AI Resources for Faculty – Summer 2024

Dear MiraCosta faculty colleagues,

Generative Artificial Intelligence is on just about everyone’s minds these days. As we head toward summer, I’m sharing some resources and thoughts that I hope you’ll.find helpful for AI-related planning, exploring, and – perhaps – play.

Crafting AI Class Policies

The Academic Senate’s AI Task Force this spring agreed that many students are uncertain about what AI use is acceptable, and that the answer is not a college-wide policy. Every discipline, every faculty member, every course section, every assignment may have different approaches in whether AI use is required, banned, or somewhere in between. It’s important that we as faculty are clear with our students on this matter. In fact, AAC just updated the MiraCosta Syllabus Checklist to add a recommendation about having a class AI policy.

In consultation with the AI Task Force and the MiraCosta Online Educators committee, I’ve created a one-page guide to creating an AI class policy. It offers a range of starting points and considerations for elements to include in your policy, as well as links to sites where you can find examples to draw upon. Please view your class policy as the beginning, not the end, of conversation with your students about AI.

Where to Start with AI Tools

The AI toolset is emergent: constantly evolving and updating. Some tools may be more important in your discipline than others. Having said that, I would urge everyone to spend time exploring. Be playful! Ask questions from serious to absurd. Explore the limits of AI’s capabilities. Try it for non-academic summer things: recipes, travel ideas, event planning, hobbies.

I’ll mention two specific tools that I think are worthwhile starting points in your AI exploration.

1. Microsoft Copilot (when used with a MiraCosta login)

Basic Pros (as of now)

  • Provides free high quality generative AI (GPT 4) access to all MiraCosta faculty, staff, and students, including generation of code, text, and images. It will also analyze images.
  • Provides security and privacy that is uncertain when using non-institutional AI tools.

Basic Cons (as of now)

  • Copilot chats cannot be saved for later reference or shared for others to view, making it less valuable to process-based teaching and learning.
  • Does not accept files as input. Does not run code it generates.

2. OpenAI ChatGPT

Basic Pros (as of now)

  • GPT 4 is now available for free to all users via the new ChatGPT 4o (o = “omni”) release (see Con #1, though)
  • ChatGPT 4o is multimodal, accepting input via voice, text, file, image, and even simply by interpreting what’s on your screen, and providing output via voice, file, image, and code.
  • Chats are automatically saved for future reference and continued exploration, and may be shared with others.

Basic Cons (as of now)

  • Free access to GPT 4 is limited, resulting in inequitable experiences for students who pay for a full account vs. those who cannot.
  • OpenAI’s business practices are questionable.

AI “Detection” Cautions

We will likely revisit this institutionally over the next academic year, but many of you may be exploring how you can detect AI usage in student work over the summer. Short answer: when AI is used in not-very-sophisticated ways, it may be detectable by you or a technology. But relying on that detection will become ever more problematic as both AI and our students become more sophisticated. Some reading:

The Importance of Collegial Conversation

Talking with your colleagues, especially within your departments, about AI is so important. I’m happy to connect with you through the month of June, and our Joyful Teacher, Jim Sullivan (, will be available throughout the summer. We’re already planning on developing related faculty support resources to share with you this summer, and ongoing Flex conversations in the next academic year. We’re in this together!

– Jim

Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Coordinator, Online Education