Generative Artificial Intelligence: Updates and Articles for Instructors

Welcome to our GAI resource-sharing blog page! Here you’ll find some of the latest updates and articles on generative AI, curated especially for faculty and instructional staff. While there are numerous resources available out there, CATL will share a select, timely sample of articles and perspectives to help instructors stay informed about new changes in AI technology and education.

For more in-depth, instructor-focused articles on generative AI by CATL, explore our AI Toolbox Articles.

Table of Contents

Generative AI Tools Directory

Stay updated on the different AI tools being created and discover what your peers or fields might be using!

(Resources in this section are updated biannually)

May 2023 – June 2024

  • Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning, May 2023. This report by the Office of Educational Technology provides insights on how AI can be integrated into education practices, and recommended responses for educators.
  • The AI Index Report: Measuring trends in AI, April 2024. Created by the Institute for Human-Centered AI at Stanford University, this report provides an analysis of AI trends and metrics, including important insights into the current state and future direction of AI for educators grappling with the rapidly evolving technology and what it means for their teaching practices.
  • AI in 2024: Major Developments & Innovations, Jan. 3, 2024. This article provides a timeline of AI developments during 2023 and newest updates in 2024.
  • 2024 AI Business Predictions, 2024. This report by PwC describes how businesses are preparing for and incorporating AI, with predictions on future trends and AI strategies in the corporate world.

Monthly Resources for Educators

(Resources in this section are updated for each month)

June 2024

Tips for Teachers

  • If you haven’t signed into Copilot with your UWGB account, now is the time! Microsoft Copilot, accessible through any browser and soon integrated into Windows 11, avoids using your personal email, which makes it a better alternative for classes. It doesn’t require providing, for example, a personal cellphone number for use, and it is available to all UWGB faculty, staff, and students with an institutional login and ID. Copilot also offers enhanced data protection when logged in using your UWGB account, although FERPA-protected and personally identifiable information should still not be entered. Watch this short video on how to log in. Remember, use any AI tool responsibly and always vet outputs for accuracy.

Latest Educational Updates

  • AI Detectors Don’t Work. Here’s What to Do Instead, 2024. MIT’s Teaching & Learning Technologies Center critiques AI detection software and suggests better alternatives. The article advocates for clear guidelines, open dialogue, creative assignment design, and equitable assessment practices to effectively engage students and maintain academic standards.

May 2024

Tip for Teachers

  • Subscribe to the “One Useful Thing” blog by Ethan Mollick, an Associate Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Co-Director of the Generative AI Lab at Wharton.

Latest Educational Updates

Latest AI Tech Advancements

Canvas Discussions Redesign Arrives May 13, 2024 

In Summer 2024, Canvas will officially roll out its “Discussions Redesign,” which will bring a visual refresh to Canvas Discussions while adding some new features. UW-Green Bay will be turning on the redesign between the Spring and Summer terms on Monday, May 13, 2024. On this date, all discussions will automatically upgrade to the redesign with no action needed from instructors. Read this post to learn about the new features coming to Discussions and where to look for familiar buttons that have changed locations within the Discussions Redesign.

New Features

The Discussions Redesign adds the following new ways for students and instructors to interact and to view discussion activity:

Anonymous Discussions

Screenshot of the Anonymous Discussion settings seen while creating or editing a Canvas discussion

With the Discussions Redesign, the options shown when creating a new discussion in a Canvas course remain largely unchanged except for the addition of a setting that allows instructors to enable full or partial anonymity while setting up an ungraded discussion. With “full” anonymity, all student replies will appear anonymously without the student’s name and profile picture. With “partial” anonymity, students can choose whether to reveal their name and profile picture while making a reply. Anonymity only applies to students; instructor posts and replies are always shown with names and profile pictures. If you allow students to create their own discussion topics, a new setting in the discussion options for your course allows you to choose whether students can create anonymous discussions.

@ Mentions

Screenshot of two discussion replies with @ mentions. The mentions each include a student's name and are highlighted in purple.

With the Discussions Redesign, discussion participants can mention an instructor or student in their replies by typing “@” and the beginning of a person’s name and then selecting the full name from a list of matches from the class roster that appears. Mentioned names are highlighted in the post and will trigger a notification for the mentioned person if they have the “New Mention” notification type enabled in their Canvas Notifications settings. Students and instructors can use this feature to more clearly identify who they are responding to in a discussion thread and get their attention.

Quote Reply

Screenshot of the Quote Reply option on a reply. The options menu icon and Quote Reply option are highlighted.

The Discussions Redesign has a new “Quote Reply” action which lets you include the contents of the post you are replying to within your reply. Using this feature will help add clarity to long discussion threads when replying to a post that is higher up in the thread. You can find the Quote Reply option within the options menu (the three vertical dots icon) of any discussion reply.

Multiple Viewing Options for Discussion Threads

A Canvas discussion reply. The link that can be selected to reveal threaded replies is highlighted and reads, "9 Replies, 2 Unread"

The Discussions Redesign offers a more condensed initial view where only the top-level replies to the topic are visible after opening a discussion. If a reply to the main topic has threaded replies (i.e., replies to the reply) “underneath” it, they are initially hidden, and the post will have a link under its contents which reports the number of threaded replies that are “underneath” that post. You can select that link to reveal the threaded replies in either an “Inline View,” which shows all replies underneath one another with varying indentation (like the older discussions design does), or a “Split View,” which shows threaded replies in a side panel that flies in from the right side of the screen.

A screenshot of the search bar and buttons found at the top of a Canvas discussion. The "View Split Screen" and "Expand Threads" buttons are highlighted.

You can switch between using the Inline and Split view modes with the View Inline / View Split Screen button at the top of the discussion page. When using Inline View, you can select the Expand Threads button at the top of the discussion to quickly reveal all threaded replies at once.

Edit History

A screenshot of a Canvas discussion reply that has been edited. The reply's "View History" link is highlighted.

If a student edits a reply after posting it, Canvas will now keep each version of that reply in an “edit history” that is available to instructors. Instructors will see a “view history” link on any reply that a student edited after posting and can select it to view that reply’s previous versions. Students can only view the edit history of their own replies.

Coming Soon: Discussion Checkpoints!

Canvas will soon (finally) be adding the oft-requested feature for supporting multiple due dates in a discussion. This feature may not yet be available when we enable the Discussions Redesign in May, but Canvas plans to add it during Summer 2024. With this feature, instructors will be able to easily set separate due dates for initial posts and for replies to peers’ posts within the same discussion, which will help automate reminders for students by adding calendar and to-do list items for each “checkpoint.” Watch for more information on this feature as it gets closer to release!

New Locations for Important Buttons

Don’t get lost within the Discussions Redesign by taking note of the following new locations for some often-used buttons:

Edit Button

A screenshot of the options menu for a Canvas discussion topic as seen by an instructor. The "options" icon and "Edit" menu item are highlighted.

The Edit button is moving from its prominent position at the top of the discussion page to being tucked within the options (three dots) menu found in the top-right corner of the discussion topic. Look for the Edit link in that options menu whenever you want to adjust an existing discussion’s settings.

Group Discussion Navigation

A screenshot of a Canvas group discussion with the groups icon highlighted in the top-left corner.

Group discussions will no longer show a blue box at the top of the page with the links for accessing each individual discussion. Instead, a group discussion will have a button with the “groups” icon in the top-left corner which you can select to switch between the discussions of each group.

Publishing and Subscribing

Two screenshots of the publish and subscribe icons of a discussion topic. The first screenshot shows the unpublished and unsubscribed icon states; the second screenshot shows the published and subscribed icon states.

The buttons for publishing a discussion and subscribing to it (for notifications) have shrunk into smaller icons that can be found next to the options (three dots) menu in the top-right corner of the discussion topic. You can select these smaller publish and subscribe icons to publish or unpublish a discussion and subscribe or unsubscribe to a discussion.

Ready, Set, Discuss!

Knowledge of these new features and interface changes is all you need for a smooth transition to using the Discussions Redesign in your courses. Your existing discussions will automatically upgrade on May 13 with all existing topics and replies retained. We hope that the fresh look and new features will facilitate more robust interactions within your courses! If you want to discuss ideas for using Canvas discussions in your course with a member of our team, we encourage you to request a CATL Consultation or reach out to us at catl@uwgb.edu.

Implementing Open Educational Resources (OER) into Your Course

This article is the third part in our series on OER. You can read more about Open Educational Resources and Affordable Educational Resources in part one and two alternative models for textbooks, Inclusive Access and Equitable Access, in part two.

I’m ready to adopt an Open Educational Resource (OER) – how do I find a text?

First, realize that OER don’t have to be a formal textbook, although often they are. OER can be pieces of textbooks that you use in conjunction with each other. They can be a Canvas course, a module, or a series of resources that meet your learning outcomes and the topics you need to ensure your students are meeting the learning outcomes. They could even be podcasts, films, and websites. This broadens the field of where to find OER. So where do you start?

  • Start with the librarians on your campus. Librarians are experts in locating materials and can make the search easier.
  • Use the libguide created by the library about materials you already have access to that can be used as part of an OER course.
  • Use one of the many repositories available online that offer the distinct types of resources mentioned above. College of the Canyons maintains an up-to-date OER/Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) Repository which is a good jumping-off point.

Can I create my own OER?

An option for integrating OER into your course is creating your own materials. Creating your own materials doesn’t necessarily mean writing a textbook. Open Educational Resources can be any of the items below or some combination thereof.

  1. Written textbook
  2. Videos
  3. Curated articles that are openly licensed
  4. Podcasts
  5. Curated textbook chapters taken from openly licensed books
  6. Media you create yourself

As you begin searching, you may decide you want help creating and licensing your materials. As mentioned earlier, the library is a great place to start. The library may be able to offer significant resources to help you create your OER, so be sure to reach out and see what support is available.

Ready to get started?

If you’re interested in getting started on creating low or no-cost resources for your class or just want to get some more information, you can reach out to Carli Reinecke, the OER Librarian to get started with your project.

Resources

Inclusive and Equitable Access Models for Course Materials: Comparisons with OER and AER

This article is the second part to our post about Open Educational Resources and Affordable Educational Resources.

It is important to acknowledge a few other contenders in the push to lower textbook costs for students: Equitable Access and Inclusive Access. Equitable access replaces the costs of textbooks with a fee added to students’ tuition at the beginning of a term that covers the cost of all course materials for that semester, no matter the discipline. Students have the option to opt out and can apply their financial aid. The cost is the same for every student, which creates some concerns when you consider the cost difference between a low-material-cost humanities course and a science course with books that may cost hundreds of dollars. There is an expected course savings with this, as deals have been negotiated between the publishers, the bookstore, and the university. This is a textbook system that is becoming more popular with universities.

Inclusive Access is more common, as it focuses on just one or a few courses instead of all the courses a student is taking. Like Equitable Access, it is a service provided by publishers and college bookstores, marketed as a tool to lower costs for students. Inclusive Access involves a plan to provide eBooks to students for an entire course section, course, or department, depending on the agreements entered into by the publisher and a bookstore. The selected text is provided to all students by the first day of class and is typically paid for as a registration fee instead of a separate textbook cost. This can provide significant savings to students who would be likely to buy a new copy of the textbook, but savings are debatable for those who would acquire their texts by other means. Students can normally opt out, but penalties could arise for departments that sign on and don’t end up with enough student participation.

Please note that there are certain concerns with both the EA and IA models. The cost savings suggested for both models are often based on the difference between students participating in the program or students buying full-price textbooks, which is the only option available to students. There have also been concerns about the issue of these programs being opt-out instead of opt-in for students. The Department of Education is presently reviewing whether financial aid will cover these programs if they are opt-out only.

Similarities and differences between OER, AER, IA, and EA

Conditions OER AER IA EA
Free to students yes possibly no no
Free to university yes possibly yes** yes
Low cost yes yes possibly possibly
Copyright applies no possibly yes yes
Reduces equity gaps yes yes possibly possibly
Open to share with others yes no no no
Able to be remixed yes no no no
Available on the first day of class yes yes yes no
Potential for hidden fees no no yes yes
Students can get a hard copy of the book possibly possibly possibly possibly
Students can get a digital copy of the book yes yes yes yes
Students get their books at the bookstore possibly possibly yes yes
Ability to make modifications to the materials yes no no no
Might include scholarly articles found in the library databases no yes no no
Who benefits from the use students students publishers publishers

** Free as long as certain conditions are met.

The table above presents in tabular format the distinctions between OER, AER, EA, and IA throughout this toolbox article. It highlights how materials can be shared, how costs are passed on, and who benefits from the specific textbook arrangement.

Resources

Intro to Open Educational Resources and Affordable Educational Resources

What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?

You will find multiple definitions of OER, but for our use, we will focus on the 2017 definition from UNESCO, Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.” While OER used to be difficult to find and were only available for the most common general education courses, more and more professors are creating the materials they would like for their classes and then offering those resources to other educators at no cost.

For materials to be considered Open Educational Resources, there is no cost to use the materials — either for the student, the faculty member, or the university involved. There is an alternative to this model, Affordable Educational Resources, which will be discussed below. Ideally, Open Educational Resources will have an open license. An open license has a 5Rs framework, as proposed by David Wiley. A completely open license allows the user to do all of the following:

  • Reuse: Share content as-is
  • Revise: Content can be adapted, revised, or modified
  • Remix: Content can be combined with other material to create new content
  • Redistribute: Share the original, revised, or remixed versions with others
  • Retain: the right to make, own, and control copies of the content

While open licenses are ideal, many faculty creators choose a Creative Commons license which offers some rights to those who choose to adopt the OER. Creative Commons licenses work alongside copyright, where it makes transparent to the user how they can use, modify, or distribute the work.

Why choose OER?

The most obvious reason for making the choice to switch to OER is the cost savings to students. As of Spring 2024, UWGB instructors have saved 1957 students $240,442. This represents 34 instructors who have participated in the formal OER program. In addition to this obvious benefit to students, the reasons instructors choose to use OER can be any or all of the following:

  • Increase equity
  • Allow for customization
  • Improve access to information
  • Avoid copyright issues
  • Increase representation and diversity in course resources
  • Meet changing learning outcomes

What’s the difference between OER and AER?

Open Educational Resources are explained in detail in the previous section. What we have not explored yet are Affordable Educational Resources (AER). Many of the textbooks our students are asked to purchase for their classes cost in the hundreds of dollars. Because of limited resources or lack of financial aid, students may attempt to take the course without purchasing the text or might not be able to get the text until weeks into the course. While affordable educational resources might have a cost associated, it is a much more manageable cost. AER means something different at every university. At UWGB, the cost is $50 or less for the total cost of resources purchased by the student for one class. There are other distinctions between OER and AER. This video explains them succinctly.

Want more information? Contact the UWGB OER librarian, Carli Reinecke.