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ChatGPT and Generative AI: Using AI in class

Find resources for using ChatGPT responsibly in academia.
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How to leverage ChatGPT and other AI tools in a college classroom

ChatGPT is already having an enormous impact on teaching and learning, with educators around the world working through the best ways to integrate it into coursework in a way that is both pedagogically useful and maintains standards of academic integrity. This page takes you through some possible applications of ChatGPT in academia, as well as teaching tips and examples.

Planning instruction

ChatGPT can help teachers plan units and projects. It can even align those units with your specified educational standards.

Creating outlines and syllabi

Ask ChatGPT to plan a project or create a course outline. Provide the subject, target audience, and any relevant guidelines. For example: "Create a project-based learning project on using solar energy to create sustainable life. Incorporate a history of solar energy and how different groups (including indigenous cultures) have used it across time." Once it generates a response, you can ask it to modify the project outline in various ways--adapt it for blended learning, incorporate specific objectives, etc.

Examples and articles on using ChatGPT for outlines and syllabi:

Essay and discussion prompts

Ask ChatGPT to generate essay prompts or discussion questions. You can feed the AI your existing syllabus or assignment sheet and ask it to brainstorm some relevant prompts based on that content. You can specify the type of essay or assignment , and tell it which prompt ideas you especially like or dislike to help the AI refine its future suggestions.

Explaining concepts

If there's a concept that's tricky to explain, or that your students aren't getting, ask ChatGPT to explain it and specify the audience. For example, you could prompt the AI by saying: "Explain the concept of intellectual property in a way that college freshmen can understand." You can also ask it to generate review questions to check understanding.

Creating or suggesting reading materials

Teaching vocabulary? You can ask ChatGPT to generate lists of example sentences that use specific vocabulary. You can ask it to generate a reading comprehension passage (tailored to your specified reading level) or short story that contains a certain rhetorical device or other characteristic. It can also recommend books and other material, if you prompt it with a question like: "Where can I find scholarly information on XYZ topic"?

Individualized instruction

You can ask ChatGPT to create IEP (Individualized Educational Program) goals, or for strategies to help struggling students. For students who are non-native English speakers, you can ask ChatGPT to translate all your assignments and other course materials into their language of choice, or rewrite your existing material to make it more accessible for students who are less proficient in English.

  • Video - how special educators can save time with ChatGPT

In class use/delivering instruction

Want to use ChatGPT not just to plan your class, but actually engage with it directly with your students? Here are some ideas.


Get students to ask ChatGPT for review questions on a given topic, and then have them answer those questions. Students can also use ChatGPT for practice tests--simply input an exam on any topic and ask the AI to create a practice test for students to work on in class.

Debate the bot

Since students can respond to ChatGPT and ask it follow-up questions, use it for an in-class debate. Have students input a controversial question (for example, "are dress codes racist?"). The AI will generate a response, and students can dig deeper or express disagreement to "argue" with the bot.

Practice peer feedback

Students are sometimes uncomfortable with providing feedback or critiquing their peers' writing. Ask ChatGPT to generate example essays for the students to critique instead, so they aren't passing judgment on their classmates but are still practicing crucial editing and critical thinking skills.

Build information literacy skills

As we've seen, information generated by ChatGPT is not always reliable or accurate. Acknowledge this with your students and lean into it by reinforcing important information literacy skills. Ask them to conduct research using ChatGPT, and then evaluate the quality of the information the AI generated. Is it accurate? How do they know? What kind of sources did the AI pull from?

Assessment and evaluation

Once content has been delivered, you can use ChatGPT to create rubrics and assessment tools.


Use ChatGPT to create a grading rubric. Tell it what you're looking to assess, the number of levels of quality, and any other guidelines you find important. You can even ask ChatGPT for other criteria that may be significant that you didn't think to include.

Creating exams and questions

ChatGPT can generate exams on any topic. You can also input your existing exam and ask ChatGPT to add multiple-choice options to it or rewrite the questions for a different grade level. 


It is not recommended that you rely solely on ChatGPT for grading. However, you can leverage the tool to save time and make your grading process more efficient. Provide the AI with the assignment and the rubric, and ask it questions to make sure it understands. Then, you can input student work and ChatGPT will generate specific feedback that you can review and use or adapt as needed. For multiple choice or quantitative assessments, ChatGPT can grade student's answers quickly and accurately and calculate their score.

Exporting information from ChatGPT

ChatGPT allows users to save conversations and export data. Under Settings, click Data Controls. From there, you can toggle on or off the "Chat History & Training" button. If you leave it on (which is the default), conversations will be saved in your history and used in "model training" to improve the AI technology. If you deselect that option, all conversations will be deleted within 30 days and no data will be used in model training.

To export data, go to Settings > Data Controls > Export Data. All your account details and conversations will be included in a downloadable report that will be emailed to you once your request has been processed.

Non-classroom applications

Along with using AI for your courses, there are several potentially useful applications for your academic career outside of the classroom.

Grant writing

Use ChatGPT to help you find grants or write grant proposals. ChatGPT can generate descriptions of your department or research need, and you can input specific grant guidelines or information about the funding organization.

Recommendation letters

Inundated with student requests for recommendation letters? ChatGPT should not be relied on exclusively - it's important that your letters be specific and personalized. However, save time by asking ChatGPT to write a sample letter or letter template you can adapt as needed.

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