AI-intensive Writing, Research & Inquiry Courses

“Our goal is to understand how instructors can incorporate AI into their teaching ethically, responsibly, and effectively.” –Project Team

 

ChatGPT and other natural language generators are likely to change the role and definition of writing in higher education. Instructors teaching introductory classes that orient students to college writing need to understand these tools and how students are interacting with them.

A survey of BU faculty taken in March 2023 found a wide range of views about the use of AI in the classroom. Thirty percent felt that AI tools should simply be banned. A small majority (54%) believed students should be allowed to use generative AI with some restrictions. Forty-three percent believed they should be incorporating it actively into their teaching. About half of respondents said AI was making them reconsider their writing assignments, course design, and/or classroom activities.

“If we do nothing to promote teaching that incorporates AI tools, we risk exacerbating inequity, provoking relationships of distrust with our students, and making writing instruction seem irrelevant. If we engage students in experimenting with these evolving technologies alongside us, we can find exciting new ways to teach and learn.” –Project Team

This project is designed to provide a structured, real-world context in which to explore and understand the ramifications of this new technology for student writing and learning. It seeks to learn how BU instructors, especially those who teach writing, can incorporate AI into their teaching ethically, responsibly, and effectively. In addition, it aims to provide some bases upon which to make university-wide decisions about AI tools within the context of academic integrity.

A young girl and a robot high-five.

 To accomplish this, this project will pilot AI-intensive first-year Writing, Research & Inquiry courses in CGS Rhetoric (CGS RH 103) and the CAS Writing Program (CAS WR 152) in order to: 

  1. understand how students use AI-assisted writing when invited to do so
  2. develop assignments, lessons, and activities that help students understand the benefits and risks of using AI as part of the writing and research process
  3. inform program guidelines and pedagogies around AI going forward

Undergraduate AI affiliates will be embedded in each pilot section and will collaborate with instructors to experiment and troubleshoot assignments and activities and support enrolled students in practicing ethical and meaningful AI-mediated writing and research. The first year will pilot six sections, and the second year will scale up to as many as eight sections, accounting for likely advances in technology.

Through this initiative, students in the pilot courses will not only develop invaluable skills in using AI tools in academic settings in ethical, responsible, and practical ways specifically in these courses, but will also be prompted to transfer this knowledge to other courses that involve writing and research. 

Piloting instructors will develop pedagogical expertise in teaching with AI tools that will be essential for their own professional development and enable them to create pedagogical resources and lead professional development workshops for colleagues. In turn, these workshops will benefit dozens of faculty, and hundreds – if not thousands – of undergraduate students. The Teaching Writing website, which provides resources and guidance for those who teach writing at BU, will also serve as a platform to disseminate these resources devoted to AI tools in writing courses.

Ultimately, this pilot will make AI a visible part of the writing and research process and provide undergraduate AI affiliate support to engage with students as collaborators and co-creators of knowledge.  

Project Team

Sarah Madsen Hardy Headshot

Sarah Madsen Hardy

CAS Writing Program Director

Sarah Madsen Hardy is director of the CAS Writing Program and a master lecturer in writing. She teaches first-year writing, public writing, and courses preparing graduate students from across the disciplines to teach writing.

Upcoming Events

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  • 01 March

    CTL Drop-in Office Hours for Hub Teaching and Learning

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    01
  • 06 March

    AI Info Session 7: Student Use of Generative AI

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    06
  • 08 March

    CTL Drop-in Office Hours for Hub Teaching and Learning

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    08
  • 13 March

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  • 15 March

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    15
  • 19 March

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    19
  • 19 March

    Lightning Talks: Creativity and Innovation in the Classroom

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  • 20 March

    Introduction to Blackboard Original

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  • 22 March

    AI Teaching Co-Lab: Incorporating AI in the Classroom

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    22
  • 22 March

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    22
  • 26 March

    Introduction to Blackboard Ultra

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  • 28 March

    Blackboard Original - Assignments, Assessment & Rubrics

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    28
  • 29 March

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  • 05 April

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    05
  • 09 April

    Faculty Forum 2024 InnovateEDU: Exploring the Future of Learning at BU

    12:30 PM - 5:30 PM
    09
  • 12 April

    CTL Drop-in Office Hours for Hub Teaching and Learning

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  • 16 April

    Introduction to Blackboard Ally

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  • 18 April

    Grade Center in Blackboard Original

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  • 19 April

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  • 23 April

    Teaching Through Experiential Learning Lightning Talk

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  • 24 April

    Gradebook in Blackboard Ultra

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  • 26 April

    AI Teaching Co-Lab: Generative AI: Accessibility + Equity

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    26
  • 26 April

    CTL Drop-in Office Hours for Hub Teaching and Learning

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  • 03 May

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