May 1, 2023

This message is distributed to Senate Faculty and Unit 18 Faculty. (Click here to view description of distribution groups.)

The following is being sent on behalf of Linda Adler-Kassner, Associate Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning.

Please find guidance regarding AI-Writing Assistance Technologies from the Office of Teaching and Learning pasted below. The information is also attached as a PDF.

Guidance Regarding AI-Writing Assistance Technologies

UCSB Office of Teaching and Learning 

UCSB’s Office of Teaching and Learning recognizes significant opportunities and challenges associated with the widespread accessibility of AI-assistive technologies, including those that assist with forms of composing like writing, coding, drawing, and completing equations. This document is intended to provide guidance about the ethical use of these technologies by both instructors and students. 

1.     Communicate expectations for student use of AI-writing assistive technologies in courses and/or other documents such as theses, dissertations, research articles, etc.

  • The use of AI writing technologies falls within the purview of the Student Conduct Code and the Student Guide to Academic Integrity. It states that “Materials (written or otherwise) submitted to fulfill academic requirements must represent a student’s own efforts unless otherwise permitted by an instructor.” Therefore, student use of AI-assistive technology for writing is not allowed in courses, on theses, dissertations, research articles, etc. unless specifically allowed by the instructor or supervisor.
  • Whatever decision you make as an instructor:
    • Explain “why.” As AI tools become more integrated with commonly used programs (e.g. GoogleDocs), it becomes increasingly important for instructors to explain why and how AI tools should/should not be used. Considerations may include: the accuracy/credibility of AI generated work, potential bias of AI-generated results, developing students’ critical thoughts/voice/skills, etc.
    • Consider including a policy statement specifically about the use of AI tools (see examples in Sample Language for Syllabus Policies).
    • See #5 for ideas about how to use LLM/AI in courses.

2.     Use AI-Writing Assistance technologies for plagiarism detection, grading and feedback ethically.

  • UCSB does not support the use of plagiarism detection software (e.g. Turnitin, ChatGPT Zero) for several reasons: 
    • Anti-plagiarism software is highly fallible. LLMs are advancing at lightning speed with huge injections of capital. Procuring “anti” LLM software contributes to a virtual arms race, with detection software always one step behind what LLMs can produce. 
    • Submitting student work to anti-plagiarism software may violate students’ intellectual property rights.  When student work is uploaded into a AI-Writing/plagiarism detector database, the student may lose ownership of their work and the instructor/University unable to safeguard how it is shared and used in the electronic commons. 
    • Use of anti-plagiarism software can undermine the fundamental relationship of trust that must exist between learners and teachers. To move from “detection” of LLM use to “prevention,” instructors can  consider  how students can use LLMs as a tool to support their work  and/or craft assignments and activities that cannot be produced by LLMs (see Incorporating AI-Writing Assistance technologies into courses, below). While this approach may represent a shift in perspective or assignments, Office of Teaching and Learning instructional consultants offer extensive support for instructors who would like to pursue this approach. 
    • Instructors and TAs should not use AI-assistive technology for grading and feedback unless the technology is supported by UCSB (e.g. use of GradeScope is permitted, as UCSB has a contract for its use and the technology has been vetted for FERPA compliance), for the reasons outlined above.

3.     Report unauthorized student use of AI-assisted writing technologies.

  • The Office of Student Conduct adjudicates academic and behavioral violations of the Student Conduct Code. If you suspect unauthorized use of AI technologies, submit an incident report. Be sure to include any samples of earlier/baseline student writing to which the writing in question can be compared.

4.              Avoid issues with student use of AI-assistive technologies.

  • Scaffold writing assignments, so that students are writing smaller pieces that will be incorporated into larger assignments with opportunities to incorporate feedback.
  • Add brief reflective writing to assignments that ask students to analyze the choices that they made as they compiled the writing (give examples).
  • Talk with students about the purpose of writing in the course and work with students to use LLMs in productive ways
  • Assign topics that require personal reflection or creative thinking. For example, ask students to reflect on a personal experience related to the course material.

5.              Consider incorporating AI Writing Assistance technologies into your course 

  • Create assignments where students use LLMs as part of the writing/thinking activities. You can get inspiration by browsing 101 Creative Ideas to Use AI in Education and other resources under “Ideas for use” at the end of this document.
  • Stimulate discussions about writing processes, strategies, and ethics through discussions of AI writing technology. Work with your students to generate diverse examples, compare and contrast them with student work, and examine their strengths and weaknesses collaboratively.
  • Encourage student creativity and curiosity by leveraging AI writing technology to create prompts, topics, or questions for exploration. Challenge students to interrogate how AI writing technology can help them compose pieces across various genres, styles, and perspectives.
  • Invite students to utilize AI to generate text in specific genres in order to recognize and identify genre conventions and reflect upon the role of audience, purpose, and context in developing rhetorically effective prose.
  • Encourage students to compare AI-generated text with human-generated text to see how individual agency, voice, and ethos impact text.
  • Examine the potential for and risks of integrating AI writing tools into the research process, given that LLMs can "hallucinate" and generate false facts, statements, or sources. Urge students to cross-check AI-generated information and develop critical appraisal skills to maintain the credibility and precision of their work.
  • Examine and address potential biases and fairness concerns that may arise from AI writing technology, including the perpetuation of stereotypes or the exclusion of specific perspectives. Promote critical thinking and discussions to recognize and counteract biases in AI-generated content.
  • Think about your course objectives. What are the cognitive tasks students need to perform without AI assistance? When should students rely on AI assistance? Where can an AI aid facilitate a better outcome? Are new rubrics and assignment descriptions needed?

Resources for learning about and using AI writing technology are also growing rapidly. 

Ideas for use
AI Text Generators: Sources to Stimulate Discussion Among Teachers
“35 Ways People are Using AI Right Now” (New York Times)
Update Your Course Syllabus for chatGPT (Medium)
Using AI to Make Teaching Easier and More Impactful (Oneusefulthing)
Writing a syllabus with chatGPT
AI Resources
AI in Higher Education Resource Directory
"The Ultimate List of AI Tools for Creators"
101 Creative Ideas on using AI in Education
NY Times on AI's potential as an educational tool
(from Georgetown U.)
Professor Jeremy Douglass (English Department) shared the following during a recent OTL workshop:

More about detection techniques: