Many instructors are interested in assessments that discourage the use of AI tools in light of concerns about the possible connections between artificial intelligence tools and academic misconduct. While AI tools may be relevant to many fields, they may not be relevant to all university courses. Note that this approach still requires instructors to explicitly discuss academic integrity in their courses, and to clearly explain what use of AI is permitted and what is not. To help create a course that does not include the use of AI tools and that limits students’ ability or need to use them, keep in mind that AI tools will not be able to provide high quality output on content that is very recent and contextualized in your course. Consider the following points:
- Ensure that your courses include learning outcomes that require learners to develop and demonstrate higher order thinking skills as well as information recall to challenge and engage learners.
- Design authentic activities that are specific to the context of your course and/or that include experiential learning because AI tools are less useful this type of activity.
- Explicitly teach the skills and knowledge you expect your students to demonstrate by the end of the course so that students’ learning is scaffolded.
- Include more formative, low-stakes assessments in your course so that assessment is ongoing throughout the course.
- Connect students to Carleton’s many research and academic skills resources, including Carleton’s FUSION modules so that they develop their own skills and self-confidence.
The following learning activities and assessments are meant to align with learning outcomes that encourage students to engage in reflection and higher order thinking skills (analysis, evaluation, and synthesis), while discouraging the use of artificial intelligence to simply reproduce others’ content. Many are consistent with existing ideas about preventing plagiarism through course design. As is often the case, factors such as class size, accreditation requirements, and disciplinary norms will impact the choice of assessments.
As you design your assessments, consider their purpose; which ones are formative (monitoring student learning and providing feedback) and which ones are summative (evaluating student learning at the end of a course or unit, using a pre-defined standard or benchmark).
- Develop assessments (exams or writing assignments) that take place in person, and on paper; consider proctoring for online courses
- Design assignments with multiple stages or ‘scaffolding’, asking learners to incorporate your feedback into each next stage
- Ask learners to incorporate personal experience in their analysis, and to make connections between this experience and course content
- Use local organizations or class examples as case studies, and ask learners to apply class concepts to the case studies (be sure to demonstrate this type of application/analysis)
- Build specificity into assessments; encourage learners to reference and make connections between specific course materials
- Develop activities and assessments that require students to participate in the stages of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, providing a concrete experience, an opportunity to reflect and develop conclusions, and a chance to apply this new knowledge to other situations
- Require learners to engage in activities, such as in-person or virtual site visits, model-building, presentation-giving
- Incorporate assignments such as interviews, reviews of talks and other events on campus or in the local Ottawa community
- Include oral exams as an alternative to formal written exams or papers (some students may need accommodations)
- Situate assignments within educational technology tools such as cuPorfolio, which is designed to encourage reflection, showcase learners’ ‘artifacts’, and make connections between artifacts, experiences and accomplishments
- Use small-group activities (for example, within Brightspace discussion forums) that emphasize and assess interactions among learners
- Use ‘non-linear’ forms of writing, interactions and idea construction by involving learners in constructing in-person or online whiteboards
- Ask students to accept a statement/confirmation that all the work is their own unless the use of generative AI tools has been specifically authorized (UCL, 2023)
As a reminder, regardless of what activities and assessments you choose, it’s important to be explicit in your syllabus, assignment sheets, and class discussions about which uses of AI you are permitting and which you are not.
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