We are reaching out to share information as we prepare for Fall 2023 and the new academic year. With the ongoing transition to Microsoft Teams and the growing availability of generative artificial intelligence, we want to make sure you have the resources you need.
Synchronous online classes
For Fall 2023, you have the option to use Microsoft Teams for synchronous online class meetings. This option will be integrated with Canvas, meaning that Teams meetings can be scheduled and created from your course Canvas page.
Display names/pronouns in Teams
ITS conducted a pilot study of Teams during the Spring 2023 semester, supporting fourteen faculty members from ten departments across campus. This group used Teams for teaching extensively, identifying benefits as well as challenges. Most of the challenges have been resolved through technical fixes, but one will remain in the short term. Currently, display names and pronouns cannot be modified in Teams video. We recognize the significance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in our campus community and ITS is working with Microsoft to address this issue as quickly as possible.
Teams training online
Other difficulties can be mitigated by gaining more knowledge and experience about Teams through training. The curated LinkedIn Learning course entitled “Teaching with Teams at UNCG,” provides a detailed introduction to Team teaching. At that same link you will find information on how to activate and use Teams in Canvas.
Zoom availability through Fall 2023
Instructors will also have the option to use Zoom for synchronous teaching for the fall semester, but please be aware that Teams will be the online instructional platform beginning Spring 2024. Resources about teaching with Zoom can be found here. We hope that by offering both options for Fall, along with online training, you will feel confident moving forward with Teams in Spring 2024. If you have any questions about this transition, please see the FAQ and training materials or contact 6TECH@uncg.edu or 336-256-8324.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Large Language Model (LLM) technologies
AI and LLM text generation are technologies that demand our close attention because they generate texts that can be convincingly human-like. UNESCO’s Quick Start Guide to ChatGPT and AI provides a good overview and practical steps to consider. Students’ use of these technologies is appropriate in some teaching and learning contexts, though many faculty have expressed concern about students’ use of AI/LLM in ways that makes their learning and written communication difficult or impossible to assess. For faculty members in this latter situation, we offer the following recommendations as a place to start:
- Invest some time prompting a chatbot or LLM to generate responses. This is an effective way to get a feel for what AI-produced texts are like, as well as their strengths and limitations. ChatGPT is a widely used chatbot. Several LLMs can be accessed at TechSynth Playground.
- While AI-detection software exists, we encourage you to redesign assignments in ways that limit generative AI’s usefulness. The narrower and more specific the prompt, the less helpful generative AI will be. Additionally, requiring the use of resources specific to your class may be helpful. There are also some excellent resources provided by colleagues across the nation. This article from Inside Higher Ed, for instance, offers concrete suggestions on ChatGPT from faculty members in several disciplines.
- Given AI is clearly here to stay, you might also consider incorporating generative AI into assignments, where appropriate, to prepare students on how to use these technologies ethically and effectively.
- Remind your students about UNCG’s Academic Integrity Policy and include AI-specific language in your syllabus. For instance, a strong syllabus policy might read: “The use of AI to generate any part of your assignments for this course constitutes a violation of the University’s policy on plagiarism, because it represents thoughts or ideas of another as your own.”
During NAV1GATE New Student Convocation on August 14, the orientation team will ask students to log into Canvas, look through their courses, and review their syllabi in a session designed to help them learn how to use Canvas. Having your course content and syllabi active before this date will give students time to review course information and understand what will be asked of them in the first week of classes. If you are likely to have first-year students in your fall courses, please activate your Canvas pages and upload final syllabi by Sunday, August 13.
Course Syllabi & COVID
Finally, there is no required COVID-19 syllabus language for the fall term. The University Teaching and Learning Commons maintains a page with sample syllabus and set of syllabus statements that you may consider as you finalize your course materials.
If there is anything we can do to help you with the start of the fall semester, please reach out.
Debbie Storrs, Provost (email@example.com)
Joyce Clapp, Provost Fellow for Faculty Development (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Amy Vetter, Provost Fellow for Faculty Development (email@example.com)