12. Alternatives for Learners

An important aspect of developing an assessment that invites students to use GenAI tools is to make it “GenAI-optional.” Most (all?) GenAI tools do not comply with the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) (and therefore your institution’s policies) because they ask users to provide personal information as they register to create an account. Students can provide their personal information if they choose to, but they should not be required to do so to complete their coursework.

There are some ways around this. Here are a few options:

  • TOOLS To ACCESS GenAI ANONYMOUSLY. There are a couple of tools at your disposal that allow users to access GenAI tools without requesting that they login.

    • TalkAI. This is a website that taps into the GPT model but does not require a login. Note that it is a bit “spammy,” showcasing ads on their website. However, it does not require any registration.
    • Perplexity.ai. This website is another large language model (i.e., it is comparable to, but not, GPT). The answers you get might be a little different to those you would get on ChatGPT. Sometimes that can be a good thing! And, it does not require a registration.
  • SHARED GenAI ACCOUNT. Consider creating a shared class account on the GenAI tool website. You can do this by first creating a “dummy” email account (one that you can access, since many registration processes require you to retrieve an activation email message). Then, share the login information with the class. Everyone will use the same login information. Note that this means that students will be able to view every user’s search history. You will still want to educate students about how to protect their private information when using this shared account (e.g., not entering any personally identifiable or sensitive information). Some GenAI tools will suspend an account after it has placed too many requests that they deems inappropriate, so you may want to preface the use of this shared resource with instructions about how to use it responsibly.
  • SAMPLE CONVERSATIONS. Another option is to play the role of a student as they work with the GenAI on their assignment and to share a printout (a PDF) of the resulting conversation. You may want to make a few versions available where you ask slightly different questions, so that students do not all use the same data. Providing “access” to the GenAI in this way will meet a learning objective of familiarizing students with this tool (they will observe how a typical interaction with a GenAI tool unfolds), yet it will preserve the privacy of each student.
  • EQUIVALENT ALTERNATIVES. You may also want to give students an equivalent alternative for the assignment. This means providing instructions for completing the assignment in a way that does not make use of the GenAI tool, yet still achieves the same learning outcomes and requires the same level of student engagement. Students who opt for this option should not be placed at a disadvantage over those that do. If the learning objective of the assignment includes digital literacy skills related to GenAI, then consider the above option (Sample Conversation), as it will simulate the type of interaction that a student using the tool would experience.

To Do

Whichever approach you choose, you must devise an alternative option for students who opt to not use GenAI in your assignment. Consider how they may do so and add these instructions to the student assessment instructions.