Teachers' Guide | Graduate School of Life Sciences

Advice for tailoring teaching and assessment methods to incorporate GenAI

Below we provide some advice and methods on how to incorporate GenAI ethically and responsibly into your courses. More advice and ideas will be provided in the Open Access Teacher/Assessor Tutorials.

  • Structure course elements to require human engagement to ensure that GenAI complements rather than replaces key learning experiences. For instance, you could include presentations with in-class discussions involving teacher(s) and/or students.
  • Leverage GenAI to reshape learning goals and assessment strategies, fostering a more innovative educational environment (e.g., you could ask GenAI to create games, and simulations for students to explore different scenarios to enhance their learning experiences and engage them more with course content).
  • Encourage students to interact with AI-generated text critically. Pose questions to GenAI and guide students through analysing its responses (e.g., instead of asking students to answer a specific research question for an assignment, have them ask a GenAI tool, such as ChatGPT to answer the question and have them reflect upon the answer).
  • Familiarise yourself with how GenAI responds to your assignments and discuss these differences with students to facilitate understanding (e.g., ask ChatGPT to answer one of your exam questions and have students evaluate and reflect upon its answers. Students could then discuss in groups their reflections to see if there are common trends, then this could be discussed this in class).
  • Design assignments that encourage critical thinking, analysis, and evaluation beyond the capacity of current GenAI tools (e.g., craft questions that prompt reflection and justification, making assignments more resistant to GenAI. For example,you could ask students to evaluate the intricate relationship between genetic predispositions and environmental factors in the development of complex human diseases. Asking them to provide well-founded arguments and cite reputable sources to support their stance. You could even have students ask GenAI to answer this question and then have students reflect upon its answer). Additionally, you can provide opportunities for reflection, formative feedback, and revision to promote a deeper understanding of the assignment.
  • Identify and critically evaluate the capacity of certain GenAI tools to better facilitate the needs of students with disabilities and non-native speakers. For instance, many of these tools can be used for translation and some offer Speech-to-Note transcriptions.
  • For writing assignments and assessments, rethink learning goals to emphasise the importance of each step in the writing process and developing well-scaffolded assignments. Break down assignments into stages, promoting long-term reflective and constructive thinking. This approach allows for closer monitoring of students’ progress and promotes robust writing skills.

Example scaffolded assignment

  1. Topic selection: students must choose a research topic that is current and relevant to the field of [fill in field]. Topics should be sufficiently complex to require in-depth research and analysis. Students could work on these topics in groups and submit at the end of class.
  2. Literature review: students are then expected to conduct a literature review on their chosen topic, and critically evaluate and analyse at least XX peer-reviewed research articles, highlighting the gaps and controversies in the existing literature. [10% grade]
  3. Research proposal: based on their literature review, they will then need to develop a research proposal that includes a clear question, hypotheses, research objectives, and a detailed methodology. They must also discuss the potential significance of your proposed research. [10% of grade]
  4. Citation and referencing: proper citation and referencing in accordance with specified citation style (e.g., APA, Vancouver) must be followed. Plagiarism detection tools will be used to ensure originality.
  5. Peer review: after submitting their research proposal, students will participate in a peer review process where they provide feedback on one of their peer’s proposals. This will help them also critically think about their own proposals. [15% of grade]
  6. Revision and submission: students will then be expected to revise their proposal based on the feedback they received from their peers and then submit for final assessment. [40% of the grade]

The remaining 25% of the grade could be allocated to a presentation and class participation.

This assignment requires several layers of assessment. It emphasises critical thinking, literature synthesis, and the formulation of original research questions, all which GenAI can help with, but is a bit more challenging to convincingly replicate. The peer feedback introduces the valuable steps in the writing process and engagement in skill development. Dividing the grade percentage between multiple steps within the writing process, placing less weight on the final paper, helps to distribute the evaluation more evenly across the entire research and writing process, discouraging shortcuts and plagiarism. By having an oral component as part of the assessment process, this allows students to demonstrate what they have learnt and provides an additional layer of defence against generative AI.