There’s a fair amount of controversy regarding the use of AI in the classroom; it reminds me of the early days of search. Teachers wanted to restrict the use of Google, Alta Vista, About, Lycos, and other popular search tools because they didn’t yet understand that search was never going away. One of the initial arguments against it was that “not everyone can afford a computer.” True then, true now. But, over time, Google became a verb, and today very few educators would have the temerity to argue that learning to properly and effectively search the web isn’t an important life skill.
AI will, without question, follow the same rocky road. Alongside my other roles, I serve as a Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. The university asked us to include an AI policy in our syllabi. Here’s mine:
In this course, students are encouraged to explore and utilize generative AI tools as part of their learning and project development. While AI can be a powerful tool for generating content, insights, and solutions, it is essential to use it responsibly and ethically. When students create work using AI, they must clearly cite that the work was generated or assisted by AI. This ensures transparency and maintains the integrity of the academic process. It is the student’s responsibility to understand the capabilities and limitations of the AI tools they use and to critically assess and refine the AI-generated outputs. Misrepresentation of AI-generated work as solely one’s own original effort without proper citation will be considered a breach of academic integrity and will be addressed accordingly.
When I introduced my AI policy during the first class of this semester, very few students expressed surprise. After all, why wouldn’t I be encouraging the use of emerging tech in an advanced media course? However, many of my teaching colleagues are significantly less enthusiastic about students using AI. They (I not so humbly suggest) are on the wrong side of history. AI is definitely not going away.
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.