Generative AI in teaching and learning

College students and their teacher use laptop during computer class

Generative AI tools have caused concern among many in education. After all, students could easily use these tools to compose text in response to a prompt. The worry is that by doing so, students can offload the work of writing essays, creating code, and more to generative AI, missing out on their learning.

Generative AI does present considerable challenges for those of us in higher education. However, generative AI could amount to less of a threat and more of an opportunity with thoughtful and effective pedagogy.

To navigate these challenges and opportunities, we must address some questions and ponder our own unique answers to them.

Please note that there is no certain answer to any of these questions. Instead, our answers will vary and diverge based on our subject areas, learning outcomes, teaching philosophies, and more.

Issues posed by generative AI for teaching and learning

As you ponder the possibilities of generative AI in your specific teaching context, there are many matters to reflect on and address, such as course policies, legal and ethical issues, the accuracy of the content and views expressed by generative AI, and the pedagogy of using generative AI.

To learn more, please download and review our Issues Posed by Generative AI for Teaching and Learning guide below.

Questions to ask yourself about generative AI in your classes

Course policy on student use

  1. To what extent will you allow students to use generative AI to learn and produce in your course? Please note that the policy of the University of Missouri System is that generative AI is strictly forbidden unless explicitly allowed by the instructor.
  2. How does this policy align with and support your learning outcomes?
  3. How can you rationalize and justify this policy to students to build support and buy-in?

Plagiarism detection

  1. To what extent do you plan to use AI-plagiarism detection software in your teaching?
  2. What are some of the downsides and risks associated with using AI-plagiarism detection software?
  3. How should we understand and define academic honesty and plagiarism in light of generative AI?

FERPA, privacy, and choice

  1. How will you ensure that students’ academic records and more are not shared with third parties lacking a legitimate academic interest, without students’ consent?
  2. What will you do to ensure equity for students who prefer not to use generative AI as part of their learning experience for whatever reason?

Accuracy and biases

  1. How will you encourage and guide students to fact-check and review the information and content produced by generative AI through hallucinations (erroneous content created by generative AI) and misinformation?
  2. How will you encourage and guide students to engage and grapple with the social biases and prejudices that generative AI may reflect and reinforce?

Reinvigoration of teaching and learning

  1. What role should you now serve as the instructor of record, given the potential power of generative AI to, at least sometimes, support and facilitate students in their learning?
  2. What value do human educators still bring to the student learning experience?
  3. How can our teaching approaches and styles best respond to the rise of generative AI and ensure students still remain active and engaged in their learning?

Cultivation of 21st century skills

  1. Why do 21st century skills (communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, etc.) still matter in the age of generative AI?
  2. What are some instructional strategies and assessments we could use to facilitate communication and collaboration, foster creativity, and challenge students to critical thinking, even with the rise of generative AI?

Prompt engineering

  1. What is the value of teaching “prompt engineering”?
  2. What are some strategies students can use to obtain the best output possible from generative AI?

Overall questions to consider

  1. What expectations, supports, and use cases involving generative AI, if any, would most help, guide, and empower your students in achieving the learning outcomes you have set for them?
  2. How will you update policies, instruction, and assignments in your teaching, if at all, to respond to generative AI in a way that best serves and equips students?
  3. How will you communicate and explain your approach to generative AI in a transparent and clear manner to build student understanding and buy-in?

Learn more

To dive into and grapple with these questions further, please download and review our Issues posed by generative AI for teaching and learning PDF guide.