USING CHATGPT and other AI LARGE LANGUAGE MODELS: Pace’s policy on the use of AI/LLMs such as ChatGPT is still evolving. As educators and students of writing we cannot ignore this emerging phenomenon—nor should we. ChatGPT, the most popular text-generating AI program, can be a helpful tool in teaching and learning writing; but it obviously has strong potential for abuse. Students are expected to submit original writing in their assignments. If you consult ChatGPT or another AI/LLM for any reason at all, you must state so, with specifics, at the top of the essay above the title. Example: “This paper was written with help from ChatGPT on drafting, editing, and proofreading.”
Papers submitted with an AI Usage statement will be accepted but evaluated with especially close rigor. As always, you should submit essays written in your own voice and style, expressing your own point of view. Essentially, this means that using AI/LLMs should be an early stage in your writing process—and not (except for proofreading) an endpoint.
Papers that employ AI/LLMs submitted without a usage statement will be considered plagiarized. Your instructor reserves the right to revise this experimental policy during the semester.
Feel free to share and/or adapt for use in your syllabi! You might find it useful to annotate the last ChatGPT-written paragraph. If you use or modify this statement, please credit Dr. Vyshali Manivannan, Dept. of Writing and Cultural Studies, Pace University - Pleasantville (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).
OpenAI programs like ChatGPT, Lex, or Quillbot seem like swift, infallible essay-writing technologies, but you’ll need to invest time, labor, and sophisticated writing knowledge into recrafting a ChatGPT into a submission-ready assignment that “passes” as human writing. Even in their most advanced forms, ChatGPT and other OpenAI programs answer questions partially, incorrectly, and artificially. They repeat similar ideas with different wording, shift between genres, use incompatible organization schemas pulled from different genres and disciplines, use incongruous disciplinary conventions, inaccurately use textual materials and statistics, and/or plagiarize. Writers still learning their craft might not notice when these issues occur without multiple rereadings and revisions. Thus, ChatGPT answers require an extremely careful and critical editorial eye. Failure to catch incompatible writing conventions or styles is likely to flag an assignment as plagiarized.
ChatGPT works by mimicry and plagiarism. It’s like the algorithmic version of the Infinite Monkeys Theorem, the idea that an infinite number of monkeys banging away at typewriters will eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare. AI-generated essays are devoid of personality and voice and actually magnify common problems in student writing: uncertainty about genre conventions and appropriate style; confusing organization; inconsistent paragraphing; generalizations; logical fallacies; repetitiveness; flawed research and citation; inconsistency with your voice in class discussion and on other assignments; and problems addressing the assignment instructions. Because OpenAI writing assistants sound like insincere, disinterested, empty humans, they are easily detectable to readers.
Additionally, OpenAI harvests mass quantities of copyrighted work without consent, ranging from blog posts under Creative Commons licenses to pirated published work, using it is potentially illegal-—as recent copyright infringement lawsuits have demonstrated. The FTC opened an investigation into OpenAI in 2023 regarding harm to consumers. Since its AI system is trained using illegally obtained content, all of ChatGPT’s answers may constitute a breach of Academic Integrity and of federal law.
Writing-enhanced courses aim to teach you that writing is an activity of thought, a skill that goes beyond correct grammar and mechanics. ChatGPT doesn’t encourage the learning of reading and writing, let alone the cultivation of the thoughtful inner readerly/writerly voice that you’ll eventually need, whatever your career path.
In short, ChatGPT is not a time-saving tool unless:
If you possess the above skillset, ChatGPT can be helpful in the prewriting and paraphrasing process. However, like any tool, you have to use it with competence and care.
Plagiarism is typically an issue of equity. In keeping with antiracist initiatives, we should also remember that external pressures (work, health, personal crisis) can reduce your available writing time; self-disappointment (“I’m bad at it”) can make you writing-avoidant or ashamed to meet with me; GPA concerns (financial aid, honors programs, specific majors, athletics) might make you susceptible to problematic “get good grades quick” schemes. If this sounds like you, swing by for a coffee chat. I’m open to hearing your concerns, whether material or emotional, and working to ensure an equitable learning environment for everyone.
In conclusion, it is important to note that ChatGPT is a tool, and like any tool, it can be used in a way that is either helpful or harmful. As with any writing tool, it is important to use ChatGPT responsibly and ethically. This means using it to help generate ideas and stimulate creativity, rather than simply copying and pasting its output into your own work. It is also important to properly cite any sources that you use, whether you are using ChatGPT or any other writing tool. It is essential that we use this tool responsibly and with respect for the intellectual property of others. It is the responsibility of each student to ensure that their work meets the highest standards of integrity. By using ChatGPT in a responsible and ethical way, you can benefit from its capabilities and improve your writing skills (ChatGPT).
 Morrison, Aimée, keynote. Everything I Need to Know about ChatGPT, I Learned from My Students. 2023 Festival of Teaching and Learning. University of Alberta/Zoom.
 This paragraph was written by ChatGPT (Prompt: The ethics of writing with ChatGPT and how it harms writing). Note how this paragraph is repetitive, generalizing, and bland compared to the rest of this statement. It may be grammatically correct, but the tone (formal, clinical) and genre conventions (generalizing 5-paragraph report) of this paragraph don’t align with my writing style or the syllabus genre.
Do you have a syllabus statement that you'd like to share? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to have your contribution added to the guide.
President Krislov's take: Why ChatGPT Makes Me Hopeful—Not Worried—For the Future of College and Careers (March 13, 2023)
Three Pace professors chime in via the Pace website: ChatGPT and the Future of Education (April 4, 2023)
Article on the work of computer science professor Christelle Scharff: Leveraging African Fashion for Addressing AI Bias (July 13, 2023)
Report on a talk given by chemistry professor Elmer-Rico Mojica: Educators Urged To Set Parameters When Using AI Tools For Teaching (August 14, 2023)