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Artificial Intelligence

This guide is created for the UMGC community, with resources and information about Artificial Intelligence that can help students, faculty, and the greater community.

Suggestions for Students

When using AI tools in your learning, here are some suggestions for ethical and responsible ways to do so. This helps avoid academic misconduct violations and within your future work.

Before using an AI tool for your coursework: Have a conversation with your instructor with regards to AI use on your assignments and research. If you are unsure whether use of a specific tool or using AI tools in general is allowed in your course, reach out to your instructor. Having conversations early is the best way to avoid confusion.

Explore AI software and tools to understand what they can and cannot do, especially with topics you already know a lot about. Take the time to critically analyze their response. AI often lacks the critical thinking skills needed to complete your assignments.  

Here are some ways students have been using AI tools in their coursework: 

  • asking for comments and feedback on their assignments and papers 
  • preparing for debates by looking at counter-debate arguments
  • further explanation on topics they found confusing when they came up in class or in assignments. 

Interacting with AI Tools

Critically thinking about the responses the AI tool gives you is extremely important. Because it is not easy to see where this information is coming from, there is a risk the information is incorrect or is spreading misinformation about a topic. This is sometimes hard to spot because tools like ChatGPT may answer in a manner that seems authoritative and will have a certain feel of "truthiness" when reading the answer, as explained in the article OpenAI Chatbot so good it can fool humans, even when it's wrong.

Take, for instance, this answer from popular AI tool, Chat GPT: 

image of question to chatGPT does Jacksonville, FL add fluoride to its water, with incorrect answer

This is incorrect. The website for the city of Jacksonville's water supplier, JEA, says, "JEA does not and has never added fluoride to our drinking water." So currently, the city does not add fluoride to the water supply. This answer is easily found on the JEA website

When using AI tools, the answer may be factually correct but still bad advice. As an example, this article describes how, when asked to create an Ottawa travel guide, the AI suggested the food bank as a restaurant to visit. The article continues on to describe how factually correct, but questionable advice, has been a common feature seen when asking generative AI tools questions about travel. Did you know that you can actually correct ChatGPT or ask for clarification on its response? Please see the article That's not right: How to tell ChatGPT when it's wrong for examples of how to interact with ChatGPT when you think the response is incorrect.

AI: UMGC's Approach

Here is the statement regarding AI that appears in each UMGC class syllabus. It's a helpful guide for students in your use of AI for classwork. 

In keeping with our mission to prepare learners for careers and life after college, UMGC embraces the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) as part of that future. The efficient, effective, and ethical use of artificial intelligence tools to assist learning can prepare you for your career, especially tasks involving the top abilities that employers are seeking: problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and analysis. But, while using AI in some stages of your assignments will help to prepare you for your job, your use must also reflect the ethical requirements of your chosen profession and UMGC’s Academic Integrity policy.
Within the context of professional ethics and academic integrity, the University generally permits the use of Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) tools, like ChatGPT, for tasks such as generating ideas, brainstorming, finding background information, clarifying research questions, and improving one’s grasp of coding or math concepts. These and other uses of artificial intelligence (AI) tools are acceptable as long as they align with an assignment's requirements and its intended learning goals. In addition, any AI content a student submits as part of an assignment should include citation or other forms of attribution. To assist you, student resources on proper use and attribution of AI tools to support learning can be found [in the UMGC Library's AI guide].