High-Impact Practices

What are High Impact Practices?

High Impact Practices (HIP) are experiences that engage students with real-world problems, allow students to interact with their instructors, fellow students and community members, encourage students to explore new interests and develop new passions, and provide students with opportunities to challenge themselves and achieve things they may not have thought possible.

Some examples of High Impact Practices include:

  • First year seminars
  • Common intellectual experiences
  • Learning communities
  • Writing-intensive courses
  • Collaborative assignments and projects
  • Undergraduate research, scholars and creative activities
  • Diversity/global learning
  • Service learning/community-based learning
  • Internships
  • Capstone courses

Why do HIPs make a difference?

Key characteristics of HIPs is that they are effortful and help students build substantive relationships. They engage students across disciplines while providing them with rich feedback. They also help students apply and test what they are learning in new situations, and provide opportunities to reflect on the people they are becoming.

High Impact Practices such as those listed above have numerous positive impacts on students and on the institution, such as increased student persistence and GPA, higher rates of student-faculty interaction, increased critical thinking and writing skills, greater appreciation for diversity, and higher student engagement overall.

In short, deep approaches to learning, such as High Impact Practices, help students make richer more lasting connections to material through an emphasis on integration, synthesis and reflection.

How Will Generative AI Change My Course (GenAI Checklist)?

With the growing prevalence of generative AI applications like ChatGPT and the ongoing discussions surrounding their integration in higher education, it can be overwhelming to contemplate their impact on your courses, learning materials, and field. As we navigate these new technologies, it is crucial to reflect on how generative AI can either hinder or enhance your teaching methods. To support instructors in this endeavor, CATL created a video presentation and checklist designed to help you assess the extent to which generative AI will affect your courses and provide guidance on next steps for moving forward.

How Will ChatGPT Change My Course – CATL Presentation Slides (PDF)

Checklist for Assessing the Impact of Generative AI (ChatGPT, etc.) on your Course

View the Checklist for Assessing the Impact of Generative AI as a PDF.

Step One: Experiment with Generative AI

  • Experiment with ChatGPT or a similar application by inputting your own assignment prompts and assessing its performance in completing your assignments. Consider using a de-identified email account when doing so.
  • Research the potential benefits, use cases, limitations, and privacy concerns regarding generative AI to gain a sense of the potential applications and misuses of this technology.

Step Two: Review Your Learning Outcomes

  • Reflect on your course learning outcomes. Which outcomes lend themselves well to the use of generative AI and which skills go beyond the current limitations of AI? Keep this in mind as you move on to steps three and four, as the way students demonstrate achieved learning outcomes may need to be adjusted in course assignments/activities.

Step Three: Assess the Extent of AI Use in Class

  • Assess to what extent your course or discipline will be influenced by AI advancements. Are experts in your discipline already collaborating with tools like ChatGPT? Will current or future careers in your field work closely with these technologies?
  • Determine the extent of usage appropriate for your course. Will you allow students to use it all the time or not at all? If students can use it, is it appropriate for only certain assignments/activities with guidance and permission from the instructor? Be specific and clear with students and teach them how to cite ChatGPT.
  • Revisit your learning outcomes (step two). After assessing the impact of advancements in generative AI on your discipline and determining how the technology will be used (or not used) in your course, return to your learning outcomes and reassess if they align with course changes/additions you may have identified in this step.

Step Four: Review Your Assignments/Assessments

  • Review your assignments and evaluate whether revisions are needed to make them more resistant to generative AI or to incorporate generative AI collaboration. Which assignments are vulnerable to applications like ChatGPT and which ones can stay as is?
  • Provide an alternative for students who choose to opt-out of working with generative AI due to legitimate concerns regarding privacy and accessibility. This only applies if you choose to incorporate generative AI into an assignment.
  • View this CATL blog post on strategies for creating “generative AI-resistant” assessments for recommendations that focus on avoiding generative AI usage and view this resource on what aspects ChatGPT struggles to do.

Step Five: Update Your Syllabus

  • Add a syllabus statement outlining the guidelines you’ve determined pertaining to generative AI in your course. You can refer to our syllabus snippets for examples of ChatGPT-related syllabi statements.
  • Include your revised or new learning outcomes in your syllabus.

Step Six: Prepare to Address Misuse

  • Develop a plan for potential instances of suspected misuse. Your syllabus will be a valuable resource to communicate those expectations and boundaries to students.
  • Address and discuss your guidelines and expectations for generative AI usage with students on day one of class.

Step Seven: Seek Support and Resources

  • Engage with your colleagues to exchange experiences and best practices for incorporating or navigating generative AI.
  • Stay informed about advancements and applications of generative AI technology.

Need Help?

CATL is available to offer assistance and support at every step of the checklist presented above. Contact CATL for a consultation or by email at CATL@uwgb.edu if you have questions, concerns, or perhaps are apprehensive to go through this checklist.

Strategies for Creating “Generative AI-Resistant” Assessments

The use of generative-AI tools in education has recently garnered significant attention, placing educators in a unique position to consider their roles in higher education and how students engage with such tools. In a previous blog post, we introduced AI technologies and their endless capabilities, as well as potential implications for higher education. Additionally, we provided advice on considerations, precautions, and ethical concerns for using generative-AI in the classroom.

While some educators are excited about integrating AI collaboration into their teaching practices, others are apprehensive about its potential misuse by students. To address these concerns, this blog post presents assignment strategies that can be more “generative AI-resistant.” There are no “AI-proof” assessments, but these suggestions should serve as starting points for creating authentic assignments and/or ones that require demonstration of original and critical thinking.

Assessment Strategies

Be specific and personal

Consider creating assessments that involve tasks ChatGPT struggles to do such as referring to personal anecdotes or student reflections, referencing current events and recent field developments, or administering interviews or making references to specific course materials. Asking students to connect specific details from course materials (readings, lectures, experiments, etc.) to their personal lives or career paths can also help students see relevance in their course activities and engage with them on a deeper level.

Go beyond research papers

Instead of asking students to create a research paper that ChatGPT could do for them, ask students to create an annotated reference list that demonstrates their ability to apply proper research methods and analysis of resources collected. Alternatively, consider asking students to write a paper analyzing a case study that you’ve created yourself.

Mix up the medium

Incorporate assignments that make use of multimedia content such as creating, writing, recording, and producing a podcast episode relevant to course content and ideas.

Flip your classroom

Consider using in-class time for activities like classroom debates and/or peer-to-peer feedback on projects. Grade those efforts that are happening in real-time and under your observation (without generative AI). Note that a flipped classroom approach also allows students to practice higher order thinking and application of the content they’ve learned through homework.

Look at grading

Consider reviewing your course grading criteria and use growth-oriented rubrics that prioritize process over product.

Ask students to show their process

Consider adding assignment elements that ask students to think about the process of their work. This could be done by requiring students to submit notes they took on sources to prepare for their papers or presentations. You could also ask students to show their work in progress as they move toward a final draft (e.g., require submission of a project outline or proposal, annotated bibliography, and multiple drafts).

Allow for growth and resubmission

Consider adding in some flexibility when students fall short of an objective by allowing for revisions or resubmissions on certain assignments. This can reduce the “high stakes” nature of assessments and associated pressures.

Make adjustments to current assessments

Review your existing assignments to see if there are areas where you can have students demonstrate their holistic growth and development. For exams, you could add supplemental reflection questions or even consider adopting oral exams.

A Note on Academic Honesty

It can be easy or tempting to spend a lot of effort trying to catch instances of academic dishonesty using tools like ChatGPT. Although there are detection tools available, such as Turnitin, the effectiveness of AI detection reports remains uncertain due to insufficient data. Please review our blog on Considerations for Using Generative AI Tools to learn more and remember how important it is to communicate explicitly with students about if, when, and how they may use AI in your class.

Learn More

Explore even more CATL resources related to AI in education:

If you have questions, concerns, or ideas specific to generative AI tools in education and the classroom, please email us at catl@uwgb.edu or set up a consultation!

Considerations for Using Generative AI Tools

Staying updated on the rapidly evolving generative-AI tools can be challenging, and educators may hold divergent (and strong!) views about them. In a previous article, we introduced generative-AI technologies, their capabilities, and implications for higher education. While some educators are enthusiastic about incorporating AI into their teaching methodologies, others may harbor doubts, apprehensions, or simply lack interest in exploring these tools. Regardless of one’s stance, understanding the disruptive impact of these technologies is crucial as we grapple with their ethical and pedagogical implications as educators.

In this article, we will explore some considerations for using generative-AI tools in the classroom, including preliminary precautions and ethical concerns. The more we understand these technologies, the better we can adapt to maximize their potential benefits while minimizing their negative impact.

Things to Consider When Using AI-Powered Tools in your Courses

Understand the inevitability of advancing AI technology.

AI, like many other recent technologies (e.g., personal computers or the internet), will continue to advance and not go away. In fact, they will progress and become better than previous models. This is not something we can “outrun.”

Encourage dialogue on the impact of AI in education

Consider discussing AI technology and its implications with your department, colleagues, and students. In what ways will generative-AI tools change the nature of learning outcomes and even careers in your discipline? How are other instructors responding? In what ways can instructors support each other as they each grapple with these questions?

Provide clear communication with your students on expectations

Whichever camp or situation you may fall into, it is always important to provide students with clear expectations for their use of AI in the classroom. Be specific in your syllabi and assignment descriptions about where and when you will allow or prohibit the use of these tools. You should also make sure whatever guidance you provide is also consistent with UWS Chapter 14 and the communications from our Provost Office. For example statements, view our Syllabus Snippets related to generative-AI

Use generative-AI tools with caution

Exercise caution when using generative-AI tools because the information provided by them may not always be accurate. AI creators, like OpenAI, are upfront about the fact that ChatGPT’s answers aren’t always correct. Due to their ability to hallucinate facts and resources, it’s best to avoid using these tool as a primary source. Be sure to also watch out for potential bias that can appear in outputs by these tools as they are trained on human-generated data.

Offer alternatives for privacy-minded students

If you are asking students to complete an assignment using generative-AI technology, you will also want to provide an opt-out or alternative assignment because students may legitimately not want to provide personal information to sign-up and use certain AI technologies. Many tools openly state they will sell that information.

AI detection tools are not perfect

When using Turnitin’s AI writing detection indicator, it is important to note that there is currently insufficient data to validate its effectiveness. Therefore, results from such reports should be treated as signals that additional review may be necessary. If you suspect academic misconduct, be prepared to support the claim with additional information beyond the detection tool’s report.

Consider ethical and legal issues when using AI tools

As instructors, it is also important to consider the potential ethical, legal, and security risks of AI technologies. Many generative-AI tools are “trained” on the data we put into them, so we must exercise caution when providing prompts to the tools. For example, never put students’ personal information into an AI-powered tool, as this may violate FERPA. Asking students to submit their work (or doing it yourself) to get feedback from ChatGPT or a similar resource puts their intellectual property into the public domain. This should not be done without their explicit consent.

Prepare students to use AI effectively

If you assign tasks that require students to use AI technology, it is important to provide clear instructions about how to do so and not assume students already know. Consider incorporating a discussion on the benefits, limitations, cautions, and ethics of using generative-AI. This could be a valuable in-class activity.

Don’t get caught up in the smoke

Although the capabilities of generative-AI can be scary or worrying at this point, it is best to not get bogged down in the negatives of AI or focus on how to detect cheating through AI use. Are you worried about what AI tools mean for your course materials? Schedule a consultation with us. CATL is here to help!

Learn More

Explore even more CATL resources related to AI in education:

If you have questions, concerns, or ideas specific to generative AI tools in education and the classroom, please email us at catl@uwgb.edu or set up a consultation!

10 Dos and Don’ts of Digital Accessibility

Accessibility involves designing materials so that as many people as possible can engage with them, regardless of users’ physical or cognitive abilities. Meeting baseline accessibility standards is key to inclusive course design, and the digital age has made it faster and easier than ever to create accessible materials. Small changes to a document, like using a clear font and appropriately-sized text, can significantly improve the user experience. To get you started, we have assembled a list of some critical “dos and don’ts” of digital accessibility, along with guides from Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Canvas for each category.

Contents

Text Styles

Screenshot of black text displayed on a white background that reads, ‘Your video submission must be in MP4 format.’ The words ‘MP4 format’ are emphasized in red text font and yellow highlight.

Don’t… ❌

Use underlining, highlighting, or text color alone to denote emphasis or create meaning.

Screenshot of black text on a white background that reads, Important: Your video submission must be in MP4 format. The words Important and MP4 format are emphasized in bold.

Do… ✅

Use bold or italic styling sparingly to emphasize words or short phrases within the body of a text. To call attention to an entire sentence or section, consider writing “Important” before the content.

Use underlining only for hyperlinks to assist people who are color blind in differentiating them from regular text. Similarly, avoid using text color and highlighting alone for emphasis as they may be challenging to distinguish. Some screen readers do not announce bold or italicized text, so refrain from using text styles alone to create meaning.

Headings & Document Structure

Image containing two screenshots. The first screenshot shows a document with the word ‘Purpose’ emphasized in blue and bolded text. Below ‘Purpose’ is plain black text that reads, ‘In this activity, you will learn about.’ The document ends with the word ‘Task’ also emphasized in blue and bolded text. The second screenshot displays the text style pane in Microsoft Word. It indicates that the text in the screenshot is formatted with the ‘Normal’ text style.

Don’t… ❌

Create headings by manually adjusting text sizes, styles, or colors.

Image containing two screenshots from Microsoft Word. The first screenshot shows a document with the word ‘Purpose’ using the built-in Heading 2 style option. Below ‘Purpose’ is plain black text that reads, ‘In this activity, you will learn about.’ The document ends with the word ‘Task’ also using the Heading 2 style option. The second screenshot, positioned below the first, displays the Heading style panel in Microsoft Word.

Do… ✅

Use built-in heading styles in Word and the Canvas Rich Content Editor to organize content hierarchy. In PowerPoint, make sure to use an accessible template, add a title to every slide, and double-check slide reading order.

The built-in heading styles in these applications add special HTML code that makes it easier for people who use assistive tools to navigate a document.

Screenshot of a hyperlink formatted as a raw web URL, shown in blue underlined text. Below the URL, there is another hyperlink formatted in blue underlined text that reads ‘Click Here’.

Don’t… ❌

Use messy URLs or hyperlinks that do not make sense without context.

Screenshot of a hyperlink formatted in blue underlined text that reads ‘Spring 2023 TEG Call’. Below the text, there is another hyperlink formatted in blue underlined text that reads ‘uwgb.edu/catl’.

Do… ✅

Create concise hyperlinks with text that identifies or describes the link in a self-contained way.

Providing meaningful links helps people understand what to expect when they click the link. It also makes it easier for users who rely on assistive technology to navigate between links.

Images

A screenshot showing an image of the Cofrin Library in the Canvas RCE (Rich Content Editor). A text box below the image displays the Canvas HTML editor view of the Cofrin Library image with no descriptive alt text. The image file name consisting of numbers is used as the alt text, and it is underlined in red to indicate that it is not a sufficient description.

Don’t… ❌

Use an image alone to provide information.

A screenshot of the Canvas RCE. On the left is an image of the Cofrin Library. To the right is the Image Options panel in the Canvas RCE, including a field for alt text. Below that is a screenshot of the Canvas HTML editor view. The alt text for the image is underlined in red and reads 'UW-Green Bay Cofrin Library Centered amongst snow surrounded by snow covered treetops.'

Do… ✅

Add alt text or captions to describe images that convey information in Word, PowerPoint, and Canvas. Mark other images as “decorative” so they are ignored by screen readers.

Providing alt text or a caption helps people with low or no vision understand images.

Audio & Video

Screenshot displaying text that reads ‘Video without CC and Transcript.’ Below the text is a video titled ‘The Kiss by Gustav Klimt: Great Art Explained.’ The video does not display an option to turn on closed captioning.

Don’t… ❌

Share audio or video without closed captioning or another text alternative.

Image containing two screenshots side by side. The first screenshot displays text that reads ‘Video with CC and transcript.’ Below the text is a video titled ‘The Kiss by Gustav Klimt: Great Art Explained’ with a red circle positioned over the closed captioning button on the video player. Below the video is a transcription box. The second screenshot on the right displays the Kaltura My Media options, with the ‘Captions & Enrich’ option highlighted in grey. This option allows users to edit the auto-generated captions in Kaltura My Media.

Do… ✅

Upload your recordings into Kaltura (My Media) for automatic captions or search for media that is captioned. For spoken audio that does not have a visual component, such as a podcast stream, provide a transcript instead.

Captions and transcripts allow people with limited or no hearing to engage with audio and video media, plus they benefit those with other access barriers. Users can also benefit from having a searchable transcript.

Lists

Screenshot of the Canvas Rich Content Editor (RCE) displaying an unformatted numbered list titled ‘List with No Formatting.’ The list contains the items ‘1. Red, 2. Blue, 3. Yellow’ without proper formatting. A gray box outlines the HTML editor view of the Canvas RCE, showing the use of heading 3 tags for the page title and paragraph tags for the list of colors.

Don’t… ❌

Manually type numbers or bullets to create lists.

Screenshot of the Canvas Rich Content Editor (RCE) displaying a properly formatted numbered list titled ‘List with Formatting.’ The list contains the items ‘1. Red, 2. Blue, 3. Yellow’ with proper formatting. An inset screenshot shows the HTML editor view of the Canvas RCE, including the tags which give the list proper formatting. Another inset screenshot displays the list formatting options available in the 'more' menu of the RCE toolbar, which is circled in red.

Do… ✅

Use the bullet and numbering buttons in the toolbars of Word, PowerPoint, and the Canvas Rich Content Editor.

The built-in list formatting options in these applications add special HTML code that makes it easier for people who use assistive technologies to navigate a document.

Tables

An image containing three screenshots. The first screenshot shows a table in the Canvas RCE. The text above the table reads ‘Table without a Header Row/Column and Caption.’ The table contains syllabus assignments with weeks labeled 1-2 in the right columns, and weekdays Monday and Wednesday in the first row of the table. The second screenshot displays a table in the Canvas RCE. The text above the table reads ‘Table Used for Formatting Non-Tabular Content.’ It seems that this table is intended for formatting purposes and not for displaying tabular data. The third screenshot, positioned below the first two, presents the HTML editor view of the Canvas RCE. The code illustrates a table that lacks a caption and header row/column.

Don’t… ❌

Subdivide and merge cells, omit captions and row/column headers, or use tables as a “hack” for formatting content.

A screenshot depicting a properly formatted table in the Canvas RCE. The table is captioned ‘Weekly Course Schedule,’ with the header row displaying the weekdays Monday and Wednesday, while the header column includes weeks 1-3. A text box below the image displays the HTML editor view of the Canvas RCE. The words 'caption' and 'col' are underlined in the editor, indicating how a table with a caption and header columns are coded.

Do… ✅

Use tables to present data in rows and columns with a logical layout. Use the built-in tools in Word and the accessibility checker in the Canvas Rich Content Editor to include a caption and set a header row and/or header column for data tables. Avoid using tables in PowerPoint if possible, but if you do, follow these guidelines.

Adding a caption and setting a header row/column with the built-in formatting options adds special HTML code that helps users who rely on assistive technology understand and navigate the table. Screen readers may struggle to interpret the layout and hierarchy of the information presented when tables are used to format content other than data. Subdivided and merged cells also pose challenges for users that navigate with a keyboard or rely on screen readers.

Charts & Graphs

Screenshot of a pie graph titled Sales created in Microsoft Word. The pie graph consists of four slices of different colors, with blue being the largest, followed by orange, gray, and yellow. The legend positioned below the pie graph indicates the blue represents the 1st quarter, orange represents the 2nd quarter, gray represents the 3rd quarter, and yellow represents the 4th quarter.

Don’t… ❌

Use color alone to create meaning in charts and graphs.

An image containing two screenshots. The first displays a pie chart titled 'Sales' created in Microsoft Word. The Chart Elements settings are displayed with the boxes for title, data labels, and legend all checked. The second screenshot, positioned on the right, displays the Format Data Labels panel, which presents additional label options. A text box below reads 'Labeling chart and graph element settings in MS Word.'

Do… ✅

Directly label elements in charts and graphs and/or use shapes or patterns to differentiate elements.

People who are color blind or who have low vision may have trouble differentiating colors.

Scanned Documents

Screenshot of a scanned image of a book page in Adobe Acrobat. A solid blue box overlays a paragraph of text in the image, indicating that each word in the book is not scannable. Below the image, there is a text box that reads “Scanned image without a searchable text.”

Don’t… ❌

Use photos or scans of text without checking for accessibility.

Screenshot of a scanned image of a book page in Adobe Acrobat. Blue highlight overlays a paragraph showing each word is scannable. Below the image, there is a text box that reads 'PDF with searchable text done through the Scan & OCR function in Adobe Acrobat.'

Do… ✅

Find an alternative accessible resource or use the optical character recognition (OCR) tools in Adobe Acrobat to turn a scan into an accessible PDF with selectable text and a logical reading order.

Digital scans of physical texts are encoded like images and are not readable by most screen readers. OCR converts a scanned document into a format that allows people who use assistive technologies to engage with the text, plus it benefits all users by making the document searchable.

Accessibility Checkers

Screenshot of the Canvas RCE displaying some sample headings and text, including text that is light gray and very difficult to read. Under the RCE box, there is a red circle around the accessibility checker indicator, which notifies the editor that there are three accessibility issues within the page.

Don’t… ❌

Ignore the accessibility checker tools in Word, PowerPoint, and Canvas.

Screenshot of the Canvas RCE with the Accessibility Checker panel on the right-hand side. The panel highlights three accessibility issues and provides recommendations for how to fix them. The first issue identified in the panel is the insufficient color contrast ratio for light gray text against a white background.

Do… ✅

Use the accessibility checker tools in Word, PowerPoint, and Canvas to scan for and repair common issues – including many of the issues described in this resource – before exporting, publishing, or sharing materials. For Canvas, you can also use the UDOIT accessibility checker to scan your whole course.

Using built-in accessibility checker tools can help ensure that your course materials meet accessibility standards.

Resources by Application

For accessibility resources specific to Word, PowerPoint, and Canvas, respectively, please see the guides and tip sheets below:

Need Help?

This resource is meant to be a starting point for best practices in digital accessibility, but if you have questions beyond the scope of this guide, we welcome you to reach out to CATL! Send us an email at CATL@uwgb.edu or fill out our consultation request form to discuss digital accessibility in your own courses.