Author: Joshua M. Paiz
Date published: 2024
Course level: First Year
Course title: UW 1020: Composing in/for an AI-rich World
Course description: In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly prominent role in various aspects of our lives, including writing and composition. In this course, students will explore the intersection of AI tools, rhetoric, and composition, aiming to develop a nuanced understanding of how we can effectively integrate these tools while upholding the value of human expertise. This section of University Writing begins by immersing students in the world of AI and its implications for composition processes. This work will be supported by drawing on critical texts such as Frank Pasquale’s New Laws of Robotics and Kate Crawford’s The Atlas of AI. Students will critically examine AI adoption’s ethical, social, and cultural dimensions in writing and knowledge-work practices by engaging with these texts. These texts will provide a foundation for discussions on the responsible and mindful integration of AI tools in writing processes. Throughout the course, students can experiment with various AI-based writing tools, analyze their strengths and limitations, and reflect on their implications for creativity, authorship, and intellectual property. Students will also explore how AI can assist in generating ideas, improving grammar and style, and providing feedback on drafts.
The course will foster an understanding of the importance of balancing AI assistance and human expertise in composing. Students will delve into topics such as the ethical considerations of AI-generated content, the impact of AI on authorial agency, and the potential biases embedded in AI algorithms. As students engage in hands-on activities, critical discussions, and reflective writing, they will develop their abilities to navigate and leverage the AI-rich composition landscape. By the end of the course, students will have a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges that arise when composing in an AI-rich world, enabling them to make informed decisions about integrating AI tools while preserving the essence of human expression and creativity. Utilizing a writing-as-inquiry approach, students in this section of UW will practice composing in an array of genres—from informal discussion forum posts to explore initial ideas to crafting operationalized definitions to create lenses for later inquiry that will become crystalized in a formal research paper. Note: This course assumes no prior knowledge of AI or technical expertise. It welcomes students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds who are interested in exploring the intersection of AI and composition in contemporary society.
Course philosophy/motivation: For this course, I have two main drivers for my teaching philosophy. First, that we’re better together. That is, we each have unique perspectives and experiences, so we’ll make more progress more effectively in the class if we’re all working together throughout the process. For me, this means finding ways to center and amplify student voices both in the classroom and beyond. Second, is the notion of inculcating critical AI literacy through directed inquiry.