Year in Review: The Work We’ve Done and the Work That’s Coming

2023 was the first full year tech companies like OpenAI and Google flooded higher education with its generative AI tools. In this blog post we review the work AITF has done to assist scholars and teachers in languages, literatures, and writing. Then we describe what we have happening on the horizon for 2024 to continue the momentum. 

2023: Don’t Panic

In February, we began biweekly and, later, weekly meetings to discuss how members could “develop resources, guidelines, and professional standards around the use of AI and writing.” The work for 2023 detailed below shows a consistent message to not panic; instead, we encouraged our colleagues and peers to use their professional experience and expertise to critique generative AI while encouraging ethical and responsible use of these technologies. However, we also encouraged members to interrogate and resist conventional responses to students’ misusing generative AI with academic integrity policies on plagiarism and other forms of cheating. These approaches undermine trust between students and teachers, a vital characteristic of productive learning communities, and stonewalled efforts to learn how generative AI technologies added to students’ repertoire of literacy practices. 

Google Hosts Task Force to Write Working Paper 1 – June 2023

As we began planning Working Paper 1, the task force received an invitation from Google to visit their Manhattan headquarters and write the first draft. Over two-days, members pooled together their knowledge to produce an effective draft for educators. In addition, we met with a Google representative to discuss how educators might ensure the integrity of information in a world of hallucinating generative AI and bad actors who may use AI for misinformation.

Working Paper 1 – July 2023

This working paper discusses the risks and benefits of generative AI for teachers and students in writing, literature, and language programs and makes principle-driven recommendations for how educators, administrators, and policy makers can work together to develop ethical, mission-driven policies and support broad development of critical AI literacy.

What AI Means for Teaching Webinar – July 2023

MLA hosted a webinar in which select members of the task force discussed each part of the working paper and then took questions from attendees. This webinar was highly successful with 3,535 people actively registered at the time the webinar began (a total of 3,900 signed up; however, some canceled) and 1,765 people watching the webinar live at peak attendance. Task force members participated in discussions about the working paper with Rhetoricity and Pedagogue.

Office of Science and Technology Policy Statement – July 2023

In June of 2023, the prepared a submission in response to the Request for Information circulated by the White House through the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The administration requested feedback from groups to help guide the development of a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The TFAI submitted the following public statement: TF Public Comment to Office of Science and Technology Policy.

National Endowment for Humanities Chair’s Grant – August 2023

The Modern Language Association received the NEH Chair’s Grant. The grant allows us to convene key other organizations working in reading, writing, and languages to further develop a humanities-driven intervention in critical AI literacy. The convenings will begin in early 2024 (read 2024: Rallying Our Allies section for more details).

Teaching Experiments Launched

We are excited to note that there are many free resources that support critical AI literacy pedagogy The WAC Clearinghouse and Harvard.  In November, we released Teaching 

Experiments, a website that publishes assignments related to AI that teachers have tried. Submissions included a reflection on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the assignment. Unlike other existing resources, this blog encourages conversation via the commenting function for each assignment. We are always looking for new submissions! 

2024: Rallying Our Allies

This year AITF will continue to be a source for guidance and community with two important upcoming projects.

Working Paper #2

At the end of 2023, AITF finished drafting Working Paper #2. This draft will be reviewed by other humanities organizations at the MLA Convenings in February and March. Here’s a preview: Working Paper #2 provide members with a sound and succinct discussion of considerations for policy development. Writing, language, and literature teachers and students find themselves facing thorny questions, and no single approach will be right for everyone, but we hope this working paper encourages thoughtful, nuanced policy decisions that trust the academic integrity of students.

Meeting at MLA with representatives from other language/literacy organizations 

As explained above, the NEH Chair’s Grant supports a two-part convening between AITF and other humanities organizations to further conversations on intervening in generative AI use in research and teaching. The convenings begin with an online synchronous event in February followed by a two-day in-person meeting in New York in March. Representatives from the following organizations will attend:

We Want To Read Your Thoughts! 🙂 

We would love to hear from readers in the comments section below! How have you fared in this first year of the generative AI age? What lessons did you learn about generative AI in 2023 that will carry forward into your teaching and research in 2024?