The definition of a credible source can change depending on the discipline, but in general, for academic writing, a credible source is one that is unbiased and is backed up with evidence. When writing a research paper, always use and cite credible sources. Use this checklist to determine if an article is credible or not:
Below are guidelines and tips for becoming "AI literate"--that is, gaining skills that enable you to use AI effectively, ethically, safely, and in a way that supports your learning.
In general, if you do use AI for any of your UMGC classwork, please keep these important considerations in mind:
Be open and honest about your use of AI
If you use an AI tool like ChatGPT for classroom work, acknowledge it, so that your professor knows.
For example, if you use ChatGPT to draft a classroom discussion post for you, add a statement like this to the post, so you’re completely transparent about having used AI: “I used ChatGPT to write a first draft of this post. I critically evaluated the accuracy of ChatGPT’s draft, verifying facts and ideas, then I largely rewrote the AI draft in my own words and phrases.”
Verify AI content
AI tools like ChatGPT are imperfect. They are known to create content that simply isn’t true.
If you use AI to generate a piece of writing for you, you have to critically evaluate everything that it wrote. Use a search engine like Google to check any facts or ideas generated by AI.
The one thing you can never do is simply put a prompt into ChatGPT for a classroom assignment, then copy and paste the AI-created content and submit it to your professor as is. That is the opposite of the kind of engaged, active learning that helps students grow intellectually. When AI does the work for you, you miss out on the learning, which can have repercussions for your future classes and career.
If you use AI, think of it as an assistant who’s efficient but not a real expert on the subject matter. You have to carefully check what AI wrote before using it as a starting point for your work.
Don’t overshare with AI
ChatGPT and other AI tools are like any other website where you type in information. Be careful to keep your personal information safe. Use a secure computer network when interacting with AI so that hackers cannot intercept information. And never type in sensitive, personal information when you query AI. For example, if you use ChatGPT to research Social Security, don’t type in your own SSN!
The UMGC library used ChatGPT to help write this section on AI Literacy! We typed in the prompt, "Write 2-3 paragraphs on how college students can ethically and safely use ChatGPT for research and writing.” ChatGPT responded with a brief essay that pointed out the three salient guidelines above: be open and honest, verify, don’t overshare. The library checked the accuracy of what ChatGPT wrote, and then we rewrote it extensively in our own words and phrases. We also included additional facts and examples.
Where does your source come from?
Evaluating Websites (5:16)
The Center for News Literacy makes the case for being smart consumers of online news. "The most profound communications revolution since the invention of Gutenberg’s printing press seems to make it harder, not easier, to determine the truth. The digital revolution is characterized by a flood of information and misinformation that news consumers can access from anywhere at any time... This superabundance of information has made it imperative that citizens learn to judge the reliability of news reports and other sources of information that is passed along their social networks."
Check the facts
There are many fact-checking websites available online. Before using one of these websites, remember, a good fact checking service will use neutral wording and will provide unbiased, authoritative sources to support their claims. Look for the criteria below when searching for the facts.
Burst your filter bubble
Web browsers and social media sites employ algorithms that feed you information you've shown a preference for. This so called "filter bubble" connects us to news that tends to reinforce our set views, rather than challenging us with new ideas. When conducting research for class or simply making up your mind on an issue, try these strategies:
Open educational resources (OERs) are materials that are licensed for free use, with the purpose of teaching or learning. Use this checklist to find credible and useful OER's: