Course Policies & Syllabi Statements

Teaching in the presence of ubiquitous GenAI tools should be considered a dynamic endeavor and necessitates flexibility. Approaches and expectations will vary by instructor, course, assessment, and activity. To ensure transparency, it is critical that expectations are clearly articulated in the syllabus and continually reinforced when assignments are given. Instructors should align their course policies with their college’s academic misconduct policies.

Instructors are disciplinary experts responsible for what is taught, appropriate pedagogies, and assessment methodologies. GenAI may influence all three, and as such, instructors need flexibility to allow or disallow the use of GenAI tools. If the latter policy is adopted, instructors should be aware that U-M does not currently support the use of surveillance and plagiarism detection tools as they cannot be reliably counted upon. Further, clear policies have to be formulated regarding punitive measures and how they may be enforced. If GenAI tools are allowed, the instructor should be clear which tools are allowed and in what capacity.

It is also important to point out to students that although AI-generated content may appear reliable and factual, that is not always the case, and that inaccuracies, untruths, and false citations may be missed if one is overly reliant on the tools.

Syllabus Language

GenAI is changing rapidly, and new tools will become available. Course policies therefore need to be provisional and subject to change. Several principles can guide instructors to develop course policies appropriate for their contexts:

  1. Protect cognitive dimension of learning: GenAI should enhance, not hinder, learning.
  2. Responsibility for content: Students are responsible for all content (ideas, facts, citations), however the work is generated. (Note: Chat GPT can generate untrue, biased, inaccurate, and hallucinatory content.)
  3. Require ethical transparency: Students should be transparent about how they use GenAI and adhere to standards of academic integrity.
  4. Explain academic misconduct: Instructors should distinguish between allowed and disallowed uses of GenAI, including how, when, and why GenAI may (not) be used.

Course policies might fall into one of three categories:

  • Specific uses of GenAI are encouraged (generating ideas, editing, translating, outlining)
  • Specific uses of GenAI are allowed if students clearly distinguish between their original work and GenAI output (highlighting output, tracking changes in GenAI output)
  • Any use of GenAI constitutes academic misconduct.

Instructors could consider including in the syllabus, the following recommendations from The Sentient Syllabus Project, led by a team of multidisciplinary scholars at leading universities throughout the world:

Referencing and validating. You are taking full responsibility for AI-generated materials as if you had produced them yourself: ideas should be attributed and facts should be true.

Openness. We encourage you to use AI tools to explore the field, play with knowledge, and help you study. But you need to be open about this, and document your use.

Documentation. A portion of your term grade will evaluate your documentation of AI use throughout the course. By keeping track of your AI use and sharing your experiences, we all gain understanding, identify potential issues in this rapidly changing field, and discover better ways to use the resources for our objectives.

Academic Integrity Statement. Academic integrity is our foundation as a community of scholars and learners. It defines the values we personally uphold, and it expresses a shared understanding why we do so. This includes: a commitment to truth; a commitment to personal integrity; and a commitment to certain standards and shared values on which membership in this community is based.

Assignment Instruction statement. By submitting an assignment for evaluation:

  • you assert that it accurately reflects the facts and to do so you need to have verified the facts, especially if they originate from generative AI resources;
  • you assert that all your sources that go beyond common knowledge are suitably attributed. Common knowledge is what a knowledgeable reader can assess without requiring confirmation from a separate source;
  • you assert that you have respected all specific requirements of your assigned work, in particular requirements for transparency and documentation of process, or have explained yourself where this was not possible.

If any of these assertions are not true, whether by intent or negligence, you have violated your commitment to truth, and possibly other aspects of academic integrity. This constitutes academic misconduct.

Example Syllabi Statements


Example #1

Domain: Agnostic 
GenAI-use: Permitted with disclosure  
Consequences for inappropriate use: Reported to school-based academic misconduct processes 
Source: U-M Faculty member Nigel Melville

Any and all use of machines that emulate human capabilities (U-M GPT, ChatGPT, Stable Diffusion, DALLE, etc.) to perform assignments or other works in the course should be disclosed (this includes all graded deliverables as well as other course works and activities). In addition, an explanatory appendix is required for each and every unique usage to describe in clear steps how such a machine was used, including which machine, iteration, editing, etc. WARNING: the current state-of-the-art of machine capabilities have two salient features: 1) the quality is such that more work may be required in a machine-assisted mode; 2) it is feasible to discern the presence of “machine fingerprints.” Our goal as a community of learners is to explore and understand how these tools may be used to augment human performance. However, violation of the explicit disclosure requirement may subject students to standard Ross processes (for reporting, determining misconduct (if any), and assigning sanctions (as appropriate) as would be employed for any other type of potential Academic Misconduct.

Example #2

Domain: Agnostic 
GenAI-use: Permitted with disclosure 
Consequences for inappropriate use: Not specified 
Source: U-M Faculty member

Learning how to use AI functions such as U-M GPT and ChatGPT is important for all of us.  Used properly, Generative AI (GEnAI) can enhance our work; used improperly, it can border on plagiarism. If you have used GenAI on anything you submit for [CLASS NAME], please include an explanation as to (1) what was your original prompt to the chatbot; (2) what are some examples of incorrect data that the chatbot provided to you; and, (3) how did you rework and revise so that your final document was both factually accurate and reflected your writing voice and style.

Example #3

Domain: Computer science, data science 
GenAI-use: Permitted with disclosure 
Consequences for inappropriate use: Not specified 
Source: Boris Steipe (2023) “Syllabus Resources”. The Sentient Syllabus Project

In principle you may submit AI-generated code, or code that is based on or derived from AI-generated code, as long as this use is properly documented in the comments: you need to include the prompt and the significant parts of the response. AI tools may help you avoid syntax errors, but there is no guarantee that the generated code is correct. It is your responsibility to identify errors in program logic through comprehensive, documented testing. Moreover, generated code, even if syntactically correct, may have significant scope for improvement, in particular regarding separation of concerns and avoiding repetitions. The submission itself should meet our standards of attribution and validation.

Example #4

Domain: General writing 
GenAI-use: Permitted with disclosure 
Consequences for inappropriate use: Not specified  
Source: Boris Steipe (2023) “Syllabus Resources”. The Sentient Syllabus Project

In principle you may submit material that contains AI-generated content, or is based on or derived from it, as long as this use is properly documented. This includes for example drafting an outline, preparing individual sections, combining elements and removing redundant parts, and compiling and annotating references. Your documentation should make the process transparent – the submission itself should meet our standards of attribution and validation.

Example #5

Domain: Agnostic 
GenAI-use: Permitted, no disclosure needed 
Consequences for inappropriate use: None 
Source: Inspired by…

Generative AI, such as U-M GPT and similar technologies are rapidly becoming part of our professional lives. As such, I expect that you will incorporate these technologies into your work in this class as appropriate, and will treat the work you produce as demonstration of your abilities to engage with these new tools. We do ask that you cite the technologies used as part of your submission so that we’re all engaging in a dialogue around the role and efficacy of these tools.

Use permitted depending on activity type:

Example #1

Domain: Agnostic 
GenAI-use: Permitted  
Consequences for inappropriate use: Not specified  
Source: Temple University Center for the Advancement of Teaching:…

The use of generative AI tools (e.g. U-M GPT, ChatGPT, Dall-e, etc.) is permitted in this course for the following activities:

  • Brainstorming and refining your ideas;
  • Fine tuning your research questions;
  • Finding information on your topic;
  • Drafting an outline to organize your thoughts; and
  • Checking grammar and style.

The use of generative AI tools is not permitted in this course for the following activities:

  • Impersonating you in classroom contexts, such as by using the tool to compose discussion board prompts assigned to you or content that you put into a Zoom chat.
  • Completing group work that your group has assigned to you, unless it is mutually agreed upon that you may utilize the tool.
  • Writing a draft of a writing assignment.
  • Writing entire sentences, paragraphs or papers to complete class assignments.


Example #1

Domain: Agnostic 
GenAI-use: Forbidden 
Consequences for inappropriate use: Reported to school-based academic misconduct processes

The use of AI tools is explicitly forbidden. Any indication of use will be reported to [School/College] name for investigation as academic misconduct, and subject to consequences like failing the assignment or failing the course depending on the scope and severity of the actions taken.

Example #2

Domain: Agnostic 
GenAI-use: Forbidden 
Consequences for inappropriate use: Failed assignment

U-M GPT, ChatGPT, and other similar technologies are advancing rapidly and there are many instances where they will be key tools in your schoolwork and career. For the purposes of this class, we are asking all students to pledge that they will not use these technologies. We believe this is key for this learning environment because we want you to learn how to critically engage with the material we’ll be discussing, including learning how to search for and identify relevant sources, synthesize these materials, and make recommendations without the aid of technology. Artificial Intelligence cannot do this learning for you. Students who are found to have used GenerativeAI or the like to complete their assignments will receive a grade of zero for that assignment.