Happy Thanksgiving from Academic Technologies!

A multicolored garland that reads "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Pausing to express our heartfelt gratitude to our wonderful Washington and Lee University community …. this season of thanksgiving reminds us of the countless blessings we share as part of this vibrant academic family. Your dedication, creativity, and spirit of collaboration make our campus a place of endless possibilities and profound learning.

We are immensely grateful for the privilege of working alongside such a talented and passionate group of faculty, staff, and students. Your commitment to excellence and your unwavering pursuit of knowledge are the driving forces behind our university’s success.

We sincerely hope you’ll take some time during the break to rest, reflect, and reconnect with loved ones, near or far. May your gatherings be filled with laughter and your tables with abundance.

With thankful hearts,
The ITS Academic Technologies Team

illustration of a group of grateful people saying thank you and expressing thanks

Registration is now open for Technology and Tacos!

Capstone Projects, Thursday, Sept 21, 2023 12-1:30 pm, Leyburn 119; ePortfolios, Thursday, October 5, 2023 12-1:30 pm, Leyburn 119; Collaborative Assignments, Thursday, Nov 9, 2023 12-1:30 pm, Leyburn 119.

The essence of academia lies in the continuous exchange of knowledge. In this spirit, the Fall 2023 Technology and Tacos luncheon series puts the spotlight on High-Impact Practices (HIPs) that have been game-changers in our very own classrooms.

HIPs refer to a set of teaching and learning initiatives that research has demonstrated have a significant positive influence on student engagement, retention, and overall learning. These practices require students to invest considerable time and effort into purposeful tasks, encouraging deeper learning experiences. While applicable across all student demographics, HIPs have shown to be particularly beneficial for historically underserved students, bridging the gaps in achievement and ensuring a comprehensive educational experience.

We’ll focus on three HIPs:

  • Capstone Projects with Joel Kuehner, Physics and Engineering, and Dave Pfaff, IQ Center;
  • ePortfolios with Jared Macary, Journalism and Mass Communications, and Jayne Reino, Romance Languages; and
  • Collaborative Assignments and Projects with Elisabeth Gilbert, Business Administration, and Matt Tuchler, Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Registration is now open for all THREE Technology and Tacos sessions at go.wlu.edu/tech. Sign up now! Space is limited.

Thinking about updating your syllabus for ChatGPT?

a series of yellow lightbulbs from the leftmost one being the most tangled in its cord to the lightbulb on the far right that shines brightly

Not so long ago, in a classroom not so far away …. generative AI tools like ChatGPT stood ready, waiting for their moment to shine.

But before they can rise to the challenge to assist, or maybe over-assist, our students, it might be prudent to edit our syllabi to ensure it offers clear guidance on how and when (if ever) the use of AI in your class assignments and projects is acceptable.

A glance at syllabi from various institutions reveals that instructors and administrators are diligently crafting policies to guide AI’s use in their classrooms. These statements can be broadly grouped into four main categories:

  1. Content-generating AI is NOT Allowed:
    • Under this category, the use of AI tools is strictly prohibited. These syllabi are clear that work produced by students must be entirely original, and the use of AI-generated content will be considered academic misconduct.
    • Statements falling into this category emphasize the core value of academic originality and stress the importance of mastering subjects without undue reliance on technological shortcuts.
  2. Content-generating AI is Allowed with Appropriate Attribution:
    • Policies in this grouping permit the use of AI for certain tasks or specific assignments, provided it is properly attributed. Students must clearly identify any writing, text, or media generated by AI when submitting work. They are also responsible for the accuracy of any generated content.
    • Syllabi in this group might specify, for instance, that if a student employs AI tools like ChatGPT to generate content, this fact must be clearly indicated in their submission. The emphasis is on transparency and understanding the origin of academic materials.
  3. Content-generating AI Use is Allowed in LIMITED Instances:
    • This grouping offers a middle ground. While AI is not entirely banned, its use is curtailed to very specific instances or types of assignments.
    • Syllabi in this category might allow AI tools for preliminary stages of research, brainstorming, or concept development, but not for final submissions. Here, AI is viewed as an assistant rather than a creator, helping students in the preparation and formulation, but not execution of their academic tasks.
  4. Content-generating AI Use is Encouraged Broadly:
    • The most progressive of the groupings, these policies embrace AI as a significant component of a rapidly evolving tech landscape.
    • These syllabi might encourage students to explore AI’s capabilities, suggesting that they employ these tools in various assignments to understand their potential and limitations. However, they still emphasize the importance of integrity, ensuring students do not misuse AI, but rather incorporate it as part of a holistic learning experience.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of links to sample syllabi statements/AI policies being employed at other institutions of higher education:

University of Iowa Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology – “What do I put in my syllabus about AI-generated and other externally generated content?

SFCC Library Faculty Help: ChatGPT Comprehensive Resource Guide: Syllabus Statements & Course Policies

Cleveland State University Center for Faculty Excellence – Example Policy Statements for AI in Higher Education

Classroom Policies for AI Generative Tools

Course Policies related to ChatGPT and other AI Tools

Montclair State University AI Course Policies and Assignment Guidelines

University of Minnesota’s Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost ChatGPT Syllabus Statements

Inside Higher Ed, “A Guide to Generative AI Policy Making” https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2023/03/22/ai-policy-advice-administrators-and-faculty-opinion

As you read through these syllabi statements and begin writing your own, consider these questions:

  1. What kind of relationship do you hope to foster with your students? Knowing this will help guide the tone and structure of your syllabus.
  2. What do you want students to know about your teaching philosophy? This can influence the rules you set regarding AI.
  3. How can you build trust with students regarding use of AI? Being transparent about your own views and experiences with AI can be a start.
  4. How much AI assistance crosses the line? Define clear boundaries for your students.
  5. Where and how should AI use be disclosed? This can influence how students approach assignments and how you grade them.

If there’s one thing Academic Technologies has come to appreciate deeply in the dynamic world of teaching and learning, it’s that there’s rarely a “one size fits all” solution. Our classrooms are diverse, our students multifaceted, and our approaches varied.

As you consider the role of AI in your syllabus, remember: it’s about finding what fits for you and your learners. 

🧵🧶✂️🪡 Craft, Create, Collaborate: Fiber Arts at the IQ Center!🪡✂️🧶🧵

Attention craft enthusiasts and fabric aficionados! The IQ Center is thrilled to announce its recent expansion into the wonderful world of fiber arts.

Singer Heavy Duty 4452 Sewing Machine

Unleash your creativity with our newly installed sewing station, complete with a state-of-the-art Singer 4452 Heavy Duty electronic sewing machine and a curated starter kit of assorted fabrics and threads.

Got some spare sewing supplies? We’d be thrilled to incorporate them into our space. From fabrics and buttons to threads and trims, your generous donations will make all the difference. 

If you can contribute — especially clean fabrics of at least 1/4 yard — please connect with Julie Knudson at jmknudson@wlu.edu. Your support sew matters to us! 

Registration for Winter Academy is Now Open!

cute deer against snowy background. Winter Academy, Dec 13-16, 2021. go.wlu.edu/winteracademy

W&L is committed to supporting faculty members with all levels of experience in reaching their full potential as educators, scholars, and mentors.

Winter Academy offers learning opportunities for all staff and faculty to enhance their teaching, scholarship, and service in a collaborative and thought-provoking environment.

Whether you’re seeking new ways to better support students, deepen your familiarity with University resources, or take your scholarship to the next level, there’s a session for everyone. All faculty and staff are encouraged to attend.

Sign up now at go.wlu.edu/winteracademy. Please note that registration for all catered sessions will close FIVE (5) business days before the session so that we can provide an accurate headcount to Dining Services. Kindly register for sessions as soon as you know you are able to attend. Thank you!

Monday Productivity Pointers from Lynda.com

Happy Monday!

In this weekly series on being productive with technology, Lynda.com authors Jess Stratton, Garrick Chow, and Nick Brazzi introduce tools and tips to help make today’s software and devices work more efficiently and powerfully for you. With everything from pointers on using Microsoft Office and Google platforms to learning social networking skills and discovering the most useful apps for your iPhone or Android device, there’s something for everyone.

This week’s pointers:
Safely clearing drive space in macOS