Approaches to Teaching With Generative AI

What It Is

ChatGPT, Google Bard, Microsoft Copilot, and similar tools are referred to as Generative AI because they can interact with humans in a natural and conversational style when generating sophisticated, original, and human-like text based on simple prompts from users.

Why It Matters

Understanding the opportunities and challenges presented by Generative AI tools has become an increasingly important  aspect of teaching in the digital age. As with most educational technologies, the successful exploration and decision to use or not use Generative AI in an education setting is highly dependent on specific learning objectives and intentional course planning. Additionally, given the constantly evolving nature of Generative AI across disciplines, skills development through AI promises to enhance learners’ career readiness.

Teaching Applications

The Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation (STLI) recommends instructors implement clear course expectations and learning goals to guide the use of Generative AI tools in their courses. This is especially important in courses where students are asked to create assignments with new and unique content to show mastery. The following practices will help establish the approach that works best for your class.


  1. Be sure your syllabus includes a clear statement on academic integrity and references the W&M Honor Code. Additionally, discuss the consequences of cheating and plagiarism for student learning and their academic career.
  2. In class, discuss how AI tools may or may not be used in your course, but also why, given the learning objectives for the course, you are setting these rules. 
  3. Review the importance of academic integrity and the value of skills gained by specific assignments learning. Consider using a framework like TILT to explicitly communicate this value to students.
  4. Discuss how AI tools may impact private data and intellectual property.

Assessment approaches

  1. Implement a variety of assessment approaches to provide multiple pathways for learning. Beyond writing assignments, consider traditional exams, take-home projects, oral presentations, digital projects, visual poster presentations, and lower-stakes in-class activities (e.g., discussions, group work, debates).
  2. When trying to avoid students using Generative AI, consider creating assignments based on authentic experiences, or classroom-specific discussions. These topics make the misuse of Generative AI much less likely.
  3. When asking students to practice certain skills, or generate secondary content, consider leveraging Generative AI to assist in constructive ways. Examples include engaging an AI chatbot in a discussion to fine-tune an argument or generating graphics for an assignment where illustration skills are not part of the assessment.
  4. Consider adding an “oral defense” or a process paper component to major submitted assignments. Asking students to explain their work, process, or defend an argument strengthens their understanding while deterring the misuse of Generative AI.
  5. Scaffold larger or higher-stakes assignments to allow students to work on the assignment in “chunks” with instructor feedback along the way.
  6. Consider having your students use a Generative AI tool like ChatGPT during a class activity. Allow students to experiment with prompt generation and the analysis of AI-generated content for strengths, weaknesses, and fallacies. As a group, discuss the opportunities afforded by this technology and how it can also be detrimental when used in certain ways (all context-specific).

Other Considerations

  1. Consider student variability and equity when deciding to use (or not to use)Generative AI and other digital technology tools in your course. Do all students have equal access to the allowed or needed tools? Are those without access to these digital tools, for monetary or other reasons, at a disadvantage in the work that you have assigned them, or how it will be assessed? If so, how can you remove or reduce this barrier?
  2. The use of Generative AI in higher education, and society as a whole, is still evolving at an alarming rate. The opportunities available and challenges presented by AI are highly discipline-specific. Guidelines, ideas and best-practices provided by professional organizations, education organizations, and your peers are great ways to remain informed in a manageable way.

Sample Syllabus Statements

Consider using traditional syllabus language regarding adherence to W&M’s Honor code (samples linked below). Additionally, include course-specific language governing the use of AI-generated content:

  1. The use or incorporation of any AI-generated content (from ChatGPT, Dall-e, etc.) in assignments is not allowed. You may be asked to explain your work and/or to defend the ideas presented..All work submitted in this course, whether in draft or final form, must be cited appropriately. You may incorporate AI-generated content or ideas in assignments, but you must cite this content. Citations must include which AI platform generated the content, and the specific prompts used to generate content. Check this material, because AI-generated content often contains falsehoods and fictional sources (aka AI hallucinations).You are responsible for the facts and content provided by Generative AI.
  2.  In this course, we will explore the use of AI-generated content as a [insert objective – educational/societal/other] tool. You will analyze the [insert here – quality/ethics/bias/etc.] of this content. Ideas and content generated by you, and those that are AI-generated, should be clearly delineated and cited accordingly.

Learn More about Generative A.I.:

  1. EDUCAUSE Artificial Intelligence resource:
  2. “Alarmed by A.I. Chatbots, Universities Start Revamping How They Teach, January 16, 2023, New York Times:


  1. William & Mary syllabus statement samples:

Cite This Resource

Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation. (2024, February). Approaches to teaching with generative a.i.  [Teaching resource].

Updated February 2024

Video Resources

Watch STLI’s Quick Bite:
Start the Conversation – Framing ChatGPT in Your Class (22 min.)

Watch STLI’s Quick Bite:
ChatGPT: Friend or Foe (28 min.)

Watch Lindy Johnson: Creative
Uses for A.I. in the Classroom (40 min.)

Watch STLI’s Community Conversation with
Panelists Stephanie Blackmon, Dave Gilbert, Matthew Haug, and Liz Losh (1 hr)