How do I get started with generative AI (such as ChatGPT?)


AI developments and usage will continue to expand swiftly across the world. In the interest of our University’s mission to prepare our students for life, work and citizenship in the twenty-first century, we must lean into evolving technologies such as AI. Our campus community is encouraged to learn about and integrate innovative AI solutions in a responsible, secure and ethical manner. By embracing AI ourselves, we can more effectively prepare our students for their futures. We expect to update this information and add additional articles to the Knowledge Base to stay current with the rapidly evolving AI technologies, address questions that arise, and incorporate new or changing regulations and best practices. 

The most famous generative AI application is ChatGPT, a chatbot that Microsoft-backed OpenAI released late last year.


What is ChatGPT?  

How do I use ChatGPT?  

Are there other generative AI tools other than ChatGPT?  

What risks and mitigation strategies should I be aware of when using ChatGPT or other generative AI tools? 


What is ChatGPT?  

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence that can generate original answers with flawless writing styles and often flawless information. How is this Bot new and different from traditional copy/paste plagiarism? ChatGPT doesn’t write essays, articles, or papers by finding and copying them verbatim from elsewhere on the internet. Rather, ChatGPT locates the many, many instances of a particular explanation, summary, or answer on the internet, then uses these multiple examples to predict what an original statement or essay would likely say. Thus, ChatGPT constructs a new essay by predicting what a new essay would say—a process very similar to your own cognition. 

ChatGPT has already passed graduate-level and professional-level high-stakes testing—although with only slightly above average marks. ChatGPT can be asked to write in different styles and genres. It can write in the voice of a journalist, a scientist, a poet, or a 10-year-old writing a letter to her grandmother. It’s ability to write in different voices is one feature that makes its work hard to identify. Because ChatGPT writes original text, its writing isn’t technically plagiarism, making it harder for plagiarism checkers to catch. 

Many good articles exist that will help you understand ChatGPT. The current version of ChatGPT will consistently be improved to take on new tasks. Thus, any advice to prevent students from using ChatGPT is temporary, and future versions of ChatGPT will get better at writing college papers, or answering questions, or taking exams. However, industry will produce equivalent AI to help detect papers written by a Bot, and you should update your knowledge of these Bot Stoppers periodically. 

How do I use ChatGPT?  

To use ChatGPT, Contact ITS for guidance on use.
Instructor guidelines for AI use

Once you have your account created you will have access to the AI. In the same way that Google search results are dependent on the question you ask, the accuracy, precision, and details of the response from ChatGPT are affected by the skill with which the query is written. The difference in the essays created by the query “I like turtles” versus “create an essay on the different morphological adaptations of turtles” is drastic. 

To get you started, below are some prompts you might use to test the range of ChatGPT:  

  • Write an essay about [insert topic of choice]. 
  • Further expand on this by asking it to include, remove, alter or expand upon things it has written. 
  • Provide feedback on [insert passage of choice]. 
  • Consider using the essay you had it write to see how it critiques its own work. How similar or different are its criticisms compared to those you might make? 
  • Give me a recipe for [insert food of choice]. 
  • Try augmenting the recipe with further queries. Maybe asking for a substitution or making the recipe vegan. 
  • Design a lesson plan for [insert topic of choice]. 
  • Remember, the more detailed you are about the topic the more detailed an answer you get. However, you might find that your detailed topic gets vague answers, depending on which exemplars are available in its database to work from. 
  • Tell me a story about [insert topic of choice]. 
  • Write me a letter of recommendation. 

From these you can probably come up with some ideas of your own. Try them all out! Evaluate the responses. What do you see? Where are the obvious limitations? What were some of the ways you can see this benefiting your work and assisting you? 

Are there other generative AI tools other than ChatGPT?  

Yes, there are other generative AI tools available including, but not limited to:  

What risks and mitigation strategies should I be aware of when using ChatGPT or other generative AI tools? 

Users of generative AI services, such as ChatGPT, need to be aware of how it uses their data and what they need to do to protect their privacy. Users should take special care when using ChatGPT for work and avoid entering sensitive data. OpenAI uses users’ data to improve model performance and may become available to the general public. 

Anything you give to an AI service you should expect it to then own and use how it sees fit. Your top-secret brownie recipe may not have any student information, but once you give it to an AI service that service can then give it out to the next person that asks how to make great brownies. If you upload a writing passage or an image, you’ve then given that over to the AI service. It may give you great advice on how to make it better, but it can also use that work to generate content for others. 
Many AI services’ terms and conditions state that you grant them full and perpetual rights to modify, display, create derivative works from and distribute your content publicly. 

Tips for using generative AI services:  

  1. Beware of fake AI apps and browser extensions 

Any trendy topic opens an opportunity for cyber criminals to creatively take advantage of the unsuspecting. Just because an app or browser extension exists touting a well-known name does not mean it is an official app from the company. Lookalike apps and extensions give a false sense of security and the over-eager user who does not take time to verify an app's authenticity opens up their device (and the company) to malware and other threats. 

  1.  Never enter sensitive or personally identifiable information  

AI tools use information submitted to train the natural language learning program. Be careful to remove any sensitive or personal information before submitting text to be utilized in the program. As an SCSU employee, do not submit any nonpublic data or student work to AI tools. 

  1. Verify with external sources before using AI-generated results  

AI tools are pretty smart - and ChatGPT is definitely impressive in its ability to mimic and provide solid results, however, as with any information these days it’s critical to verify any results, especially stated stats and facts, before using the information, especially when representing SCSU. 

  1. Be aware of potential biases In AI results  

While ChatGPT and other AI tools are based on enormous amounts of data, data can be misleading and involve bias - intentional or otherwise - from the creators of that data. As stated above, it's important to take a moment and consider if the results returned by an AI tool could potentially be affected by a bias of some sort. 

While the safest thing to do would be to not use AI at all, it is the future of technology. With AI being integrated into many major software systems, people will need to learn to safely work alongside it rather than attempt to avoid it altogether. 

Sources/References for this KB:  

Additional Recommended Resources:  





Print Article


Article ID: 146844
Mon 8/14/23 2:06 PM
Tue 3/12/24 11:16 AM

Related Services / Offerings (3)

Request support for the use of teaching and learning technology and sound pedagogical principles to design in-person, online and hybrid courses.
Request the use of the HuskyTech Innovation Hub to host a workshop, presentation, class or event in HuskyTech; or ask other questions about the Innovation Hub.
Request training from IT services. IT can provide training on a range of services, including but not limited to: Security awareness, software, teaching and learning technologies, project management/Agile and LEAN.