. should not replace your individual effort or original work but rather, should be used as supplemental resources to support your own analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving. For quizzes and exams, use of any external resource (A.I., Google, your textbook, other students, etc.) is strictly prohibited. Any misuse or violation of the policy, including unauthorized or excessive use of A.I., will be considered a breach of academic integrity and subject to disciplinary actions as per the institution's policies and procedures on academic misconduct.
Intellectual honesty is vital to an academic community and for my fair evaluation of your work. All work submitted in this course must be your own, completed in accordance with the University’s academic regulations. Use of A.I. tools, including ChatGPT, is permitted in this course, but only to help brainstorm assignments or to revise existing work you have written. Using A.I. to complete assignments on your behalf is considered plagiarism. Also, be aware that the accuracy or quality of A.I. generated content may not meet the standards of this course, even if you only incorporate such content partially and after substantial paraphrasing, modification and/or editing.
The beta release of Dall-E-Mini in July 2022 and ChatGPT in November 2022 are among many tools using artificial intelligence. There is a good possibility that using tools like these are going to become an important skill for careers in the not distant future. For my class, a responsible use of A.I.-based tools in completing coursework or assessments must be done in accordance with the following:
  1. You must clearly identify the use of A.I.-based tools in your work. Any work that utilizes A.I.-based tools must be clearly marked as such, including the specific tool(s) used. For example, if you use ChatGPT-3, you must cite "ChatGPT-3. (YYYY, Month DD of query). "Text of your query." Generated using OpenA.I.."
  2. You must be transparent in how you used the A.I.-based tool, including what work is your original contribution. An A.I. detector such as GPTZero ( may be used to detect A.I.-driven work.
  3. You must ensure your use of A.I.-based tools does not violate any copyright or intellectual property laws.
  4. You must not use A.I.-based tools to cheat on assessments.
  5. You must not use A.I.-based tools to plagiarize without citation.
Some assignments in this course will explicitly state that you may use Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) such as ChatGPT when completing the work. Use of A.I. to produce or help develop content when an assignment does not explicitly allow for it is a form of plagiarism and will be treated as academic misconduct. If you are unsure about whether something may be plagiarism or another form of academic dishonesty, please reach out to me to discuss it as soon as possible.

Acceptable uses:

  • Using AI to help brainstorm ideas and organize thoughts.
  • Using AI image generators to create visuals for storyboards.
  • Using AI to help with grammar and spelling checks.
  • Using AI to explain confusing concepts in simple language.
  • Using AI to translate text from one language to another.
  • Using AI to help diagnose error messages.

Unacceptable uses:

  • Using AI to generate content for assignments.
  • Using AI image generators to create visuals for journalism or fact-based reporting, photo journalism or anything you’re creating that’s represented as real.
  • Using AI to plagiarize content from other sources.
  • Using AI to answer exam or quiz questions.
  • Using AI to automate the completion of assignments.

Other ethical considerations to keep in mind when using AI for college assignments:

  • Be transparent with your instructor. If you are using AI to help with your assignments, let your instructor know. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings or accusations of plagiarism.
  • Avoid plagiarism. Using AI-generated content without proper citation could result in academic dishonesty charges.
  • Use AI responsibly. Do not use AI to cheat or to automate the completion of assignments. Instead, use it to help you learn, understand and improve your academic skills.

Use prohibited entirely

The set of policies put in place an outright ban on any use of generative A.I.. For policies like these, we recommend being very clear with students why you have the policy that you do. Given how easy it is to use A.I. and how difficult it is for instructors to detect, these policies will be difficult to enforce making it particularly important to work on getting student buy in for the learning process.

Since writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills are part of the learning outcomes of this course, all writing assignments should be prepared by the student. Developing strong competencies in this area will prepare you for a competitive workplace. While A.I. is readily available and can be useful in some circumstances, it is essential that you learn basic skills to help you identify what good writing looks like before you’ll be able to accurately and ethically employ their use. To better help you meet the learning goals of this course, A.I.-generated submissions are not permitted at all in this course and any use of A.I. tools at any point in your writing process will be treated as plagiarism.
This course aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter by engaging in critical thinking, problem-solving, and creative exercises. To promote the development of essential skills and encourage active participation, the use of artificial intelligence (A.I.) tools or technologies such as paraphrasing software or ChatGPT is prohibited in this course. Use of any such tools will be considered a violation of the academic integrity policy and disciplinary action will be taken.
Use of an A.I. Generator such as ChatGPT, iA Writer, MidJourney, DALL-E, etc. is explicitly prohibited. The information derived from these tools is based on previously published materials. Therefore, using these tools without proper citation constitutes plagiarism. Additionally, be aware that the information derived from these tools is often inaccurate or incomplete. It’s imperative that all work submitted should be your own. Any assignment that is found to have been plagiarized or to have used unauthorized A.I. tools may receive a zero and / or be reported for academic misconduct.
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