Generative Artificial Intelligence Syllabus Language

Clearly outline if and how students can use AI tools.

This content is subject to change and further examples might be added.  

The use of generative AI tools at UBC is a course or program-level decision. It is important for instructors to set clear expectations around the use of these tools as with any other tool or mode of working (group work, etc.), reinforce this messaging through the term, and discuss the privacy implications of using any tool.  Students may be navigating differing levels of artificial intelligence permissions in multiple courses so communicating expectations in a clear and straightforward manner is important. For academic integrity awareness more broadly, the syllabus is an important place for instructors to clarify expectations around academic integrity and what tools are allowed in their courses. UBC has sample language on academic integrity that could be used as a preamble before layering on specific course decisions, allowances or restrictions around tools (including generative AI tools).  
Instructors should consider including in the syllabus the decision to restrict or allow AI tools, any details or conditions of use, as well as a rationale for students to understand how their use aligns or does not align with course learning objectives. The following examples provide illustrative language that can be adapted based on specific needs and particular contexts. Departments and Faculties might develop their own language. If you are unclear about particular course or program guidelines, or have questions about expectations for courses with multiple sections, contact your Department Head. For the Vancouver campus, Senate Policy V-130 is the source for required elements in a syllabus. This page does not provide recommended language but rather examples of ways that an instructor might approach communicating if and how a student might use generative AI tools on their course syllabus. 

If students are not sure about whether artificial intelligence tools are allowed, as with any tool, they must ask their instructor for clarity and guidance.  If the use of generative AI tools is not specified in the syllabus or assignment instructions, students should assume that using these tools is prohibited and likely to be considered as academic misconduct.  
If instructors choose to integrate ChatGPT into course activities, they should consider the privacy implications of doing so. Using ChatGPT requires a login that asks for personal information (including a phone number), and it is important to offer students an alternative option if they do not wish to provide this information to engage with the tool themselves.  

Generative AI tools are not permitted

If using ChatGPT and/or generative AI (GenAI) tools in the course is prohibited by the instructor, syllabus language should clearly state this. As AI tools may become embedded into other systems (Microsoft products, Google Docs), clarifying which functionalities are permitted or prohibited in courses or assignments becomes increasingly important. Instructors may also wish to include why they have decided to prohibit the use of the tools in their courses so that students understand their rationale in the context of the course.
Examples of syllabus language prohibiting the use of AI tools:  

  • The use of generative AI tools, including ChatGPT and other similar tools, to complete or support the completion of any form of assignment or assessment in this course is not allowed and would be considered academic misconduct.  
  • The use of generative artificial intelligence tools is strictly prohibited in all course assignments unless explicitly stated otherwise by the instructor in this course. This includes ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools and programs. 
  • Use of generative artificial intelligence tools to complete coursework in this course is prohibited in all cases. Use of these tools is considered an unauthorized means to complete an examination or other assignment or assessment and would be considered academic misconduct. 

Generative AI tools are permitted

If using ChatGPT and/or generative AI tools on coursework is allowed, syllabus language should explicitly state this permission as well as any limitations of use and expectations for acknowledgement. Instructors should clarify how students can engage with these technologies, how the use of AI tools can support learning, and how students should stay within those bounds of permitted use. If the use of generative AI tools is outside of what is allowed and outlined on the syllabus this might be considered academic misconduct. Instructors should also clarify how the use of AI tools should be disclosed, and consider outlining why they have decided to allow it. For guidelines on how to cite generative AI, see the Generative AI Tools FAQ.

Examples of syllabus language allowing the use of AI tools:

  • Students are permitted to use artificial intelligence tools, including generative AI, to gather information, review concepts or to help produce assignments. However, students are ultimately accountable for the work they submit, and any content generated or supported by an artificial intelligence tool must be cited appropriately. Use of AI tools is not permitted during midterm exams and final exams in this course.  
  • Students may use the following specific AI tools in completing their assignments for this course  [list tools]. No other generative AI tools or technologies are permitted for assessed work. If students are unclear about the use of AI tools or applications for coursework, please speak with the instructor.   
  • Students are permitted to use AI tools for formative work such as gathering information or brainstorming but may not use it on any assessed work or final submission.   

Refer to the Academic Calendar for what constitutes academic misconduct by UBC students in the regulation (Vancouver and Okanagan), 

For further resources and examples for syllabus language see the CTLT’s resource on Communicating with Students about Generative AI.  

 If you have feedback or would like to suggest further examples of syllabus language please contact us.

Acknowledgement: Information contained in this section was inspired by the University of Toronto’s resource “ChatGPT and Generative AI in the Classroom: Sample Syllabus Statements”.  

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