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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Teaching in the Age of Generative AI

There's been lots of talk about generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT and their impact on teaching and assessment. These tools use large language models based on huge data sets to respond to user prompts or questions based on statistical predictions of a correct answer.

While the technology has transformative potential, it is still far from perfect and can be confidently incorrect, repetitive, or vague in its answers.

If you are worried about how this will affect your teaching, remain calm, acknowledge this is affecting everyone, not just you, and take a few small steps to be proactive, not just reactive.

What are some examples of Generative AI?


  • Artificial Intelligence software
  • Limitations: Struggles with citations, makes a lot of stuff up, writing is only as good as the prompt used, can't include sources from real life (like lectures, in-class experiences, personal life)
  • Continuously learning – already improved a great deal

Wolfram Alpha

  • Basically ChatGPT but for math (AI software)
  • Has been around for years, but is becoming more mainstream with ChatGPT discussions
  • Limitations: Similarly, seems only as good as the prompt used. Currently costs $ to subscribe for step-by-step answers.


  • Online answer sharing forum; includes Q&A with experts
  • Limitations: Some answers are available to see for all so potentially catchable). Costs money. Will cooperate with a school for a specific instance of suspected cheating.

Course Hero/Quizlet

  • Online assignment/test/answer sharing. Easier to access in that you can do so by submitting documents from your classes (and promotes its use that way)
  • Limitations: Only has previous assignments/test banks from textbooks.

Contract Cheating (Fast Essay, Take Your Class, Boost My Grades, etc)

  • Hiring another person to complete an assignment, test, or even take a class
  • Limitations: Very expensive comparatively, may be harder to access or set up based on services needed, not likely possible with in-person classes
What do I do if I suspect AI is being used?

If you suspect an academic violation, gather evidence:

  • Check sites like Course Hero and Chegg
  • Talk with the student - ask them about comprehension, or to provide additional details on work/topic.
  • Be careful with AI Detectors like GPTZero or – they are only about 66% accurate in early tests and provide false positives, so they are not as reliable as we'd like it to be. They are also easy to defeat itself if the student simply puts the output back into the AI bot or even slightly refines it with their own voice.
  • Submit violation here: Academic Integrity Violation Form
How should I deal with this right now?

Short, in-class writing

Get a read for student's voice

Academic integrity check-ins

Either talk more about it in the beginning, or check in every so often

Refer back to discussions/events in class

Can also specify that they need to cite a text used in class

Testing Center – can be utilized for more high-impact assessments

Especially helpful for online assessments

Going back to in-person assessments

Break out the blue books and #2 pencils!

How can I become more proactive rather than reactive?

Get Yourself Up-to-Speed

  • Familiarize yourself with these tools
    • What does cheating look like?
    • What are their limitations?
    • How could they be used as a teaching tool in the classroom?
  • Connect with your academic community or discipline's conversations about these tools

Consider Your Assessments

  • Try in-Class exams and lower stakes quizzing, especially early on
  • Use oral exams (can be part of the overall assessment) or have students explain process/thinking on written exams
  • Connect assessments to class activities, field trips, lectures, and recent community events

Go Deeper

  • Add more reflective activities where students consider their own learning and progress, and stumbling blocks
  • Focus on higher level concepts, critical thinking, and real-world applications
  • Have students critique questions/answers produced by generative AI to demonstrate knowledge
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