By Associate Professor Lynn Gribble, UNSW Business School
Published 10 February 2023
Just when the academic community had time to exhale after the ‘panic-gogy’ of the pandemic, the wide access to generative AI has given rise to another reason for a new sense of panic-gogy. Having taken some time to ‘play’ with this technology, and I would be considered an early adopter, has led me to some ideas that I thought might be worth sharing as we reach the final countdown to teaching commencing for 2023.
For many of us with course outlines and assessments already designed, below are some ideas that may support you to prepare and face the upcoming teaching period.
It is not exhaustive, nor is it assuming you haven’t already done these steps or considered them, but my mind likes a list and a process, and this may be helpful as a guide (on the side). Also, as my discipline areas are organisational behaviour and education, my thoughts are not musings but a set of actions underpinned by scholarly approaches to teaching and supporting our students.
- Play with ChatGPT – like any program, it is a garbage in/garbage out system so practice creating great prompts will show you what it is capable of. Then be honest with yourself about its (cap)ability to do a base line assignment. Note if you want AI to critique something or give you an opposing view, it can do this too. However, it only computes and will provide a better response to ‘describe’ over ‘list’, and ‘give the problems’ over ‘compare’.
- Start with the course outcomes (both the University ones and the ones that in your heart you want your students to leave your class with). For me, I want my students to thrive in the world of work and contribute to a world that is better because they are in it. I also know that prohibition (generally) does not work, hence I wanted to incorporate what AI might look like in the workplace too. This made my approach to generative AI easy. I decided to accept AI will do both routine and mundane tasks and make the background research for most organisations quite easy. I expect my students most likely will use it (I know we like to think all our students are deep and engaged learners but based on the theory of unintended consequences, perhaps we need to really consider what happens if they take a surface learning approach).
"You know your students and how they learn and respond. Identify where students might be tempted to use AI (and then assume they will)."
- What do I want to assess? As I teach the UN SDGs and Ethics, I wanted to have some transformation about their importance, and application to what it means in the workplace. While Authentic Assessment has been around for some time, and based on the premise, that AI will be in the workplace, I want to ensure that if they use AI, they acknowledge they did and apply some thinking and reasoning to what it produces. My response, therefore, was to ensure students include an acknowledgement of using AI and even Wikipedia rather than reverse engineering a reference or six.
- Who are my students? As many of my students speak English as a second language, they may have been taught to write a ‘canned essay’ or ‘report type’ response and this leads to only providing surface level knowledge. I know AI can do this for them, and I responded by changing how the assessments will be graded with an emphasis on links, integration and analysis to earn marks. Knowledge alone is unsatisfactory, and my rubrics are clear on this. However, Medicine students differ from Business students, who differ from Law or Design students. You know your students and how they learn and respond. Identify where students might be tempted to use AI (and then assume they will).
- If you cannot change the assignments, look to how you can adjust your grading (how you grade each part of the assignment, and what you are looking for your students to demonstrate?) as this might give you a means to adapt for the coming teaching session.
- Inform your students on your stance on AI* (can they use it, consequences of using it, how might it be used in their workplace etc.) and weave it through how you educate them. For me, this is about links to workplace practices and why they need to be able to critique what they read.
*UNSW staff can access current guidelines here.
- Start thinking about changing your assignments and assessments going forward (Term 2 and beyond, if not now) as this juggernaut is not going to slow down.
- Join some discussions on Generative AI, both at our University and beyond. Talk outside your faculty too, as broad conversations can help you to see other angles and applications.
Join the conversation about Gen AI in teaching with UNSW colleagues (Teams Group of the EF Community of Practice: Student Feedback & Digital Assessment – zID required).
(Podcast) S5 Episode 2: Dr Lynn Gribble on the opportunities for Generative AI in Education
(SharePoint) UNSW staff can visit our UNSW resources on Generative AI in teaching & assessment page