AI Chatbot FAQ

New technologies change how we educate. The CFC is here to help answer your questions, partner with you to develop your pedagogy and build your repertoire of teaching and learning best practices for all modalities. 

A.I. chatbots gained the attention of media, students, and educators as ChatGPT was made available near the end of 2022. The new technology will change teaching and learning as we know it. 

We’ve got answers to questions on what this new technology means for faculty and students. This is a living document that will be updated as more information, direction, and research comes to light on Chatbots, A.I. and their implications for higher education.

What is ChatGPT? (Written by ChatGPT)

ChatGPT is a variant of the GPT (Generative Pre-training Transformer) language model, which is a type of artificial intelligence that is able to generate human-like text. It is trained on a large dataset of human conversations, and is able to generate responses to prompts given to it.

The GPT model was developed by OpenAI, and is one of the most advanced language models currently available. It has been used for a variety of tasks, including language translation, question answering, and text generation. ChatGPT is a specific variant of the GPT model that has been optimized for generating responses to prompts in the form of conversations.

ChatGPT is not a physical product or device, but rather a software program that can be accessed through an API (Application Programming Interface) or by using a software library. It is trained on a large dataset of human conversations, and is able to generate responses to prompts by predicting the next words or phrases that are most likely to follow based on the context of the conversation. ChatGPT is able to generate responses that are coherent and appropriate for the given context, and can even generate responses that are humorous or conversational in tone.

Sample Syllabi Statements

Sample statements from Georgetown University

  • If you have questions about what is permitted, please reach out to me.
  • It is important to remember that ChatGPT and other AI tools are not a replacement for your own critical thinking and original ideas. The ultimate goal of this course and any tool used to submit work is to enhance your own learning and understanding, not to undermine it.
  • As a college student, it is your responsibility to maintain the highest standards of academic integrity. This includes
    • a) ensuring that all work submitted for grades is your own original work, and
    • b) properly citing any sources that you use.
  • Having AI write your paper constitutes plagiarism. If the source of the work is unclear, I will require you to meet with me to explain the ideas and your process.

Generative AI Syllabus Statement Considerations grouped by permission level

Options Compiled by Texas Tech University:

Academic Integrity and Artificial Intelligence (Offered freely by Jill Hogan, Higher Ed Discussions of AI Writing Facebook Group)

Sample statement shared by Chrissann Sparks Ruehle (with permission for others to use) on Higher Ed Discussions of AI Writing Facebook Group on 1/6/2023:

“Since writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills are part of the learning outcomes of this course, all writing assignments should be prepared by the student. Developing strong competencies in this area will prepare you for a competitive workplace. Therefore, AI-generated submissions are not permitted and will be treated as plagiarism.”

Sample statement shared by Laura Dumin (Higher Ed Discussions of AI Writing Facebook Group):

“Welcome to the wide world of new programs that can “do your writing for you”. Why did I put that into quotes? Because some of the writing is problematic and a lot of it is downright bland. Having said that, I accept that this is yet another way to get around doing your own work, if that is the choice being made. But maybe it can be used for good, and that is where we are right now. In the “what if” and “how to” zone. We might have assignments that use or integrate AI writing this semester. There might be other places where it simply isn’t appropriate for the assignment. Perhaps AI can be a helpful tool, and that is part of what we can explore this semester. With that in mind, if you are found to have used AI writing programs in a place where they are not explicitly allowed on an assignment, you will receive a ‘0′ grade, be reported for academic dishonesty, and will not have the chance to re-do or replace that assignment. I’d prefer that we see this as a chance to learn and adapt rather than just another way to cheat, so we’ll approach it from that angle and see where we end up. I look forward to entering this newish universe with you.”

What are strategies to educate students about academic integrity?

Promoting academic integrity among university students is crucial to maintaining the credibility and value of the educational system. Here are several strategies that can be effective in educating students about the importance of academic integrity:

  1. Clear Communication: Begin by ensuring that the university’s academic integrity policy is clearly communicated to all students. It should be accessible and discussed during orientation sessions, reinforced in course syllabi, and periodically reiterated.
  2. Interactive Scenarios: Engage students in role-playing or scenario-based activities where they confront dilemmas related to academic integrity, encouraging them to think critically about their decisions.
  3. Promote Understanding over Memorization: Emphasize deep learning and understanding rather than rote memorization. When students genuinely understand and engage with their coursework, they are less likely to resort to dishonest practices.
  4. Use Real-life Examples: Share stories of real-life consequences faced by individuals in academia or the professional world due to academic dishonesty. This helps underscore the long-term implications of such behavior.
  5. Provide Resources: Offer resources such as writing centers, workshops on proper citation, and online guides on avoiding plagiarism. Making it easy for students to access resources can prevent unintentional breaches of academic integrity.
  6. Honor Code: Implement an honor code system where students pledge their commitment to uphold academic integrity. Research suggests that honor codes can reduce instances of cheating.
  7. Open Dialogue: Create a classroom environment where students feel comfortable discussing academic integrity, sharing their concerns, and asking questions. Peer discussions can also reinforce positive behaviors.
  8. Emphasize the Value of Authentic Work: Discuss the intrinsic value of producing authentic work, the personal growth it fosters, and how it better prepares students for real-world challenges.
  9. Peer Monitoring: Encourage an environment where students hold each other accountable. When the student community values integrity, it can discourage dishonest behaviors.
  10. Clear Consequences: Make sure there are clear, consistently enforced consequences for breaches of academic integrity. This not only deters dishonesty but also upholds the institution’s credibility.
  11. Self-check Opportunities: Allow students to use plagiarism detection tools to check their work before submitting. This helps them recognize and correct potential issues proactively.
  12. Reflective Assignments: Ask students to periodically write reflections on the importance of integrity, both in academia and in life. This can internalize the values associated with honest work.
  13. Guest Speakers: Invite speakers who can share insights on the importance of integrity in various professions, reinforcing the idea that these values extend beyond the university.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education newsletter:

“The approach that most intrigued me is one that has to do with engaging students in a conversation about why and how they write, sometimes using these AI tools…writing is a form of thinking. Writing requires you to process and synthesize a range of facts and ideas, and to come up with a coherent and hopefully insightful take on what you have learned. Students, though, may have been trained in high school to see writing as a form of regurgitation based on a set of formulas (compare and contrast!).

If you can explain to students the value of writing, and convince them that you are genuinely interested in their ideas, they are less likely to reach for the workaround”

By cultivating an environment where academic integrity is valued and understood, universities can better prepare students for future endeavors, ensuring they leave equipped not just with knowledge but also with a strong ethical foundation.

How do I create assignments for higher education that students cannot use chatbots to cheat on?

Wait. What is cheating? Won’t employers want employees that know how to effectively use tools that may include A.I.? There is an opportunity to engage human creativity and thought with this technology and teach data literacy. Of course, that means we need to adjust our approach to course design.

These are a few strategies you can use to create assignments that are less susceptible to “cheating” using chatbots or other automated tools:

    1. Use open-ended questions or prompts that require critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis. These types of questions are more difficult for chatbots to answer accurately, as they require a deeper understanding of the subject matter and the ability to form original insights and arguments.
    2. Use authentic assessment methods, such as projects, presentations, and essays, which require students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a more comprehensive and nuanced way. These types of assignments are more difficult to cheat on, as they involve a higher level of creativity and originality.
    3. Using iterative writing process. Build in more feedback and revision to writing assignments that are kept in your course. You may have fewer writing assignments to allow time for an increase in constructive feedback and revision.
    4. Create a multi-modal essay, or an essay that requires sound, images, and related links, a format discussed at more length in this Tonya Howe article and a Ryan Cordell article here.
    5. Use proctored exams or require students to complete exams in a secure location, such as a testing center. This can help prevent students from using chatbots or other automated tools to cheat on exams.
    6.  While requiring students to use software that does not have university privacy protection cannot be recommended, inviting the use of chatbots can lead to higher-order thinking. Assignments can have students analyze, evaluate or critique responses they are given by a chatbot (the response could be instructor generated).

By using these strategies, you can create assignments that are more difficult for students to cheat on.


While creating assignments that are more difficult to cheat on there is value in having an open discussion with students about the value of completing assignments as they were intended by the instructor. Faculty are guides in acquiring knowledge and course assignments are designed to prepare students for their field. Faculty can help promote a culture of academic integrity in your classroom. Clarify expectations and purpose with the assignments that have been chosen.

What is the value of completing assignments without using chatbots or other automated tools?

Completing assignments without the use of chatbots or other automated tools provides several valuable benefits to university students:

  1. Deep Understanding: Engaging directly with assignments allows students to grapple with the material, leading to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the content. This fosters genuine comprehension as opposed to superficial knowledge.

  2. Critical Thinking: Tackling assignments independently challenges students to apply their reasoning and problem-solving skills. This develops their capacity for critical thought, a key competency not only in academia but also in many professional and real-world contexts.

  3. Academic Integrity: Completing work without external automated assistance upholds the principles of academic integrity. This ethical foundation is crucial for maintaining the credibility and value of an educational institution and the student’s own reputation.

  4. Skill Development: Assignments often aim to develop specific skills, whether analytical, research-based, communicative, or others. Relying on automated tools can hinder the cultivation of these skills.

  5. Preparation for Exams: Assignments often complement examination material. By genuinely engaging with assignments, students better prepare themselves for exams, where the use of such tools is typically prohibited.

  6. Personal Satisfaction: There’s a distinct sense of accomplishment in solving a problem or completing an assignment on one’s own. This boosts confidence and self-reliance.

  7. Real-world Preparation: In professional settings, relying on automated tools isn’t always feasible or allowed. By completing assignments independently, students prepare for scenarios where they must rely on their own knowledge and skills.

  8. Error Recognition: Making mistakes and learning from them is an essential part of the educational process. If students always get the ‘right’ answer from automated tools, they might miss opportunities to recognize and learn from their errors.

  9. Individual Perspective: Especially for assignments that require personal reflection or opinion, independent work ensures that students’ unique voices and perspectives shine through, rather than a standardized response from a chatbot.

  10. Learning Process: The process of struggling, revisiting lectures or readings, and seeking clarification is an integral part of learning. This process often leads to better retention and understanding compared to getting immediate answers.

  11. Peer Collaboration: Working without automated tools often encourages students to collaborate with peers, leading to shared insights, diverse perspectives, and improved teamwork skills.

  12. Feedback Relevance: If students submit their genuine work, the feedback they receive from instructors will be directly relevant to their understanding and skills, allowing them to grow and improve.

While chatbots and automated tools can be useful for clarification or supplementary understanding, relying on them for assignments can deprive students of genuine learning experiences. The value of completing assignments without such tools lies in the holistic development of skills, knowledge, and character, preparing students for both academic and real-world challenges.

How can students use chatbots or other automated tools to enhance their learning without cheating?

Leveraging chatbots or automated tools ethically can greatly enhance a student’s learning experience. When used correctly, these tools can supplement traditional learning methods, provide instant feedback, and offer personalized assistance. Here are ways students can use these tools without cheating:

  1. Clarification and Review: If a student is unclear about a particular topic or concept, they can use chatbots to clarify doubts, much like asking a teacher for a better explanation.

  2. Practice Problems: Some bots provide practice questions and problems. Working through these can help reinforce understanding. The key is to use them for practice, not for actual assignments.

  3. Instant Feedback: Students can input their answers to questions and receive instant feedback on whether they’re correct or not, allowing them to quickly identify and address gaps in their understanding.

  4. Language Learning: Language learning chatbots can simulate conversations in a foreign language, helping students practice real-world interactions.

  5. Time Management & Reminders: Automated tools can be programmed to remind students of deadlines, suggest study breaks, or even manage study schedules.

  6. Research Assistance: Some tools help students find credible sources or data for research papers and projects, aiding in the research process without directly providing answers. Vetting these resources is key as some AI tools will fabricate studies.

  7. Enhanced Reading: Some chatbots can help explain complex texts or articles, making them more accessible and understandable.

  8. Simulation & Scenario-Based Learning: Automated tools can simulate real-world scenarios where students can apply their knowledge in a controlled environment.

  9. Discussion and Debates: Engaging in a discussion with a bot can help a student solidify their arguments or understanding of a topic.

Guidelines for Ethical Use:

  1. Be Transparent: Always disclose the use of any automated tools when submitting assignments or engaging in discussions. If you’re unsure whether it’s appropriate to use a particular tool, ask the instructor.

  2. Avoid Direct Answers: It’s more beneficial to understand the logic or methodology behind an answer than to get the answer itself. Focus on understanding the “why” and “how” rather than the “what.”

  3. Self-Regulate: Monitor your dependency on these tools. They should supplement your learning, not replace it.

  4. Cross-Reference: Don’t rely solely on the information from a single chatbot or tool. Always cross-reference with class materials, textbooks, or other credible sources.

  5. Reflect: After using an automated tool, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learned. This internalization process enhances retention and comprehension.

When used responsibly, chatbots and automated tools can be invaluable allies in a student’s learning journey, providing on-demand support and resources tailored to individual needs. The key lies in using them as a complement to, not a substitute for, genuine learning and understanding.

What types of discussion questions can faculty use that makes using AI to answer them more difficult?

Designing discussion questions that are challenging for AI tools requires faculty to tap into aspects of learning that go beyond fact recall, straightforward problem solving, or basic comprehension. Here are some types of questions and strategies that faculty can use to make it harder for AI to provide straightforward answers:

  1. Reflective Questions: Ask students about their personal experiences.

    • “How does this topic relate to your own life?”
    • “Share a personal experience where you observed this principle in action.”
  2. Opinion-Based Questions: There’s no definitive right answer.

    • “What is your opinion on this topic, and why?”
    • “How do you feel about the author’s viewpoint on this issue?”
  3. Analytical Questions: Requires deep analysis or synthesis.

    • “Compare and contrast these two theories.”
    • “How would you integrate these concepts to create a new solution?”
  4. Predictive Questions: Requires forward-thinking.

    • “Based on the trends discussed, what do you predict for the next decade?”
    • “How might this concept evolve in the future?”
  5. Application Questions: Context-based application.

    • “Given this real-world scenario, how would you apply the principle we studied?”
    • “How would you use this concept in your future career?”
  6. Metacognitive Questions: Think about thinking.

    • “How has your understanding of this topic changed over time?”
    • “What challenges did you face in grasping this concept and how did you overcome them?”
  7. Ethical Considerations:

    • “Is it ethical to pursue this line of research? Why or why not?”
    • “How would you navigate the moral dilemmas presented in the case study?”
  8. Creativity & Innovation:

    • “Design a solution for this real-world problem using the principles we studied.”
    • “Imagine you are in this situation, how would you create a new strategy to tackle it?”
  9. Group Dynamics & Collaboration:

    • “Discuss and come to a consensus with your peers on this contentious topic.”
    • “Collaborate with your classmates to design a project that addresses this challenge.”
  10. Open-Ended Questions:

  • “What questions arose for you after studying this topic?”
  • “What are the potential ramifications if X were to happen?”
  1. Contextual Interpretation:
  • “Given the cultural differences in this region, how would the principles we studied be perceived differently?”
  • “How might historical events influence the interpretation of this topic in various countries?”
  1. Complex Scenarios & Cases: Provide a multi-faceted case study and ask for a comprehensive approach or solution.
  • “After reviewing this case, outline the series of events and decisions that led to the outcome. How might you have intervened differently at each stage?”

Using these types of questions encourages students to think critically, reflect, and engage deeply with the material, making it more challenging for them to simply rely on AI-generated answers.

What are the privacy concerns that an individual may have about using ChatGPT?

ChatGPT, like other AI models, can raise several privacy concerns for users. Here are some of the primary issues:

  1. Data Collection: Users may be concerned about whether their interactions with the model are being recorded, stored, or used for future model training.

  2. Data Security: If the data is stored, how secure is it? There’s always a potential risk of breaches, leading to unauthorized access to user interactions.

  3. Personal Identifiers: While users are often advised not to share personal information, they might sometimes inadvertently do so. The handling, retention, or potential exposure of this data can be a significant concern.

  4. Third-party Sharing: Users may be concerned that their data, even if anonymized, could be shared with third parties, either for commercial purposes, research, or other reasons.

  5. Surveillance and Monitoring: In some contexts, users might worry that their interactions with such models are being monitored by governmental or non-governmental entities.

  6. Inference Capabilities: Advanced AI models can make inferences based on user input. Even if a user doesn’t explicitly state something, the model might infer and reflect sensitive information based on the data it has been trained on.

  7. Misuse of Data: There’s a potential concern about how the collected data might be used, including the possibility of it being utilized to develop AI capabilities that users aren’t comfortable with.

  8. Jurisdictional and Legal Concerns: Data might be stored in regions with different data protection laws, potentially offering users less protection than they assume.

  9. Persistent Identifiers: Even if personal details are not shared, certain patterns of interaction, specific questions, or the style of communication might act as persistent identifiers, indirectly making some users identifiable.

  10. Transparency: Users may not be fully aware of the underlying mechanisms, algorithms, or data practices associated with the model, leading to potential mistrust.

  11. Profiling Concerns: Users may worry that their data, even if anonymized, might be used to create profiles that could be used in marketing, political campaigning, or other forms of targeting.

How can faculty use generative AI to enhance their teaching?

Generative AI, which includes models like GPT-4, can generate content, simulate scenarios, and assist in various educational tasks. When utilized judiciously by faculty, these models can enhance teaching in several ways:

  1. Customized Content Creation: Faculty can use generative AI to produce tailored readings, exercises, and case studies suited to their curriculum’s specific requirements or to the unique needs of their students.

  2. Interactive Simulations: Generative AI can craft realistic scenarios or simulations for fields like business, medicine, or engineering. For instance, a business strategy course could use AI to simulate market conditions, enabling students to make decisions and see potential outcomes.

  3. Language Translation: For faculty teaching in diverse, multi-lingual settings, generative AI can assist in translating course materials into multiple languages, ensuring inclusivity.

  4. Feedback on Assignments: While it’s irreplaceable to have human feedback, generative AI can provide preliminary feedback on student assignments, highlighting areas that need improvement. This can be particularly useful for large classes where immediate individual feedback is challenging.

  5. Automated Question Generation: AI can create a variety of questions based on course material, aiding in the preparation of quizzes, tests, and practice exercises.

  6. Enhanced Discussions: In online forums, generative AI can be used as a tool to foster discussion by posing thought-provoking questions, sharing additional resources, or even playing the devil’s advocate to stimulate critical thinking.

  7. Tutoring and Extra Help: Generative AI can act as a supplementary tutor, answering questions and explaining topics that students find challenging. It offers the advantage of being available 24/7, ensuring students can get help whenever they need.

  8. Content Summarization: Faculty can use generative AI to produce concise summaries of lengthy articles, research papers, or chapters, making it easier for students to grasp the main points.

  9. Scenario-based Learning: For subjects like ethics, philosophy, or even decision-making in business, generative AI can create complex, morally ambiguous scenarios for students to ponder and discuss.

  10. Research Assistance: For higher education or advanced courses, generative AI can assist faculty in gathering data, generating hypotheses, or even writing preliminary drafts based on research guidelines.

  11. Diversifying Teaching Methods: Generative AI can suggest alternative teaching methods or resources that an educator might not have considered, based on the analysis of student feedback and performance.

When incorporating generative AI into the teaching process, faculty should remain cognizant of its limitations and potential biases. It’s essential to ensure that AI tools are used to complement, not replace, the personal touch and expertise that human educators bring to the table.

The United States Office of Educational Technology published insights and recommendations on Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning that can be accessed here.

General ChatGPT Resources

A Must-See Before the Semester Begins (Faculty Focus)

AI Will Augment, Not Replace (Inside Higher Ed)

Artificial Intelligence Writing (University of Central Florida)

Practical Responses to ChatGPT (Montclair State University)

The ChatGPT bot is causing panic now but it’ll soon be as mundane a tool as Excel (The Guardian)

Using ChatGPT to assist in your writing? 5 steps to follow (Offered freely by Allison Oberle, Higher Ed Discussions of AI Writing Facebook Group)

What if ChatGPT isn’t as intelligent as it seems? (The New York Times)

Related Articles:

ChatGPT Scored a 1020 on the SAT (Twitter thread by @davidtsong)

Some journalists are using ChatGPT (Fast Company)

ChatGPT wrote cover letters (Business Insider)

Will ChatGPT Change the Way You Teach?(The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Lead discussions  among administrators, faculty, students, peers and others:

Generative AI (GPT) in Higher Ed (EDUCAUSE Quick Talk, Ray Schroeder, UPCEA Senior Fellow)

A new AI chatbot might do your homework for you. But it's still not an A+ student

See what NPR has to say about chatGPT and interview Ethan Mollick, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Stanford faculty weigh in on ChatGPT's shake-up in education

Faculty from the Stanford Accelerator for Learning share thoughts about how the new AI chatbot will change and contribute to learning and teaching.

ChatGPT and the rise of AI writers: how should higher education respond?

The proliferation of AI text generators such as ChatGPT has major implications for higher education. Nancy Gleason explores how educators should respond to these tools which can write essays in seconds

The content on this website was written by Ian Selig in conjunction with ChatGPT.