Describe and Document AI Use

Share this Teaching Tip
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Promote transparency and the thoughtful, responsible use of AI by getting students to acknowledge, describe, and document their AI use (assistance or collaboration) for activities and assignments.

Note that how and to what extent you describe and document AI use in your teaching practices may vary.

Conestoga Guidelines for AI in Class

You may wish to provide students with the optional use of generative AI when they complete in-class activities and/or assignments. For assignments, Conestoga’s Evolving AI Guidelines provide the following recommendations to faculty:

“Written instructions must clearly state whether use of AI is permitted [for assignment]. When AI is permitted, students should also cite and reference its use appropriately. Best practices indicate they should also include an acknowledgement. For example, an assignment completed in collaboration with Copilot should include a statement like “This assignment was completed with the assistance of MS Copilot (February 20, 2024 version).”

Create and share a Statement of AI Use that explains your expectations to students up front.

1. Use APA-style references

Share your expectations with your students for including formal APA-style citations and references when generative AI has been used for an in-class activity or assignment.

The in-text citation is: “(Microsoft, 2024).”

The reference is: “Microsoft. (2024). MS Copilot (February 20, 2024 version) [Large Language Model].”

See the Hub post Citing Generative AI for more information.

2. Describe the AI collaboration

When students detail their AI collaborative process with genAI, they deepen their understanding of their own work, uphold academic integrity, and prepare for an AI-driven future.

You may ask students to describe how they collaborated with genAI for the in-class activity or assignment. Here are some examples.

  1. Initial draft generation: “I used generative AI to generate the initial text draft. I then reviewed, edited, and refined this draft to produce the final output.”
  2. Idea generation: “I used generative AI to generate various ideas and concepts. I selected the most promising ones and developed them further on my own to create the final text.”
  3. Content expansion: “I provided the AI with a basic outline or a set of key points. The AI then expanded on these points to create a more detailed and comprehensive text, which I revised and finalized.”
  4. Iterative refinement: “I used the AI in an iterative process. I would input a draft, the AI would revise and enhance it, and then I would review and adjust the AI’s output. This cycle was repeated until the final text was produced.”
  5. Language enhancement: “I wrote the initial text, and then used the AI to enhance the language, improve the style, and correct grammatical errors. The final output was a polished and refined version of my original text.”

Depending on your activity or assignment and what constitutes permitted genAI use in your course, you can create options for students to select and adapt. You might wish to include a reference at the end of a presentation or document, or in a message students submit in eConestoga.

3. Provide documentation

Students can document their use of generative AI in several ways to demonstrate their active role in the development process. Here are some examples.

  1. Screenshots: Capture images of the genAI interface during use, showing the input given and the AI’s output.
  2. Logs: Record and share the interactions with the genAI, including the prompts or questions, the AI’s responses, and adjustments made based on those responses.
  3. Reflections: Write reflective summaries explaining how the AI’s output was used, why certain suggestions were accepted or rejected, and what was learned from the process.
  4. Annotations: Annotate the final work, indicating which parts were generated or influenced by the AI and providing a brief explanation.
  5. Process documentation: Create a step-by-step account of the assignment process, detailing how the AI was used at each stage.

Note that the features will vary depending on the AI tool. For instance, in Open AI’s ChatGPT, an entire conversation can be copied, while MS Copilot only allows individual prompts and responses to be copied. The assistive AI tool Grammarly provides a downloadable performance report in PDF format, but the report does not describe how Grammarly was used.

When might AI documentation not be necessary or desirable?

It depends. You may decide that students’ use of AI to brainstorm, information search, and acquire resources for a class activity or assessment may not need a description/documentation of their use of AI. Your decision may also be guided by the norms of the academic discipline of your industry. When in doubt, refer to the Conestoga’s Evolving AI Guidelines and contact your supervisor.

Final thoughts

If you wish to provide students with optional use of generative AI for activities and assignments, discussing the risks of using 3rd party genAI tool in class is strongly recommended. Also, you can help students understand your expectations by demonstrating what you ask of students. Finally, please note that students cannot be required to use a specific AI tool for class activities and assignments. Alternative opportunities with equitable support must be provided for any assigned tasks.

Note: In this post, examples were developed in collaboration with AI: detailed prompts were provided, and outputs were human-revised and finalized.

Elan Paulson

Elan Paulson, PhD, has been an educator in Ontario's higher education system since 2004. Before joining Conestoga as a Teaching and Learning Consultant, Elan was on the executive team at eCampusOntario. She previously served as Program Director and as an instructor in professional education programs at Western University's Faculty of Education. With a Master's in Educational Technology, Elan specializes in technology-enabled and collaborative learning to support diverse learners. She has also conducted research on faculty participation in communities of practice for professional learning and self-care.

Did you find what you are looking for? How easy was it to find what you are looking for?
Enter your email if you'd like us to contact you regarding with your feedback.
Thank you for submitting your feedback!