Syllabus statements

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Given the capabilities and implications of generative AI tools in the educational setting, faculty should communicate clear guidelines to their students about appropriate and inappropriate uses of generative AI in their classes. Including statements and policies about generative AI in course syllabi helps ensure transparency and clarifies expectations, mitigating potential misuse. As these technologies continue to shape the landscape of learning and research, it’s crucial for both educators and students to have a shared understanding of their roles and boundaries. This page provides examples to help faculty in write robust and clear generative AI policies for their classes.

Sample syllabus language

In August 2023, the Interim Provost and Associate Provost for Digital Learning provided guidance regarding syllabus language. We recommend starting with this language and adding more specific information for your class. For example, for each assignment, you can provide guidance on appropriate and inappropriate uses of generative AI, using a tool like Can I Use AI?

Option 1: Use prohibited. Sample syllabus language: Using AI tools (e.g., ChatGPT, Bard) is forbidden in this class. You may not use them to assist in any part of your homework or other assignments. Any use of generative AI tools will be treated as a violation of Middlebury’s Honor Code.

Option 2: Limited use. Sample syllabus language: You may use AI tools (e.g. ChatGPT, Bard) to help generate ideas and brainstorm, but only on assignments for which I have given permission to use AI tools, as specified on the syllabus. Outputs generated by these programs may be inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise problematic. I will hold you accountable for the accuracy of your work. Be aware that use of AI may also limit your own independent thinking and creativity. Do not submit any work generated by an AI tool as your own. If you include material generated by an AI tool, it should be cited like any other reference material (e.g., MLA or APA style citation). Any uncited or inappropriate use of AI tools will be treated as a violation of Middlebury’s Honor Code.

Option 3: Required use. Sample syllabus language: You are expected to use AI tools (e.g., ChatGPT and image generation tools) in this class. In fact, some assignments will require it, with appropriate citation (e.g., MLA or APA style citation). Learning to use AI is an emerging skill and we will be learning that skill together. If you have concerns about using these tools, please talk to me about your concerns so that we can find suitable alternatives.

Co-creating community agreements with students

In addition to sharing your generative AI policies or expectations with students via your syllabus, you may want to co-create community agreements with students about their use of generative AI in your class. Whether you do this as a structured activity or an unstructured conversation, co-creating agreements can help students feel accountable to their peers and learning community, not just to you and themselves, for using generative AI appropriately. We recommend dedicating enough time to this activity or conversation to give students ample opportunities to think about their own learning goals, the purpose of their class learning community, and their responsibilities relative to their goals and learning community.