Read a breakdown of one AI syllabus policy to help you consider how to craft your own AI policy.

If you have (or are considering adding) an AI policy on your syllabus, this post is for you. 

I’m going to share my AI syllabus policy and break down how I wrote that policy. I am not advocating for my policy, as these decisions are strongly dependent on your discipline, your students, and your teaching philosophy. Rather, I want to provide a window into the thinking behind my AI syllabus policy in the hopes it can encourage you to thoughtfully explore your own.

If you are looking for a comprehensive list of AI syllabus policies, Lance Eaton curates a list across institutions. If you are wondering whether you should even include an AI policy, read Kevin Gannon’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about that topic (Ball State readers can access the Chronicle through University Libraries). 

My AI Policy

For reference, here is my AI policy, which will ground the discussion in the following sections: 

You are welcome to use generative artificial intelligence (GAI) tools such as ChatGPT for any work in this course. Any use, even for the purposes of planning, must be appropriately acknowledged and cited. Make sure to review information about how to cite ChatGPT in MLA style, APA style, or the citation style most commonly used in your field. Any uncited use of GAI tools will be considered plagiarism and is subject to the university’s Student Academic Ethics Policy

If you would like help navigating the use of GAI tools, please contact me or schedule an appointment to talk. These tools are powerful, and with careful and thoughtful use, they can help save you time and produce better writing. 

Be aware that GAI tools currently have significant limitations. They are prone to making up facts, making assumptions about the rhetorical situation, and much more. Never uncritically accept the written results of ChatGPT without verification and revision. 

Step 1: What Do I Want to Allow?

Before I wrote my policy, I had to identify the boundaries I wanted to set regarding generative AI tools. 

Broadly, AI syllabus policies can: 

  • Prohibit all uses of generative AI 
  • Prohibit select uses – for example, allowing students to generate outlines but not allowing them to lift text directly from a chatbot 
  • Prohibit use unless permission is given in advance by the instructor 
  • Allow with acknowledgement or citation 
  • Allow without acknowledgement or citation 

Which of these you choose depends on several factors, chief among them the goals of your course. The AI syllabus policy I shared above is for a course that is designed to help students develop as professional writers. I decided that not using AI would shut off avenues of writing that would be relevant now and in the future for professional writers. I use generative AI in my job, and it is already a part of the professional writing landscape. However, professional writers are working to critically and ethically use AI, and acknowledgement and citation are part of that process. Allowing use without acknowledgement or citation would not help my students explore how AI can fit into their writing processes. 

Step 2: What Supports Do I Want to Provide?

For all except the most prohibitive AI policies, support can help students navigate the policy and their use of AI. This support can take the form of resources and information, offers of help, examples to make the policy more concrete, and more. 

In my case, since I chose to allow AI use with citation, I needed to provide information about citing AI. My course does not use a single specific citation manual, so I linked students to information for MLA and APA styles. AI citation is likely to continue to change, so linking helps me keep this information up-to-date with the guidance from style guides. 

I also extended an offer to my students to discuss their use of AI in the course. I did this to help them think critically about incorporating AI into their work. 

Step 3: What Advice Do I Want to Provide?

The first two paragraphs of my policy cover the rules for AI use and the supports available. However, as I stated in Step 1, my goal behind this policy was to help students navigate what will likely be an important technological tool in their future careers. 

The benefits of AI are likely already obvious to students: time savings, quick idea generation, etc. Additionally, I include course materials on navigating AI as professional writers. I decided, then, that the advice I wanted to provide students was predominantly a warning: generative AI cannot be safely used without human intervention. 

For example, this course is about writing to address specific rhetorical situations, considering concepts such as users, genre, accessibility, and usability. Generative AI like ChatGPT prioritizes giving you an answer to your inquiry, no matter how little or how much information and context you provide. GAI, then, are prone to making massive assumptions about the rhetorical situation, significantly missing the mark. 

These issues with GAI can be easy to overlook for students who are learning these concepts themselves. A warning like the one I added in my final paragraph, then, can help students understand that this tool will need to be wielded with thought and consideration. 


I want to reiterate that I encourage you to go your own direction with an AI syllabus policy. There is no “right answer” to whether to include an AI policy, where to include it, or what to say. 

However, the need for AI syllabus policies illuminates the fact that we are all grappling with the implications of these new tools. By thoughtfully considering not just what you want to allow (or prohibit) but how you want to support and guide students, you can create an AI syllabus policy that helps students effectively navigate AI in their education. 


Eaton, Lance. “Syllabi Policies for AI Generative Tools.” Google Docs, January 16, 2023.

Gannon, Kevin. “Should You Add an AI Policy to Your Syllabus?” The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 31, 2023.

  • Eva Grouling Snider

    Eva joined the Division of Online and Strategic Learning in 2021. Previously, she taught professional writing courses in the English Department, including graphic design and web development. She launched Jacket Copy Creative (now known as Compass Creative), an immersive learning course in which students helped market the English Department (and now the entire College of Sciences and Humanities). She also served as a director of advertising at a social media advertising agency in Muncie. Her interests include UDL, digital accessibility, and design. She’s often busy “hacking” Canvas to do cool things.

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