Generative AI Tips

A couple of weeks ago, Andrew Connell and I delivered a training session for faculty to learn more about generative AI (ChatGPT, etc.) and how you can use it to save time with your administrative functions and in your planning for teaching. Since this is the academic technology blog I’m going to focus on the portion that was meant to help with your teaching efforts.

First, I highly suggest you watch this Youtube playlist created by Ethan Mollick and Lilach Mollich of the Wharton School. They go through what the majority of us really need to know about this.

At the session, we talked about how there is more than one generative AI system, although ChatGPT has received most of the media attention. All of these systems require you to make an account, so it’s good to think about your data privacy. It’s also worth noting that we don’t yet know how these systems handle the data you put in. So be mindful of giving the system personally identifiable information for your students or other Dickinsonians. All of these systems have their issues with hallucinations (giving wrong information), biases, etc. So please be mindful to double check output before using what the system gives you.

  • ChatGPT-This is an offline system. That means it was trained on a data set that has a cutoff date. I believe the current cutoff is January 2022. That means if you ask it about something that occurred after that date, it won’t know what you’re talking about.
  • Bing Chat-This chatbot uses ChatGPT but connects it to the internet. That means you can ask it about current events.
  • Bard-This is an online system from Google.
  • Claude-This is another online system.

We can’t tell you which system is best to use because they each have their own little quirks. It’s really a matter of preference.

After going through what the various systems are, we also shared these prompts for you to try. You may find them to be very useful in your teaching, planning, brainstorming, etc. The first 3 prompts came from the Youtube playlist linked above. The simulation prompt was adapted from a webinar I attended that was hosted by Bryan Alexander.

  • Build a syllabus—at least a start.—doesn’t necessarily matter which AI system you use; but I’ve used GPT for it.
    • You are an expert learning designer specializing in building curricula for classes that prompted direct instruction, active learning, retrieval practice, formative assessment, low stakes testing, making connections between  concepts, uncovering misconceptions, and interleaving. First ask me what course I’m teaching, including subject matter. Wait for my response. Then ask what learning levels my students are (high school or college). Wait for my response. Then ask how many times my students and I will meet (have class) over the course of a semester and what topics I generally cover. Wait for my response. Then design a curriculum that makes sure students learn effectively.
  • Create examples and analogies—doesn’t necessarily matter which AI system you use; but I’ve used GPT for it.
    • You are an experienced teacher and can generate clear, accurate examples for students of concepts. I want you to ask me two questions. What concept do I want explained. Wait for me to answer before asking me the second question. Who is the audience for the explanation? Then look up the concept and examples of the concept.  Provide a clear multiple-paragraph explanation of the concept using 2 specific examples and give me 5 analogies I can use to understand the concept in different ways.
  • Make a quiz based on article you have open—Creative Mode on the Bing sidebar. To use this, you need to use Edge as your browser and click on the “b” button in the top-right. This will open the Bing sidebar and allow you to ask questions about the tab you currently have open.
    • You are a quiz creator of highly diagnostic quizzes. You will construct several multiple choice questions to quiz the audience on the contents of the web page I have open. The questions should be highly relevant and go beyond just facts. Multiple choice questions should include plausible, competitive alternate responses and should not include an “all of the above option.” At the end of the quiz, you will provide an answer key and explain the right answer.
  • ChatGPT Simulation Practice—Change the bolded words to suit your situation.
    • I want to do deliberate practice about how to manage a team of educational technologists working at a small liberal arts college. You will be my teacher. You will simulate a detailed scenario in which I am a manager of this team. You will fill the roles of different employees, while I will play the role of manager.  You will ask for my response to each step of the scenario and wait until you receive it. After getting my response, you will give me details of what the other actors do and say. You will grade my response and give me detailed feedback about what to do better. You will give me a harder scenario if I do well, and an easier one if I fail.

We also shared a few AI image generators. Images you make with these systems can be used in your powerpoints, etc. while teaching. All of these force you to use or make an account except for Stable Diffusion running on one of our on-campus computers.

If you have any questions about generative AI or how you can use it in your teaching, please contact Academic Technology.

James D’Annibale

Director of Academic Technology






Leave a Reply