Using Generative AI in Coursework

CDS Generative AI Assistance (GAIA) Policy


Students should learn how to use AI text generators and other AI-based assistive resources (collectively, AI tools) to enhance rather than damage their developing abilities as writers, coders, communicators, and thinkers. Instructors should ensure fair grading for both those who do and do not use AI tools. The GAIA policy stresses transparency, fairness, and honoring relevant stakeholders such as students eager to learn and build careers, families who send students to the university, professors who are charged with teaching vital skills, the university that has a responsibility to attest to student competency with diplomas, future employers who invest in student because of their abilities and character, and colleagues who lack privileged access to valuable resources. To that end, the GAIA policy adopts a few commonsense limitations on an otherwise embracing approach to AI tools.

Students shall

  1. Give credit to AI tools whenever used, even if only to generate ideas rather than usable text or illustrations.
  2. When using AI tools on assignments, add an appendix showing (a) the entire exchange, highlighting the most relevant sections; (b) a description of precisely which AI tools were used (e.g. ChatGPT private subscription version or DALL-E free version), (c) an explanation of how the AI tools were used (e.g. to generate ideas, turns of phrase, elements of text, long stretches of text, lines of argument, pieces of evidence, maps of conceptual territory, illustrations of key concepts, etc.); (d) an account of why AI tools were used (e.g. to save time, to surmount writer’s block, to stimulate thinking, to handle mounting stress, to clarify prose, to translate text, to experiment for fun, etc.).
  3. Not use AI tools during in-class examinations, or assignments, unless explicitly permitted and instructed.
  4. Employ AI detection tools and originality checks prior to submission, ensuring that their submitted work is not mistakenly flagged.
  5. Use AI tools wisely and intelligently, aiming to deepen understanding of subject matter and to support learning.

Instructors shall

  1. Seek to understand how AI tools work, including their strengths and weaknesses, to optimize their value for student learning.
  2. Treat work by students who declare no use of AI tools as the baseline for grading.
  3. Use a lower baseline for students who declare use of AI tools, depending on how extensive the usage, while rewarding creativity, critical nuance, and the correction of inaccuracies or superficial interpretations in response to suggestions made by AI tools.
  4. Employ AI detection tools to evaluate the degree to which AI tools have likely been employed.
  5. Impose a significant penalty for low-energy or unreflective reuse of material generated by AI tools and assigning zero points for merely reproducing the output from AI tools.

This policy recognizes that

  1. This policy depends on goodwill, a sense of fairness, and honorable character.
  2. Some instructors may prefer stronger restrictions on the use of AI tools and they are free to impose them so long as care is taken to maintain transparency and fairness in grading.
  3. This policy takes account of the existence of subscription versions of AI tools, which are not affordable for some students; the policy may need to be revised as the differences between subscription and free versions become better understood.
  4. This policy may be revised in light of other policies and novel technological developments in AI tools.

This GAIA policy derives from a case study conducted by the 47 juniors and seniors enrolled in the inaugural offering of CDS DS-380, “Data, Ethics, and Society" in Spring 2023.

Focusing on the use of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in coursework, students were asked to devise a policy for its use in DS-380 that takes full account of the aims of university education and the perspectives of relevant stakeholders, and which can be shared for consideration in other classes. The case study required students to consider a range of topics from skill building to cheating. Each class session revisited the case study until a consensus was achieved.

This policy was further discussed and endorsed by the CDS Academic Policy Committee, which recommended it for adoption by CDS, noting that instructors may adjust it as needed in support of the learning outcomes in their courses.

This policy pertains to the use of tools that may rely on current or future technologies that do not (or make it impossible to) adhere to standards that CDS expects its own students and faculty to uphold with respect to appropriation of others work and proper attribution. The policy should not be construed as endorsing this practice.

Faculty members in CDS voted unanimously to adopt this policy on March 21, 2023. Read about the policy.