FaCTS 2024

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From 2009 to 2018, the Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS) initiative was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support faculty in planning and implementing innovative curriculum and/or pedagogical projects over the course of an academic year. In 2024, we had one final round on the topic of "Human Learning in an AI World." If you were unable to participate in FaCTS, you can check out the resources below or chat with your colleagues who participated.

Excellent Videos

When we sit down to make a video mini-lecture, we strive for excellence!


Pedagogical Resources

  • Theory and Research-based Principles of Learning - This resource from the Eberly Center at Carnegie Mellon University presents the basic principles that underlie effective (human) learning. We should keep these principles in mind as we integrate AI into our teaching.
  • Creating Your Course Policy on AI - This site from Stanford university offers "example syllabus statements, suggestions for what to include, and sample sentences that you might use as you think through your own course policy on AI and begin writing a statement to put in your syllabus."
  • Syllabi Policies for AI Generative Tools - This resource, created by Lance Eaton, is for the purposes of sharing and helping other instructors see the range of policies available by other educators as they develop their own.
  • How To Teach with AI and Still Put People First - This blog post describes an AI writing assignment.
  • Generative Artificial Intelligence and Writing Assignments - This resources from the Bok Center at Harvard University is a great resource for creating writing assignments that integrate AI. It provides many examples for a variety of specific types of writing assignments (e.g., response papers, article summaries, research papers).
  • AI in Assignment Design - The Center for Teaching Innovation at Cornell University describes issues we should consider when creating AI assignments.
  • 10 Best Practices for AI Assignments in Higher Ed - This blog post provides what the title says it does.
  • AI & Accessibility - This resource from Cornell University explains the importance of accessibility and how to use generative AI to create more accessible content.
  • AI Writing Educator Resources — This is another meta-resource; this one is from Turnitin, the similarity detection service integrated into Xavier's Brightspace LMS.
  • Teaching Conferences Directory - Want to present the innovative things you are doing with AI in the classroom? The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University maintains a directory of teaching conferences that you can search by discipline.
  • Teaching Journals Directory - Want to publish the innovative things you are doing with AI in the classroom?The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University maintains a directory of teaching journal that you can search by discipline

Selected Platforms

These are some of the platforms demonstrated in the seminar. No endorsement should be inferred.

  • ChatGPT — famous chatbot from OpenAI
  • Copilot — from Microsoft; Xavier accounts have access
  • Gemini — from Google
  • Gamma — makes presentations
  • Goblin Tools — a focused set of text tools
  • Leonardo — makes images
  • Midjourney — makes images, steeper learning curve
  • Perplexity — this chatbot is more like a search engine

Project Descriptions

Below, please find a listing of project descriptions from participating faculty.

Predictive AI to Analyze Germline MSH6 Mutations

Christopher Bolden (Biology)

This proposal is to implement and introduce AI into BIOL 3110 – Genetics Lab. This research- based undergraduate course investigates the effect point mutations have on protein function. Our current understanding of these mutations in relation to DNA replication are not well understood and vary drastically in each person. To expand our understanding and increase the efficiency of genomic analysis, AI-based algorithms have emerged as a valuable toolset that can be tailored to progress the modern world’s goal of individualized medicine. In this proposal, AI algorithms will be incorporated to further expand the protein dynamic information obtained from each group’s assigned mutation.

This proposal will restructure our current final project to incorporate AI in the analysis of DNA mismatch repair mutations.

Spanish Learning in an AI World

Carmen Cosme (Languages)

The Spanish Learning in an AI World Project is an initiative to reinvent the intermediate Spanish courses utilizing AI as an effective tool of instruction. The new forms of assessments and projects will facilitate opportunities for our language learners to use AI within their learning experience to improve their creativity in the application of Spanish in their academic and personal lives. This transformative version of the intermediate Spanish courses will bring Spanish learning experience into the twenty first century.

Second-Order, Stage Two Thinking: Argument Analysis and Argument Rehabilitation in an AI World

James Dunson (Philosophy)

My proposal is to construct an AI-assisted research essay assignment for my co-taught (along with Thomas Huckaba in Biology) course titled Ethics of Genetic Engineering. At this point, it is inevitable that AI will be used, whether illicitly or with the permission of the instuctor, to generate text for research essays. However, it is less clear that AI could effectively evaluate the arguments it generates and make them relevant to a human audience.

This project uses AI to create arguments while promoting human learning in the context of 1) argument analysis and 2) argument rehabilitation. The analysis component involves ranking how compelling the AI arguments are and to explain why this is so. The rehabilitation part of the project challenges students to explain how the least effective AI-generated arguments could be improved and more persuasively presented to a human audience.

My main goal in this project is to convey to students that AI, while a useful tool, cannot adequately determine the degree to which its arguments are persuasive to a human audience. I am calling this particular skill second-order, stage two thinking: it requires a meta-analysis of the AI-generated arguments.

Chemistry and Global Food and Water Security

Siddieg Elsiddieg (Chemistry)

I hereby propose to incorporate artificial intelligence in my planned X-cor class “Chemistry and global food and water security”. This proposed class, planned for fall 2024 start, will highlight two of the most pressing challenges facing the world today (global food and water security). It will also showcase the role that chemistry plays in addressing these challenges. In this project, artificial intelligence will be incorporated in the proposed class design as one of the topics to be studied (e. g. the impact of artificial intelligence on global food and water security) and as a key component of the assessment (e.g. by designing assignments that are AI-based). The objectives of this project include incorporating the analysis of the role of AI in global food and water security, as part of class topics. They also include the leveraging of accessible AI tools to enhance student learning of “chemistry and global food and water security” through well- designed assignments that encourage students to use AI resources mindfully and critically in the service of their learning in this class. Both objectives are intimately connected to the theme of “Human Learning in an AI World”.

AI Med-Spanish Connect: Cultivating Linguistic and Cultural Competence

Giti Farudi (Languages)

This project seeks to enhance 'Spanish 2051: An Introduction to Spanish for Medical Personnel' by incorporating ChatGPT, a conversational AI, for mock patient dialogues. The primary goal is to provide students with immersive, interactive scenarios, enabling them to practice medical dialogues and terminology in Spanish at a level tailored for the course. Through role-play scenarios in ChatGPT, the AI simulates diverse patients, each with unique medical histories and conditions. Students actively engage in these simulations, honing their skills in the medical terminology they are learning in the course, taking medical histories, diagnosing symptoms, and discussing treatments in Spanish.

Carefully designed by the course instructor, these scenarios offer a broad spectrum of medical contexts relevant to the course material, immersing students in the linguistic and cultural subtleties pertinent to Spanish-speaking patients. This method bolsters language proficiency while simultaneously cultivating cultural competence, a crucial element in healthcare. The project smoothly integrates into the existing curriculum. Students access ChatGPT via a specific platform, most likely Brightspace, with designated interaction times. The course instructor oversees this integration, providing targeted feedback on student interactions with the AI.

Aligned with the theme of Human Learning in an AI World, this project utilizes AI to augment human learning and skills development. It showcases AI's role as a potent tool in language and professional training, equipping students for the complex realities of healthcare and patient care in a multicultural environment.

Using AI-integrated Smartphone Apps to Assess Nutritional & Health Metrics

Marcia Henry (Biology)

Biol 4303, The Intersection of Nutritional Health, Immunity, and Disease examines the role of 'food as medicine' in preventing and treating chronic diseases. The module will expose students to Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) principles and its use in medicine for nutrition and disease prevention. Understanding the complexity of employing AI to assist in health care is essential for future scientists, engineers, and other medical (and nonmedical) professionals.

AI, Rights, and Responsibilities

Quincy Hodges (Mass Communications)

The project is an introduction level college course named "AI, Rights, and Responsibilities," which examines the digital age development of artificial intelligence as a new media technology and its profound impact on the media landscape and human interaction.

The course will critically examines the social, cultural, and ethical implications of AI technologies in various media contexts, encompassing fake news, advertising, entertainment, and social media. Through global case studies, legal and ethical discussions, and hands-on exploration of AI platforms, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the intricate relationship between human beings and AI. This project will function as a cross-disciplinary class open to students from all majors across campus due to its multidisciplinary approach.

Throughout the course, students will examine the impact of AI on media production, consumption, and cultural practices and this project addresses the evolving dynamics of human interaction in the context of AI. This understanding is crucial for individuals navigating a world where AI technologies play an increasingly prominent role.

Detailed Visualization in Hematology: An Effective Learning Approach Using AI

Shamonica King (Biology)

Hematology is known as the study of blood, its components, as well as the pathological diseases and disorders that are caused by internal or external factors. What is not immediately considered is how visuals taught in Hematology lab influence student learning in both the lecture and lab courses.

Traditionally, the use of a hematology atlas or online images are used when biological sources are not readily available. What if there was a less intrusive and less expensive, “on demand” alternative of utilizing hematologic visuals to help students comprehend the normal and pathological conditions in hematology? Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be the resource that we are looking for to aid in student learning.

New Despotism and AI Chatbot Learning

Daniella Mascarenhas (Political Science)

This project draws from Alexis de Tocqueville’s concept of new despotism developed in his seminal book Democracy in America (1840). Tocqueville warns that in democracies like the United States a new despotism will emerge where powerful state actors will appeal to citizens and gain their unwavering trust. Citizens in such a political society will blindly follow the instruction of these powerful political actors. My own research builds on Tocqueville’s new despotism and proposes a novel concept: “New Despotism 2.0.” New Despotism 2.0 asserts that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to act as despotic political figures and feed harmful political information to users. Users then consume this harmful information without question. This project will ask students to recognize the impact of New Despotism 2.0 by asking different chatbots (even chatbots purposefully programmed to be “evil”) to provide information on a salient political events or topic. Students will then compare and contrast the chatbot responses and independently locate sources that affirm the chatbot stances. Then students will evaluate if these sources are harmful or beneficial to a democratic society. Students will identify how AI can amalgamate pertinent political information while still judicially exercising their own critical thought when using AI.

The Use of AI in Biology

Harris McFerrin (Biology)

I propose to use the 2024 Mellon Foundation-supported Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars fellowship to increase the use artificial intelligence (AI) in my section of the BIOL4230 Biology Senior Capstone and in the current update of Biology 1240. The Biology Senior Capstone is a writing-intensive course in which students review primary research literature and present their analysis both in writing and in oral presentations. I plan to incorporate AI to demonstrate its utility and drawbacks in summarizing technical scientific material. Biology 1240 is a freshman-level general biology course accommodating approximately 600 students per year. Dr. Thomas Huckaba and I are currently revamping the course to use an open source text that we will be able to edit to cover the specific material that we want our students to know. In this course, I will use AI to generate variations of multiple choice questions and to assist with writing text for the textbook on subjects the instructors feel there is too little coverage currently.

Debating AI: Genetics & Human Reproduction

Sarah Meier (Philosophy)

I propose to replace a final essay assignment with an AI-assisted group presentation and debate within my regularly taught course, Health Ethics. Students, working in groups of 4-5, will be challenged to develop a set of prompts engaging with an assigned topic from our final course module on Genetics & Human Reproduction. They will then choose one prompt as the starting point for an in-class debate, where one half of the group will attempt to defend an AI-generated argument, and the other will argue in opposition.

This project engages human-centered learning while also exploring the potential for AI as a tool in the classroom. First, students will confront the limitations of AI within the prompt- development stage of this project. As with any tool, ChatGPT and other AI technologies are only as sophisticated as their users. The debate-stage then challenges students to elaborate upon and critique the best of their AI generated arguments while also honing their oral presentation and rhetorical skills. Finally, the class will work together in advance to develop a shared rubric for judging the debates and students will anonymously submit their evaluation of each in real-time, at the completion of each presentation.

AI-Enhanced Approach to Addressing HIV Disparities in At-Risk Populations

George Nawas (College of Pharmacy)

I am honored to apply for a Mellon Fellowship and be considered for the Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars (FaCTS) initiative. In response to the urgent need to address HIV disparities, I propose enhancing the elective course "HIV in At-Risk Populations," which I introduced as the founder and coordinator at Xavier University's College of Pharmacy. Following a successful pilot in Spring 2023 with five students, the course has expanded in its second iteration, now engaging eight passionate 3rd year pharmacy students. This 2-credit course is centered on studying and understanding HIV disparities, particularly in the South and Louisiana, with the goal of equipping students with actionable strategies. Integrating Artifical Intelligence (AI) into this course will elevate the learning experience, enabling personalized research on regional disparities and fostering a dynamic approach to addressing healthcare inequities. The project aligns with FaCTS' theme of "Human Learning in an AI World" by innovatively merging AI technology with the imperative task of reducing HIV disparities.

Creating CRWT 3050 Poetry Craft (with AI in Mind)

Biljana Obradovic (English)

I want to create a course, CR WT 3050 Poetry Craft. Having AI amongst us is a survival battle of "humans vs. the machine." Some writers have embraced AI and openly. others don't want anything to do with it. The same goes with teachers of creative writing-what to do? I would like to help students learn that struggling with writing is OK. What matters to creative writers is how they get there, the process, not only the final product. Al largely eliminates the process, so students who use AI won't be able to write on their own without it. Their instructors are needed ("no potential displacement of human instructors is needed") to abide by academic integrity in relation to AI (if used), to teach how to use it, instead of abuse it .... Artists and writers will use AI. I would like to have them write a sonnet on their own, then use Al to create another. I want them to ask questions such as: What does it mean to write and revise with Al? Comparing the two and with my help they will learn what a good sonnet is.

Enhancing General Physics Laboratories in Xavier University with AI

Michael Ogunbunmi (Physics and Computer Science)

The proposed project aims to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) predictive models into an existing general physics course. By leveraging AI techniques, we seek to enhance students’ understanding of fundamental physics concepts. The project will involve designing AI-driven laboratory experiments and learning materials that will enhance the learning of the students while also developing their capacity to meet the current realities of the AI-driven world. The project for the start will develop a machine-learning model using either linear regression, decision trees, or neural networks and will be trained and tested on datasets collected from our labs and students. The model's performance will be evaluated, fine-tuned, and optimized to prevent overfitting. Subsequently, some aspects of the lab handout will be modified and redesigned to provide useful step-by-step guides to students and instructors on how to use the developed virtual interface lab to perform experiments.

Exploring Black Experiences through Horror Storytelling

Laura Oliver (Art and Performance Studies)

This project invites students to explore the complexities of Blackness by crafting horror narratives using AI and everyday experiences. Drawing from personal stories, history, and contemporary discourse, students will create chilling tales that capture various aspects of Black life. Through this groundbreaking exploration, students merge storytelling, cultural critique, and AI technology. Horror serves as a lens to examine social, political, and existential challenges faced by Black individuals and communities, prompting audiences to confront uncomfortable truths. Additionally, the project fosters critical dialogue on representation and storytelling politics, challenging traditional authorship concepts. By embracing AI creatively, students amplify underrepresented voices in narratives, pushing the boundaries of performance and artistic expression. Ultimately, this project empowers students to shed light on the haunting realities and resilient spirit of Blackness through storytelling. This proposal outlines the objectives and methodology, highlighting its innovative approach to exploring Black experiences through horror storytelling and its impact on both participants and audiences.

Effects of Student Use of Al

Lisa Schulte-Gipson (Psychology)

This project will explore student use of AI and the effects of AI on well-being and depth of understanding of course material. The project will begin this spring with data collection from Positive Psychology (two sections with approximately 50 students total). Students will complete an assignment entailing viewing “Technology Shabbats” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRdMUhBPRjY). The assignment will include a reflection and questions regarding technology use for personal and class/assignment purposes, with class/assignment purposes focusing on use of AI to modify and/or generate content. This information will contribute to the development of a survey utilized in a SoTL project conducted in fall 2024/spring 2025. The project will examine correlations among technology use (both personal and class/assignment/AI), well-being, student performance, and (student) perceived depth of understanding of course material. Participation in the FaCTS cohort will facilitate understanding of the forms, benefits, and challenges associated with AI; and will thus inform the SoTL project. An immediate goal of FaCTS participation is the development of the initial assignment, summary of data collected via the assignment, and initial development of a survey of AI use. The long-term goal is an IRB proposal, research on the effects of AI use, and dissemination of associated findings.