Leveraging AI Tools Responsibly: Strategies for University Students
Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, such as ChatGPT, Google Bard, or Microsoft Bing, can be valuable resources for university students, assisting with research, writing, and learning. However, it is crucial to utilize these tools ethically and responsibly. The following strategies will support students in making the most of AI tools while maintaining academic integrity and ethical conduct. Each of the 10 sections have an accompanying video linked at the top of its respective section.
Using AI-generated content in academic work can be helpful, but it is important to do so carefully and transparently. The following “Student Strategies for Using Artificial Intelligence” should only be used after verifying with the instructor that using AI-generated content on learning assignments is permissible. Please adhere to the following steps:
- Carefully read the syllabus and verify the permissible use of AI usage first.
- Some instructors may not allow AI-generated content in assignments, or they may have specific rules about how it is used.
- Disclose the use of AI.
- Inform instructors of AI tool use and explain how they were used.
- Cite sources.
- Just like any other source, AI-generated content should be cited. (Use this site to help cite ChatGPT.)
By employing the following strategies, students can ensure they are using generative tools to supplement their knowledge and skills rather than relying on them entirely. It is important to remember that AI tools are meant to assist and enhance learning, not replace critical thinking and originality in academic work.
Student Strategies for Using Artificial Intelligence
When embarking on an investigation of AI Tools, such as ChatGP, Grammarly, or Claude 2, students must understand the intended purpose behind using them. By clearly defining the goal, students can harness the potential of AI tools to enhance their learning process, increase productivity, and seek guidance on challenging academic tasks.
- Enhancing Learning: For example, a student studying quantum physics may use ChatGPT to seek further explanations on complex topics or ask for specific examples to solidify their understanding.
- Improving Productivity: A student working on a research paper can leverage Grammarly to assist in proofreading and grammar checks, ensuring a higher quality of writing and saving time in the editing process.
- Seeking Guidance: In cases where a student encounters a difficult programming problem, Claude 2 can provide suggestions, offer code snippets, or explain different approaches to help the student overcome the challenge.
Students should avoid using AI tools as shortcuts or substitutes for genuine effort and critical thinking. Instead, students should actively engage in learning, independently verify information, and develop analytical skills while balancing tools and personal responsibility.
Students can view AI tools, such as ChatGPT, Google Bard or Cluade 2, as collaborators to enhance academic endeavors. By leveraging AI tools as companions, students can benefit from their capabilities to refine ideas, gain new perspectives, and augment their own thoughts.
- Refining Ideas: For instance, a student working on a creative writing assignment can collaborate with Google Bard to brainstorm unique plotlines, explore different character arcs, or generate imaginative scenarios to inspire and enrich their writing.
- Gaining New Perspectives: In the context of a debate or research project, students can use ChatGPT to explore alternative viewpoints, gather additional supporting evidence, or consider contrasting arguments, helping them broaden their understanding and strengthen their own views.
- Augmenting Thoughts: Let's say a student is studying a complex mathematical concept. Claude 2 can serve as a tool to provide step-by-step explanations, offer problem-solving strategies, or even suggest relevant practice exercises, assisting the student in improving their mathematical proficiency.
Although collaborating with AI tools can be beneficial, it is crucial not to rely solely on AI-generated content without personal input, analysis, and evaluation. In contrast to relying exclusively on AI-generated suggestions, students should actively contribute their own thoughts, observations, and perspectives. It is crucial to balance using AI-generated assistance and exercising one’s own originality and creativity in the learning process.
Users who employ AI tools to generate initial ideas or insights should always verify the information through reputable sources and cross-referencing. AI tools can provide a starting point for research, offering initial insights or references that can save time and effort in information gathering.
- Researching a Historical Event: When exploring a historical event, students can use ChatGPT to generate a brief overview. However, they should verify the details by cross-referencing the information with course content, scholarly articles, books, or reputable historical sources.
- Exploring Scientific Findings: Students studying a scientific topic can use AI tools to generate hypotheses or explanations. They should then validate and cross-check those findings through scientific journals, peer-reviewed research papers, or consultations with their instructor or other experts in the field.
Although AI tools can be helpful, students should avoid treating AI-generated content as unquestionable truth. Instead, they should evaluate the accuracy, credibility, and objectivity of content. It is essential to cross-reference information obtained from AI tools with multiple sources to ensure accuracy and reliability.
Students can implement AI tools to prompt critical thinking by challenging assumptions, offering alternative viewpoints, and encouraging deeper analysis. AI tools can present different perspectives or suggest alternative approaches, fostering intellectual growth and expanding critical thinking skills.
- Analyzing a Controversial Topic: Students can engage with an AI tool like Bing Chat to explore different arguments and counterarguments when researching a controversial issue. They can then critically evaluate the reasoning, evidence, and logic behind each perspective before forming their own well-informed opinion.
- Evaluating Bias in News Articles: AI tools can help students identify potential bias in news articles by analyzing the language used, detecting emotional tones, or providing contrasting viewpoints. Remaining mindful of potential bias encourages students to think critically about the credibility and objectivity of the information presented.
It is important to question, evaluate, and form independent judgments based on personal analysis and comprehensive understanding. AI tools should serve as catalysts for critical thinking rather than replacing students' cognitive engagement.
AI tools can be used advantageously for tasks like proofreading, grammar checks, and language suggestions to improve the quality of written work. AI tools like Grammarly or Word Tune can enhance written assignments' accuracy, coherence, and readability, helping students polish their work.
- Proofreading and Editing: Students can use AI tools to identify spelling or grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, and style inconsistencies in their essays or research papers. Adopting this type of practice can improve the general clarity and professionalism of the written work.
- Language Enhancement: AI tools can suggest alternative word choices, sentence structures, or idiomatic expressions, enabling students to enhance the fluency and sophistication of their writing.
Although AI tools can help with repetitive tasks, they should not be used for complex tasks that require subject knowledge, creativity, or originality. Students should not simply rely on AI tools to generate complex scientific formulas, solve intricate mathematical problems, or provide expert-level insights. Rather, they should rely on their subject knowledge, skills, and understanding and prioritize their unique contributions.
Students can request specific problem statements for various subjects, aiding in practice and comprehension.
- For instance, a calculus student can ask ChatGPT to generate a series of differential equations that require various techniques for integration. A generation such as this allows students to practice their problem-solving skills, explore different approaches, and deepen their understanding of the subject.
Relying solely on ChatGPT for problem-solving may hinder the development of problem-solving skills that require personal analysis and critical thinking.
Students should actively analyze the problems, devise strategies, and work through the solutions independently to develop their problem-solving abilities.
AI tools such as Google Bard can assist in outlining key ideas from papers, generating quotes, and providing summaries for annotated bibliographies.
- For example, when writing a literature review, a student can ask a tool like Google Bard or Claude 2 to outline the main arguments, identify key supporting evidence, and generate concise summaries of relevant research papers. They also can ask the tool to rewrite the text in more lay terms to comprehend the content better.
Students should read and critically think about the papers and use Bard or Claude 2’s output to supplement their understanding.
Students can use AI tools to enhance their understanding of plagiarism, citation formats, and referencing techniques, ensuring proper academic integrity. AI tools also can assist students in learning and implementing ethical practices related to academic integrity, such as avoiding plagiarism and understanding proper citation and referencing methods.
- Plagiarism Awareness: AI tools can help students identify potential unintentional plagiarism by highlighting similarities between their work and existing sources. This practice promotes awareness and encourages students to attribute ideas and information properly.
- Citation and Referencing Support: AI tools can guide formatting citations and references according to specific academic styles (e.g., APA, MLA). They can assist in generating accurate citations for sources, ensuring proper acknowledgment of the work of others.
Students should be cautious about using AI tools to generate content with proper attribution or to plagiarize others' work. They also should verify the accuracy of generated citations and ensure they adhere to the specific guidelines provided by their educational institution.
Students that elect to use AI as a learning support should select tools that prioritize ethical practices, such as protecting user data, ensuring transparency, and respecting user privacy. By choosing reputable and ethically conscious AI tools, students can have confidence in the responsible use of their data and maintain their privacy.
The following criteria should be considered when selecting a preferred AI Tool:
- Data Protection: Ethical AI tools prioritize data security and implement measures to protect user information from unauthorized access or misuse.
- Transparency: Ethical AI tools provide transparency in their operations, making users aware of the underlying algorithms, limitations, and potential biases.
- User Privacy: Trusted AI platforms prioritize user privacy, ensuring that personal information and interactions are handled confidentially and not exploited commercially.
By following these strategies and guidelines, students can effectively and ethically use AI tools and other AI tools to enhance their learning, research, and writing skills. Artificial Intelligence can be a valuable companion for students in their academic journey, providing support, insights, and new perspectives while preserving academic integrity and responsible usage.
Leinasaar, S. (2023, January 12). The Student’s Guide to Using ChatGPT: Tips and Tricks | Sten Leinasaar. The student’s guide to using ChatGPT: Tips and tricks | Sten Leinasaar. https://stenleinasaar.com/the-students-guide-to-using-chatgpt-tips-and-tricks/
*Note: This page was written by ChatGPT (GTP-3.5) after providing information about responsible use of artificial intelligence for university students and making the most of such tools while maintaining academic integrity. It was edited from its original version by Alysia Ropp.
OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) Retrieved [July 6, 2023], from https://chat.openai.com/chat
Updated July 31, 2023