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Generative AI in learning, teaching and assessment at the OU

" "Generative AI tools (such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL.E2, Stable Diffusion, Google’s Bard and Generative AI assisted search engines) are systems that have been trained on massive data sets and use algorithms to quickly respond to user prompts, by answering questions, summarising text, or producing images in a variety of formats, tones, and styles.

The use of Generative AI in higher education is evolving rapidly and it is important we provide you with guidance on the use of Generative AI in the context of Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) while we consider the medium and long-term impact of the technology.

We are currently working on detailed guidance for students and staff, but in the meantime, here is some interim guidance on how to use Generative AI appropriately. This guidance takes cognisance of the UK Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency’s Generative AI guidance and was drafted with input from OU academics, professional services colleagues, and students.

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Guidance for Students

Generative AI offers exciting opportunities to develop your academic, employability and life skills, and we want to support you to use this technology ethically. It is crucial to understand that a student who submits work as their own that has not been produced by themselves, whether human or technology generated, is in breach of The Open University’s existing plagiarism policy, which is described in the Academic Conduct Policy or, for postgraduate research students, the PGR Plagiarism and Research Misconduct Policy.

Here is some interim guidance for students when using Generative AI

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Guidance for Staff

We encourage staff to take an open and embracing approach to Generative AI in LTA. As an institution, we acknowledge the threat to assessment, such as academic misconduct, and the challenges such as inbuilt bias and fictitious answers. Equally, we acknowledge the opportunity for staff development that can help staff to make the best use of Generative AI tools to continue innovating and delivering high quality LTA.

Here is some interim guidance for staff when using Generative AI

What’s next?

As an institution, we aim to be open and reflective, embracing technology while being aware of the risks. We have therefore established a ‘Generative AI in learning, teaching and assessment’ task and finish group with representation across faculties, academic services, and data services to set the OU’s strategic direction. This group is also developing detailed guidance for students and staff, which will be shared as soon as possible.