Generative AI

Consider Teaching and Learning Issues with AI

Last updated on April 27, 2023

Here we delve into the pedagogical uses of generative AI, particularly ChatGPT, and provide general best practices for incorporating this technology into teaching and learning contexts. Rather than offering specific tools or resources, the article draws on learning theory to present broader guidelines and considerations for leveraging generative AI in education. It’s important to note that guidelines may change as the technology continues to rapidly evolve.

Prompting/General Use/Practice

Instructional Designers at MSU can, and do, use ChatGPT in a variety of ways. It can be used to write primers, code, and even find resources for courses. It can also help IDs understand complex topics which is helpful when checking courses for top-down alignment in instructional material, assignments, activities, and objectives. 

  • Primers: To introduce a topic, ChatGPT can help summarize an article or lecture to present different course material. 
  • HTML: ChatGPT can provide code to help create more personalized and engaging learning experiences. 
  • Resources:  ChatGPT can find similar material based on a topic, lecture, article, etc. to assist instructors who need help finding additional material in courses. 
  • Complex topics: ChatGPT can help explain complex topics by including  “explain like I’m 5” in prompts.
  • How do we prompt for best results
    • Think of AI such as ChatGPT as a conversation. By asking how best to prompt an answer and providing the parameters, such as voice, grade level, and boundaries if necessary, ChatGPT creates a response that meets your input. You can ask ChatGPT to expand on a response or make a response more concise and geared towards an audience of your specifications.
      • Some examples:
        • Utilize ChatGPT to consult professionals: “I will provide you with an opinion of mine and I want you to give me feedback as if you were <this> person.” For <this>, you could include any figure: Steve Jobs, Brene Brown, Warren Buffet, etc. 
        • Create your own personal assistant to write feedback for you: Analyze the above text <your text>, and create feedback or writing prompts in the same tone. 
    • Remember to review any responses for accuracy, redundancy and ensure that your voice has been added. 


Assessments are part of higher education and serve as a means to evaluate learner progress. ChatGPT can help create personalized assessments, exams, or quizzes for each learner based on individual needs. This can be useful in courses that focus on language skills or critical thinking. ChatGPT can create prompts tailored to each learner’s level of proficiency and allow them a venue to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in a more personalized approach. Instructors can use ChatGPT to create different versions of test questions in order to suit the needs of varying learner abilities. This can help create a broader exam test bank with questions that are not recycled from each semester.

(click below to reveal the example)

Try it Out!

To create assessment items that are specific to your learners, consider adding anything that relates to:

  • proficiency level
  • prior knowledge
  • knowledge areas that you want to assess. 

Make sure to include:

  • type of questions
  • answer requirements (word count, number of questions, time limit) 

You can also provide sample questions or content that can guide the creation of the personalized assessments, as well as request different versions of the same questions, such as multiple choice, multiple answer, short essay, fill-in-the-blank, test banks, etc., as well as specifying difficulty level and complexity, tailored for learners on multiple levels. 

Example steps and prompt:

Begin by giving ChatGPT context. Provide content that you will assess from, whether it be specifics from readings, discussions, assessments that you’ve used in the course. Next, you will prompt ChatGPT to create an assessment for you. You can try the following:

“Create personalized assessments for a language skills course focused on speaking and writing skills. The learners are intermediate-level English language learners with varying abilities. The assessment should include 20 questions with open-ended and multiple-choice formats. Provide questions that assess speaking and writing skills, with an emphasis on grammar, vocabulary, and coherence. Create three sets of questions: easy, medium, and difficult levels, tailored to the learners’ abilities.”


ChatGPT can also help create storyboards and narratives for literary text adventures in order to create a fun and engaging method of assessment. Through natural language interaction using a chat bot, learners are challenged to solve problems or answer questions through a simulation. This can help teach learners valued communication and problem-solving skills.

(click below to reveal the example)

Try it Out!

ChatGPT can be used to create a literary text adventure by generating the narrative and dialogue of the adventure. Here’s an example of how it can be done:

  1. Choose a theme or setting for the literary text adventure, such as a historical event or a fantasy world.
  2. Use ChatGPT to generate a storyline for the adventure, including characters, plot points, and challenges for the player to overcome.
  3. Use ChatGPT to generate dialogue for the characters in the adventure, including descriptions of their personalities and motivations.
  4. Use ChatGPT to generate descriptions of the environments the player will encounter, including sensory details and obstacles to overcome.
  5. Use a programming platform like Twine to organize the narrative, dialogue, and descriptions generated by ChatGPT into a cohesive text adventure.
  6. Test the text adventure and make adjustments to the narrative or dialogue as necessary to ensure a satisfying and engaging experience for the player.

Example steps and prompt: 

Generate a storyboard that can be used to create a literary text adventure based on the history of dominated cultures in the United States.

Learning Materials

Chatbots and ChatGPT can also support learning by providing resources to students such as books and websites that are tailored to learner needs and interests. If a learner does not understand something fully or would like additional resources on a topic, they can ask ChatGPT to provide them with these resources. When given the appropriate prompts, ChatGPT can assist students in understanding complex topics and can help learners understand lectures and instructional material in a different way. This could all help produce a more personalized and efficient learning experience.

Try it Out!

You can ask specific questions related to the topic you want to learn or request additional resources on the subject. For example, “Can you recommend any books or websites about [topic]?” or “I didn’t understand [concept], can you explain it to me?” The clearer and more specific the prompt, the more accurate and useful the AI’s response will be. It’s important to note that you can also provide feedback on the responses you receive. For example, “Thank you for providing me with feedback on [topic], while this covers the basics of that [topic], could you provide me with more advanced resources for me to explore as well.”

Example steps and prompt: 

  1. Explain how electrons and neutrons are used in Chemistry using layman’s terms.
  2. Explain the theory of evolution based on a first-year undergraduate biology course. Explain as if I’m in middle school.
  3. Point me to an instructional video that explains how to use logarithmic functions to generate probability.


ChatGPT can be used to grade essays and written assignments. This can help provide instructors with more time to focus on other high-order tasks such as providing feedback to learners. Instructors can create templates for common feedback and grading tasks to help ensure that feedback is consistent and specific to each learner. 

Not only can ChatGPT be used to grade assignments such as essays and other written assignments, it can also grade assignments and provide feedback in a more personalized approach. This can help instructors with grading and focusing on other demanding tasks. Feedback and support is an integral part of higher education. Oftentimes, similar feedback is given to learners on assignments. However, using ChatGPT can help provide personalized feedback to learners, which can free up time for instructors to focus on other responsibilities.

Try it Out!

Essay and written assignment grading

You can upload the essays or written assignments to ChatGPT and it can use natural language processing to analyze the content and provide an overall score. You can also set specific parameters for grading such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, coherence, and structure.

Multiple-choice and short answer grading

ChatGPT can also grade multiple-choice and short answer questions. You can upload a list of correct answers, and ChatGPT can compare the students’ answers to the correct answers and provide a score.

Feedback and suggestions

ChatGPT can provide feedback and suggestions to the students on their assignments. You can set specific criteria for grading, and ChatGPT can provide feedback based on those criteria. For example, if you want to grade an essay based on the clarity of the thesis statement, ChatGPT can analyze the essay and provide suggestions on how to improve the thesis statement.

Plagiarism detection

ChatGPT can also be used to detect plagiarism in assignments. You can upload a student’s assignment, and ChatGPT can compare the content to other sources online and provide a plagiarism score.

Example steps and prompt:

Analyze the following essay for coherence, structure, and the use of at least three external references: [insert written assignment]


AI helps learners engage in remote learning environments. It can help provide resources and explain complex topics to learners. It can help instructors generate research questions, assignments, lessons, and activities, and provide specific feedback to learners. Chatbots can be used as a smarter search engine and can help teach vocabulary, generate writing prompts, create math problems, generate discussion questions, and build essay outlines. It can also write suggestions and look for edits in written assignments to help provide personalized feedback. Chatbots and ChatGPT assist in asynchronous communication/ remote learning. It could be helpful in courses that focus on language skills or critical thinking since GPT can be used to create questions based on student proficiency. ChatGPT supports a personalized learning experience by providing recommendations on resources, books, and websites tailored to learner needs and interests.

Try it Out!

ChatGPT can provide personalization to learning and teaching online in a number of ways:

Tailored Responses

ChatGPT can be programmed to respond to a user’s specific learning needs and preferences. For example, ChatGPT can be customized to provide personalized responses to questions based on the user’s skill level, interests, and learning style.

Adaptive Learning

ChatGPT can use machine learning algorithms to analyze a user’s performance and adapt the learning experience accordingly. This can include providing more challenging content for advanced learners or offering additional resources for those who are struggling.

Interactive Learning

ChatGPT can be programmed to engage users in interactive learning activities, such as quizzes and simulations. These activities can be tailored to the user’s skill level and learning preferences, making the learning experience more engaging and effective.

Personalized Feedback

ChatGPT can provide personalized feedback on assignments and assessments, highlighting areas where the user needs to improve and providing specific recommendations for how to do so.

24/7 Availability

ChatGPT is available 24/7, which means that users can access learning resources and support whenever they need it. This can be particularly beneficial for those who are studying online and may not have access to traditional support systems such as teachers or tutors.

Example steps and prompt:

  1. Generate writing prompts for an undergraduate-level third-year creative writing course. 
  2. Generate an essay outline for an undergraduate first-year history course based on the events that led to World War II.
  3. Explain the differences and similarities between IFRS and U.S. GAAP. Provide a balance sheet to help explain.