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Faculty Guide to ChatGPT & AI Tools: Frequently Asked Questions

Resources and guidance for faculty who want to know more about AI tools, such as ChatGPT, and how they relate to education and instruction.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

ChatGPT is a powerful artificial intelligence (AI) tool created by OpenAI that can write as well as a human on many topics. This guide seeks to answer some of the most common questions asked by faculty members. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to Scholarly Communication Librarian David Druelinger at

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Q: How should my students cite ChatGPT or another AI tool?

Students must report any use of an AI tool (such as ChatGPT) for their assignments. There are two main ways to do this:

  1. Cite any direct uses of ideas, words, or other content generated by the AI tool using the appropriate citation style, such as APA or MLA.
    • If you do not want students to use ChatGPT as a direct source of content or ideas, consider stating this explicitly when describing the kinds of sources which are acceptable for the assignment.
    • You can share the APA, MLA, and Chicago Style guides with your students. There is also the student LibGuide on citing ChatGPT.
    • It would be considered plagiarism if a student fails to cite the direct use of AI-generated ideas, words, or content.
    • An APA example citation is:
      • In-text citation: (OpenAI, 2023)
      • Reference list entry: OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].
  2. Acknowledge any use of an AI tool for indirect support or assistance by stating it clearly in the assignment itself or in a separate “Acknowledgements” section.
    • Using an AI tool without acknowledgement, even if used indirectly, may be considered a breach of academic integrity.
    • Students with permission to do so might use AI tools like ChatGPT to critique their work, brainstorm topics, reorganize outlines, receive tutoring on assignment-related topics, suggest relevant research, summarize articles, and much more.
    • Consider talking with your students about what constitutes appropriate or inappropriate usage of ChatGPT for your class or for an assignment.
    • An “Acknowledgements” section can serve as an opportunity for students to reflect on their use (or overuse) of AI tools for, as well as give you additional insight into how it is affecting your students’ work.
    • You could also ask students to provide transcripts of their prompts or interactions with these AI tools for specific assignments.
    • Examples of acknowledgement statement formatting.

Q: How do I sign up for ChatGPT?

To try out ChatGPT for yourself, you must first make an OpenAI account. Luckily, you only need to go through this process once. ChatGPT can be used for free.

  1. Go to and click the "Sign up" button.
  2. Enter your email address and click "Continue." Then, choose a password.
  3. A verification email will be sent to the address you entered in step 2. Follow the instructions in this email and fill out any necessary forms.
  4. Once finished, you can visit and login to start a chat session.

Q: Are there privacy concerns I should be aware of?

Yes. As with any information you share on the internet, you should be aware of the sensitivity of what you are sharing with AI tools and who will be able to see it.

  • ChatGPT is owned by OpenAI and any information your share with ChatGPT will be accessible to OpenAI for internal use by default.
  • Avoid sharing secret or sensitive information with ChatGPT or any other online service that you do not fully trust.
  • There are ways to minimize potentially unwanted use of your data.

Q: How do I use ChatGPT?

Just converse with it as if it was a human!

  • Create an account, then go to Type what you would like to say in the text box at the bottom of the page that says "Send a message." Press the return/enter key to send the message when you're done.
  • You don't need to know any special keywords or techniques. If you have a question, just ask it as if you were asking a person. If you want to give it instructions, just write them out. ChatGPT will remember the conversation's context, so you can respond back and forth in a natural way.
  • Example conversation:
    • You: Please suggest one interesting essay topic related to happiness in modern society.
    • ChatGPT: Sure, here's an essay topic related to happiness in modern society: "The Pursuit of Happiness: How Modern Society's Definition of Success Impacts Our Well-being."
    • You: Can you describe the topic briefly?
    • ChatGPT: Of course! This essay topic explores the relationship between modern society's definition of success and our overall well-being and happiness. It questions whether the current emphasis on external markers of success, such as wealth, status, and achievements, is truly aligned with what makes people happy and fulfilled. The essay can delve into the impact of social media, consumerism, and societal pressures on our happiness and suggest ways to redefine success to prioritize internal well-being and meaningful connections.

Q: Do I have to fact-check what ChatGPT says?

Yes. If it is important for ChatGPT's response to be correct, you will need to fact-check its output.

  • ChatGPT has been known to make up false information. This is often called an "AI hallucination."
  • The false information it generates will often sound very plausible. At times this can make fact checking difficult, as the false portions may not be immediately obvious.
  • Due to how ChatGPT works (as of May, 2023), it cannot fact-check itself. Simply put, its "knowledge" is the result of being trained on massive amounts of data. If its training data contained a large amount of false information on a specific topic, or if it lacked sufficient information about a specific topic, ChatGPT may be more likely to answer incorrectly on that topic.
    • For example: let's say that there's a commonly-believed myth. ChatGPT may have been trained on many example conversations between people who believed this myth. This would likely result in ChatGPT being trained to respond as though this myth were true. Here's a conversation with ChatGPT demonstrating this phenomenon:
      • Prompt: What are a few famous Sherlock Holmes quotes?
      • ChatGPT: Sure, here are a few famous Sherlock Holmes quotes:
        • "Elementary, my dear Watson."
        • "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
        • ... (further quotes removed for brevity)
    • The first quote, "Elementary, my dear Watson," never appears in any of the Sherlock Holmes books. However, it is commonly-believed to be a Sherlock Holmes quote, so it is likely to be present in a great deal of ChatGPT's training data, despite its status as a myth.

Q: Why should I try out ChatGPT?

Chances are, some of your students are already using it. Trying out ChatGPT will help you learn:

  • How to talk with your students about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate usage of ChatGPT.
  • Its strengths and limitations as a tool.
  • The ways in which students may use it unethically on your assignments.
  • How AI tools could potentially be useful to you as an instructor.
  • The ways in which students may be expected to use these kinds of tools in the future.

Q: Can I detect if something was made by ChatGPT?

You should follow school policies on enforcing academic integrity.

  • Turnitin, has implemented AI-detection.
    • The real-world accuracy of Turnitin's AI-detection tools is unclear, especially as AI tools change and grow in capability.
  • Current AI-detection tools can be easily thwarted by manually rewording the text.
  • Freely available AI-detection tools, such as GPTZero, are highly unreliable.
    • If students can access the detection tool, they will be able to fine-tune an AI-generated text to be undetectable by that tool.
    • Famously, GPTZero makes the mistake of determining that the first 2 articles of the US Constitution were written by an AI (as of April 18, 2023)

References and Acknowledgements


Original APA example citation from McAdoo, T. (2023, April 7). How to cite ChatGPT. APA Style Blog.

Example ChatGPT conversations from OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (May 3 version) [Large language model].

Information on Turnitin's AI-detection accuracy from Turnitin. (n.d.). AI Writing Detection Capabilities—Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved May 17, 2023 from


OpenAI’s ChatGPT (GPT-4 model, May 3, 2023 version) was used to help reword some of this LibGuide while keeping the informational content the same.

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