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Course Requirements

EDUC 439/639: ChatGPT & AI Chatbots

Generative AI is changing the world in fundamental ways. Already we see this happening via AI Chatbots such as ChatGPT, Bard, and other emerging competitors. This course helps you understand how these AI tools work via generative, pre-training, and transformative processing. Through the course modules you will explore how generative AI is being integrated into everyday tools and reflect on the impact this has on teaching and learning. After exploring the capabilities of ChatGPT and Bard, which is Google's answer to ChatGPT, you will study how educators are using AI Chatbots and consider how you think AI should be regulated (or not) moving forward. You will understand the societal issues posed by AI chatbots and know how to stay current with emerging technologies as artificial intelligence continues to roll out. Along the way, you will come to realize how unrealistic it is to expect that student use of AI can be automatically detected.

As you immerse yourself in this exciting journey into the world of AI Chatbots, you will receive grades on three kinds of activities. First, there are communication assignments designed to create a proactively supportive relationship between you and your professor. Second, there are three graded discussions that involve you in cooperative learning activites with your fellow classmates. Third, you will create a final project that you make with an AI Chatbot on a topic of interest in your personal or workplace context. These three parts of the course each constitute a third of your final grade.

Participants will be expected to spend at least twelve hours per week working through the course modules, completing AI Chatbot exercises in the graded discussions, and working on your final projects.

Assignment #1: Goal Statement

Your first assignment is to state the reasons why you enrolled in this course and explain what you hope to accomplish by taking it. If you have only a general idea of why you chose to enroll in this course, go ahead and describe your goals in general terms. If you have more specific goals in mind, please enumerate them. I will use this information to help advise you and guide you through the appropriate course materials.

Assignment #2: Weekly Discussion Forum

Every student in this class is required to participate actively in the course discussion forum. To enter the discussion forum, log on to the course and click the Discussions option. One of the first messages you write in the forum should inform your fellow classmates about the nature of the project you are hoping to create. The forum is an excellent place to network with your fellow students and help each other learn to use AI chatbots effectively and understand their impact on education, the workplace, and society at large. To earn all your discussion points, write a thoughtful message at least once per week during the course. Creating a new discussion post counts the same as responding thoughtfully to an existing post. Use the discussions to share knowledge with each other during the course. You can write about your experience using AI chatbots, the latest news about how they are emerging, technical aspects about how large language models work, societal issues posed by generative AI, whether you feel that student use of AI is cheating, or any topic related to helping your fellow classmates deepen their understanding and make effective use of AI chatbots.

During the course, three graded discussion topics will appear in the forum. When responding to the discussion topics you are expected to write one or two paragraphs in the Discussions in Canvas. Please avoid very lengthy responses. It is more important to be concise in your own reaction and respond to other students' thoughts rather than write a very lengthy reaction and ignore your classmates' ideas. The grading rubric for the individual assignments is focused on the following 3 dimensions: integration of readings, responsiveness, and timeliness. Follow this link to the rubric used to grade these discussions.

Assignment #3: Final Project Idea

A major part of your grade in this course comes from a final project that you make with an AI Chatbot on a topic of your choice. At this point midway through the course, I am asking you to tell me what you have decided make your final project about. In a nutshell, you will be asking an AI Chatbot to make something for you. Although you are free to make this topic anything you want, ideally it should be something you actually need to create either as part of your job or to advance some social cause or other kind of personal effort you would like to work on. Along the way you will keep a log of the prompts you give and the responses you receive. At the end of the course, you will submit your final project in the form of an essay in which you identify which chatbot(s) you decided to use, explain whether they met your expectations, discuss what you learned about designing prompts, and comment on the accuracy of what the chatbot responded.

Assignment #4: Graded Discussion #1

Ask an AI chatbot to help you write something brief on a topic of your choice. Make the topic be authentic, i.e., ask the AI chatbot for help writing a letter or an email you need to create. In your discussion post, identify the brand of chatbot you chose, describe what you asked the chatbot to do, and give your opinion about whether the chatbot was helpful or not. In writing about your experience, make citations to at least two of the scholarly resources you studied in the course modules or found on your own, and respond thoughtfully by name to posts from at least two of your fellow classmates. You can either refer to your fellow classmates by name in your original posting, or you can respond separately to their posts.

Assignment #5: Graded Discussion #2

The art of learning how to converse with an AI Chatbot is called prompt engineering. You type a prompt and the AI Chatbot responds. Whether you get something useful depends on how clever you are in conversing with the Chatbot. In the following article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, Columbia University undergrad Owen Kichizo Terry provides strategic advice for how to prompt a chatbot when you are assigned to write an essay:

Here are more ideas for designing prompts:

How far have you progressed in your own prompt engineering? What kinds of prompts have you tried? What strategies worked better than others? Respond to some of your fellow classmates’ messages and help each other learn to create more effective prompts.

Assignment #6: Graded Discussion #3

Where do you stand on the issue of whether and how students should be permitted to use Chatbots? At the University of Delaware, for example, the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning (CTAL) has created four scenarios that give professors the option to (1) prohibit all use of AI chatbots, (2) permit their use with prior permission, (3) permit their use with acknowledgement, or (4) freely allow their use. Follow these links to review these kinds of policies in more detail:

What do you think your local policy should be? Does your school or workplace already have an AI policy in place? Talk about the domain of your own work in education and give your opinion about whether, how, and when you think students should be permitted to use AI chatbots. Make citations to at least two of the scholarly resources you studied in the course modules or found on your own and respond thoughtfully by name to posts from at least two of your fellow classmates.

Assignment #7: Final Project Submission

Here is where you submit your final project essay about your experience using an AI chatbot. This is a brief reflective essay in which you think critically and analyze your experience. How you organize your essay depends on what you decided to focus on as you worked through the course modules. In terms of length, your essay should be three to five pages for undergraduate credit (EDUC 439), or five to seven pages for graduate credit (EDUC 639). As you write your paper, make parenthetical citations to at least three scholarly articles (undergrad) or six articles (graduate) that you studied as you worked through the course modules, and conclude your paper with a list of the references you cited formatted in MLA, CMS, or APA style. Education majors should use APA style. In your final project essay, please endeavor to include the following sections:

Assignment #8: Course Evaluation

Your final assignment in this course is to evaluate it. During the last couple weeks of the course, you will receive email at your udel.edu email address instructing you when the evaluation period begins and ends. This email tells you when the course evaluation window is open. You must log on to the course evaluation system within this window of time. The Web address of the course evaluation system is www.udel.edu/course-evals. After you complete the course evaluation, your instructor will give you credit for completing it. The responses you give are completely anonymous. While your instructor will be able to see the ratings and comments, it is impossible for your instructor to identify the person who gave a certain rating or made a given comment. Once you complete the evaluation, your grade on this assignment will be an automatic A.