ECEn Policy for the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Coursework
As professionals in the fields of Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Cybersecurity, it is essential to gain experience using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, which have improved dramatically in recent decades. At the same time, using AI in some educational contexts can undermine educational goals and intellectual growth. This policy is intended to add clarity concerning the use of AI in ECEn classes at BYU. It should be treated as the default policy for all ECEn and IT&C classes, unless it is superseded by the instructor of a course who specifically provides exceptions or exclusions for particular assignments. If an instructor does not provide any specific guidance related to the use of AI in their class, then this policy will be in effect.
· Artificial Intelligence is a tool, like many others, that can be used for good and bad. As BYU students, we should focus our attention on how we can ethically use AI to accomplish worthwhile goals.
· Using AI effectively (e.g., generating AI prompts that are useful) is an important skill that should be developed. Understanding the limitations of AI including the potential for results to include false statements, bias, and copyright infringement is a critical part of using AI effectively.
· Learning is a process wherein our minds and spirits are changed as we develop new understandings, attitudes, and skills through deep engagement with content and experiences. AI can be used to enhance or circumvent learning, depending on how it is used and the type of learning occurring.
Rules regarding the inappropriate use of AI in ECEn coursework
· AI should never be used when an instructor explicitly asks students not to use it.
· AI should not be used in any cases where an exam or assignment is “closed book” (i.e., they prohibit the use of resources such textbooks, the Internet, talking to others, etc.).
· When using AI for written work that is “open book” (e.g. papers, coding projects, lab reports, take-home exams), any AI content should be cited. For example, if you use AI-generated language it should be put into quotes and the AI engine and text prompt should be listed. If you are paraphrasing AI-generated content, then you should indicate that you are paraphrasing in a citation, similar to how you would if you were paraphrasing another published resource. If you are using an AI code-generation tool that recommends code, then a code comment should be added that clarifies which portions of the code were AI-generated.
· AI-generated answers should not be used when it will circumvent students’ learning. For example, submitting AI-generated personal reflections, book reports, lab reports, or other assignments intended to promote meta-cognition and engagement with content is not allowed.
· If there is ever a question about whether AI should be used or not, the student should ask the instructor.
Examples of appropriate use of AI in ECEn Coursework (for cases that do not violate the rules above)
· AI can be used to help brainstorm ideas. For example, a capstone team may use AI to help generate potential names for their project.
· AI can be used to help understand code syntax and provide examples. For example, AI coding tools can give examples of CSS rules, which can then be integrated (as appropriate) into coding projects for a class.
· AI can be used, with caution, for gaining an overview of certain topics. For example, a student may create a prompt that gives an overview of a technology and use-cases for it. Of course, you should treat it like most Internet content and validate what is provided, since it may have inaccuracies or misleading examples.
· AI can be used to enhance class projects. For example, a UX designer may generate fake text and images that are used in a prototype of a new product. In such cases, the content source should be cited.
Repercussions for violations of this policy
It is our hope that BYU students will strive to follow this policy and discuss potential gray areas with faculty. In cases where students have violated the policy, the instructor of the specific class will determine the appropriate response which may include (a) giving them a warning and making sure they understand the policy, (b) reporting them to the honor code office, (c) giving them a reduced grade on an assignment or in a class.