A.I. Writing Tools & Effective Learning

You may have heard by now about increasingly popular publicly-available artificial intelligence (A.I.) tools that produce writing when given human input/prompts. There have been many concerns raised by teachers across grade levels and institutions about the prospect of students using such technologies to cheat by having an A.I. write their essays or other writing assignments for them. We will doubtless have ongoing conversations in this course about the role of A.I. writing in our own processes, and even the ways that A.I. can be helpful to us as writers. However, a word of caution: any attempt to pass off A.I. writing as your own in this class would be unwise, for the following reasons:

  • As with any other kind of cheating, the main person you’re cheating is yourself – if you don’t actually put in the work of developing your writing skills organically, you’ve just paid a bunch of money to learn nothing, and that lack of organic skill development will catch up with you eventually.
  • In a word, A.I. writing is not consistently good, and it’s risky to use. A.I. writing software – in its best current iteration – produces writing that is mostly formulaic and generic, lacks the ability to meaningfully integrate critical contextual detail, and cannot properly cite / synthesize sources (in fact, it often fabricates them, which is a major academic integrity violation if caught).
  • It is simply much easier to write your own work in this class. A.I. writing tools are notoriously context-blind, and in a class where written work draws on localized concepts and points of discussion from our class (including written reflections on your own personal writing process), you’re likely going to get frustrated if you try to ask an A.I. to perform these tasks for you. I’ve tested the writing prompts & assignments I’ve developed this semester with some of the best A.I. writing tools out there, and none of them can consistently produce writing that meets the standard required for this course.
  • As a human reader and your teacher, I don’t care what you can get an A.I. program to write. I want to hear your unique voice and help you develop it into something you can use and be proud of throughout your life, in a wide array of contexts. So please be genuine in your writing for this class – I promise that will make things far more enjoyable for all of us.