Creating your course policy on AI
Here we offer example syllabus statements, suggestions for what to include, and sample sentences that you might use as you think through your own course policy on AI and begin writing a statement to put in your syllabus.
Analyzing the implications of AI chatbots
- Academic integrity, student success, and workload balance represent three important areas of focus regarding the impact of AI chatbots.
- The Office of Community Standards has stated that absent a clear statement from the instructors, the use of generative AI will be treated the same as assistance from another person.
- Evaluate your own courses carefully when thinking about if and how you would use AI chatbots and how you would direct students to use them.
Outcomes for this module
Here we aim to guide you through developing a draft course policy on AI use that you can include in your syllabi.
After completing this module, you should be able to:
- Reflect on the purpose(s) of an AI policy in your course syllabi.
- Describe some options for AI policy syllabus statements.
- Create an AI policy for your course that takes into consideration academic integrity, student success, and workload balance.
Thinking about your syllabus
A syllabus serves many purposes and can have multiple audiences depending on how and when it is used. Let's focus on the syllabus as a way to communicate to students the most important aspects and learning goals of your course. Before you begin to write your course policy on AI, consider the tone and voice of your syllabus, course policies already in place, and so on.
We offer the prompt "What is one complexity about your course that could be clarified or improved for your students?" that you can respond to in the poll below.
Explore example syllabi statements
Consider these example syllabi statements on AI use:
What to include in your AI course policy statement
An effective syllabus is designed to motivate learning, define learning goals, explain the structure of the course, offer support, and so on—which also applies to any statements about AI. Many of the strategies for writing effective syllabi in general, such as using student-centered language, aiming for transparency and precision, providing examples, and using the syllabus as a starting point for conversations with students, would apply here as well (Gannon, 2023). Remember that some students may not be aware of campus policies or have varying degrees of preparation for navigating such issues, so they would likely benefit from a clear and comprehensive statement about AI use in your course.
Consider the following when developing your AI course policy:
- What is the policy and what tools does it apply to specifically?
- When does it apply? What conditions or contexts allow or preclude the use of AI?
- What processes and consequences result from non-compliance?
- What rationale and reasoning guide this policy?
- How do you provide support to students in relation to this policy?
- How does the policy show support for student well-being?
Ideas to get started
Below we provide options for ideas and wordings that you might use to begin crafting your own course policy.
Type of policy
- Yes, always allowed
- Yes, but...
- No, but...
- No, never allowed
Specific tools it applies to
- AI chatbots (such as ChatGPT, Google Bard, Claude, Bing Chat)
- AI image generators (such as DALL-E, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, Adobe Firefly)
- AI code generators (such as CoPilot, Tabnine, Cody)
- AI audio or music generators (such as Amper, AIVA, Soundful)
Conditions and contexts
- Only for specific assignments
- Only specified AI tools
- Only when students openly explain how and why they used AI tools
- Only when students and the teaching team consent to having their data entered into AI tools
- Only when used for purposes that are not private, sensitive, or high-risk
- Only with supervision during class, section, or office hours
- Only after students have gained skills for using chatbots appropriately
- Only by request and in consultation with the instructor or teaching team
- Only with your own data. Do not enter private, sensitive, or copyrighted data from others into AI tools without their consent.
- Only prohibited for graded assignments; for non-graded assignments, students may use chatbots
- Must cite the AI tools and prompts they use
- Yes, always because...
- "The students in this course have strong learning skills and have shown themselves to be responsible, effective, self-directed learners."
- "I’ve designed robust assessments and learning activities in this course that have value regardless of the use of chatbots."
- "The use of chatbots aligns with the goals of the course in a way that enhances learning."
- "I consider learning to use chatbots an important skill in the discipline."
- "Students are informed about AI, its risks and benefits, and can decide for themselves if and how they would use AI tools."
- Yes, but... because...
- "Students need to first develop their skills to demonstrate they can use chatbots effectively and responsibly."
- "Chatbots would enhance learning in certain specific situations but could be a detriment to learning outside of those situations."
- "The teaching team only has enough resources to support students working with chatbots in limited ways."
- "Students first need to understand issues around privacy and data security and consent to using a chatbot."
- No, but... because...
- "It could enhance learning for certain students in unique circumstances but otherwise would likely inhibit learning."
- "It depends on the individual student's goals, situation, skills, and needs that need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis."
- "The teaching team only has enough resources to support a limited number of students with the greatest need to use chatbots for learning."
- "As chatbots rapidly evolve, the teaching team needs more time to adapt the course to properly support students."
- "Content in this course is private, sensitive, or copyrighted, and should only be entered into a chatbot under certain circumstances."
- No, never because...
- "The teaching team considers chatbots incompatible with the course goals and likely a detriment to student learning."
- "Content in this course is private, sensitive, or copyrighted and should never be entered into a chatbot."
- "All students should contact the teaching team if they have questions about anything in this policy."
- "All students must attend at least one office hour session to discuss using AI tools."
- "Students must consent to and follow class community agreements about responsible use of AI."
- "Student work that does not include proper citation of chatbot use..."
- "If a student is suspected of or reported for not following this policy, the teaching team will consult with the Office of Community Standards in accordance with the student accountability process."
- "My course policy aligns with guidance from the Office of Community Standards. Please familiarize yourself with their policy, as it applies to all courses, not just this one."
- "If you have any questions, please talk to me or someone from the teaching team. The best way to contact us is..."
- "All students and teaching team members should follow the recommendations on privacy, data security, and responsible use of AI tools described on University IT's Responsible AI at Stanford webpage."
- "For the specified assignments where AI tools are allowed, we will go over in class how to access and use them."
- "AI use is not required and is entirely optional. Equivalent alternatives are provided for all students whether they choose to use AI tools or not."
- "If you as a student are struggling and feeling too much pressure in this course, please don't resort to chatbots as a shortcut to completing assignments. Many Stanford students feel stressed and pressured. It is completely natural, as this is a challenging course and the university can be a high-pressure environment. But there are a lot of support resources available to you, and I believe that you can succeed here. Please contact me anytime and let's talk about it. I am open to extending due dates or adjusting the assignments to fit your situation. I will work with you to support your success in this course!"
- "We recognize that you may have concerns around privacy and security, or have ethical or other reasons why you do not want to use AI tools in this class. This is completely understandable and we respect your choices. I and the teaching team are here to help you succeed in this course. Please email, visit office hours, or speak to me at any time so we can help you. I can accommodate or adapt course assignments for most students' situations. In the instances where I cannot, I can connect you to other campus resources that can help you."
Assess and reinforce your learning
We offer this activity for you to self-assess and reflect on what you learned in this module.
- Go to the Stanford-only version of this activity
- Use your Stanford-provided Google account to respond.
- You have the option of receiving an email summary of your responses
- After submitting your responses, you will have the option to view the anonymized responses of other Stanford community members by clicking Show previous responses.
- Complete the activity embedded below.
- You have the option of receiving an email summary of your responses.
- Your responses will only be seen by the creators of these modules.
- How to Cite ChatGPT, APA Style
- CTL Syllabus Template, Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning
- Should You Add an AI Policy to Your Syllabus?, Chronicle of Higher Education
- The Sentient Syllabus Project, Sentient Syllabus Project
AI Guidance & FAQs. (n.d.). Harvard Office of Undergraduate Education. Retrieved July 26, 2023, from https://oue.fas.harvard.edu/ai-guidance
CTL Syllabus Template | Center for Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2023, from https://ctl.stanford.edu/syllabus-template
Eaton, L. (n.d.). Classroom Policies for AI Generative Tools—Google Docs. Retrieved July 28, 2023, from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RMVwzjc1o0Mi8Blw_-JUTcXv02b2WRH86vw7mi16W3U/edit
Gannon, K. (2023, July 31). Advice | Should You Add an AI Policy to Your Syllabus? The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/should-you-add-an-ai-policy-to-your-syllabus
McAdoo, T. (2023, April 7). How to cite ChatGPT. Https://Apastyle.Apa.Org. https://apastyle.apa.org/blog/how-to-cite-chatgpt
Syllabus Resources. (n.d.). Google Docs. Retrieved July 31, 2023, from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O1_uUvF8OYbleru5QyjjuNP_On7h5vaVQC2GaSQ315U/edit?usp=sharing
You've completed all the modules
We hope that you found these modules useful and engaging, and are better able to address AI chatbots in your teaching practice. Please continue to engage by joining or starting dialogues about AI within your communities. You might also take advantage of our peers across campus who are developing resources on this topic.
- Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence
- Accelerator for Learning
- Office of Innovation and Technology, Graduate School of Education
- Classroom-Ready Resources About AI For Teaching (CRAFT), Graduate School of Education.
We are continuing to develop more resources and learning experiences for the Teaching Commons on this and other topics. We'd love to get your feedback and are looking for collaborators. We invite you to join the Teaching Commons team.
Learning together with others can deepen the learning experience. We encourage you to organize your colleagues to complete these modules together. Consider how you might adapt, remix, or enhance these modules for your own needs. If you have any questions, contact us at TeachingCommons@stanford.edu. This guide was created by Stanford Teaching Commons and is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 (attribution, non-commercial, share-alike).