Important Update on Generative Artificial Intelligence for Staff

The following was sent as an email to all staff from Prof. Tim Woods, Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Student Experience, on 25th September.

“Dear Colleague

As discussed at the Academic Board on 13th September 2023, the university has decided to turn off the Turnitin AI Detection tool as of 30th September 2023. The decision was based on experience with the tool across the higher education sector, especially statistics that seem to demonstrate a high incidence of false positives and the anxiety that this induces for students.  

Generative AI has already become pervasive. It is becoming increasingly embedded in the tools we provide for staff and students such as Office 365 and Blackboard, as well as tools such as Google that are widely used by the general public. It isn’t feasible to ban the use of these tools, so we need to find ways to help students use Generative AI ethically and effectively for real learning, not cheating.  

The promotion of AI literacy for both staff and students has emerged as a key agenda across the higher education sector. A key principle is for staff to be transparent with students about the rationale behind assessments, how they help students learn, and what staff expect from their students. Students, in turn, should apply critical thinking if they use AI tools and be transparent in their submitted coursework about how and where they used such tools. This includes the use of tools such as Grammarly or Quillbot that may have been recommended for students with specific learning differences, for example. 

Please encourage your students to view the new LibGuide created by the Academic Engagement Team in Information Services: Utilising AI in the Library: A Student’s Guide: What is AI? The AI and Your Studies page in the LibGuide was created by the Gen AI Working Group and features video clips highlighting practical guidance on ethical and effective use of AI. A session on Using AI for Good will be offered on 6th November as part of the Digital Skills Festival.  

Guidance for staff can be found on the LTEU’s workshop materials Generative AIpage, with guidance created by the Gen AI Working Group and links to selected authoritative sources. The staff document will be updated shortly with additional details on how to identify red flags when marking. 

Please see the CPD booking page for upcoming Gen AI training sessions for staff and discussion forums that are open for staff and students together. 

If you have any questions about marking or learning design in connection with AI, please contact the LTEU.  

Best wishes Tim”

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