All Posts By

Michael Christie

Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence in Business Education and Research Reading and Discussion Group

Join us for the second session of a Smeal series on the role of artificial intelligence in our teaching and research, which focused on our shared commitment to preparing leaders to leverage artificial intelligence responsibly in business.

Game Day Edition – Spring 2024 Special Edition

Smeal Academy Special Superbowl Weekend Edition – Game Day Teaching Strategies

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip the Smeal community with best practices and strategies for teaching and learning with technology to support Smeal’s business education and research needs. This newsletter provides a few “game day” strategies for face-to-face teaching and live, synchronous sessions.

Image Source: ChatGPT. (2024). A group of business school faculty members in football gear in the classroom [Digital image]. OpenAI DALL-E.

A 6-Pack of Game-Day Teaching Strategies

Strategy 1: Incorporate interactive and hands-on activities into your lessons. This can include group discussions, collaborative projects, experiments, or interactive simulations. Engaging students in active learning captures their interest and helps them apply and internalize the concepts being taught. This approach fosters a dynamic and participatory classroom environment, making the learning experience more enjoyable and memorable for students.

Strategy 2: You can never go wrong with encouraging conversation and collaboration in the classroom! Give students a discussion prompt to talk about in pairs or small groups. This can ease students into adopting the right mindset for the class and even help students feel more comfortable sharing in the classroom over time. Topics that focus on personal perspectives, insights, or reactions to the topic create a supportive and inclusive environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves. Need ideas for discussion prompts? Try using these free online cards.

Strategy 3: Consider “flipping” your classroom. Focus on creating purposeful pre-work that sets the stage for in-class engagement. Design relevant pre-class materials, such as pre-recorded videos or readings, and ensure they align with upcoming activities. During class time, use problem-solving or discussions rather than simply delivering content. Use technology tools for polling, collaboration, and feedback, and maintain flexibility in scheduling. The flipped classroom thrives on student participation and deeper understanding.

Strategy 4: How about problem-based learning (PBL)? PBL focuses on creating authentic and engaging experiences for students. Encourage students to apply your content while exploring real-world problems, collaborate, and apply their knowledge and skills to meaningful projects. PBL fosters critical thinking, creativity, and teamwork, preparing students for the complexities of the modern world.

Strategy 5: Consider collaborative notetaking! Encourage collaborative notetaking using tools like Google Docs or OneNote. Assign groups of students to take notes together during lectures, allowing them to collaborate in real-time and share their insights and questions.

Strategy 6: Use platforms like Poll Everywhere or Socrative to facilitate peer instruction during lectures. Pose multiple-choice questions or conceptual problems, and have students discuss their answers with their peers before voting on the correct response.


The eLDIG team is here for the Smeal community. If you want to discuss an idea or need for your course(s), please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation at eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Upcoming Session

Smeal Academy Session: Responsible use of Artificial Intelligence in Business Education and Research Reading and Discussion Group – Session Led by Ed Jenkins

Join us for the third session of a Smeal series on the role of artificial intelligence in our teaching and research, which will focus on our shared commitment to preparing leaders to leverage artificial intelligence responsibly in business. This session will be led by Professor Ed Jenkins, Professor of Practice in Accounting & Professor-In-Charge, in collaboration with the eLDIG team. Please join us on Thursday, February 29, 2024, 12-1 pm EST via Zoom.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous Smeal Academy sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Contact Us

Email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.

Student Wellness – Fall 2023 Newsletter 5

Smeal Academy Fall 2023 Connections Newsletter 5 – Student Wellness

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip the Smeal community with best practices and strategies for teaching and learning with technology to support Smeal’s business education and research needs. This newsletter provides some tips and pointers to support student wellness as we move through the semester.

Supporting Student Wellness

A recent survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse revealed that college students want their professors and advisers to be very involved in promoting their mental health and well-being. What does that mean for us as instructors? There are course design choices we can make that support our curricular goals while at the same time supporting student wellness. There are two approaches to this that we can explore:

  • Being flexible about assessment
  • Encouraging access to mental health resources

There are a couple of easy ways to make our assessments more flexible to reduce pressure on students and encourage healthier choices.

  • Avoid assessments worth fifty percent or more of the final grade. More frequent, lower-stakes assessments provide better pathways to durable learning and eliminate the pressure caused by high-stakes assessments. When employing this strategy, consider dropping students’ lowest score(s). Everyone has days that don’t go as well as others, and this approach can reduce the pressure students feel to perform at their highest level on every assessment.
  • Consider offering extra credit opportunities to offset lower scores. Extra credit might even be awarded to students who complete stress-reduction activities outside of class. An added benefit is that these approaches may reduce the likelihood of academic integrity violations.

Connecting students with mental health resources and regularly checking in with them about how they are doing are easy ways to stay on top of student well-being:

  • Find opportunities in class to talk about stressors and stress management and direct students to available resources.
  • Course syllabi should include a Counseling and Psychological Services Statement.
  • Consider adding additional information to your course materials, such as links to Penn State’s Health Promotion and Wellness or the Red Folder initiative. These resources provide a wide variety of offerings designed to support students at all levels and locations.

Penn State is offering a weekly webinar series from October 30 to December 4 to explore strategies to support student mental health and wellness.

Flaherty, C. (2023, July 17). Supporting Student Wellness: What’s Enough and What’s Too Much? Inside Higher Ed | Higher Education News, Events and Jobs.

Loving Life. (2023). Why are Wellness Wednesday Quotes Beneficial For Companies? [Image]. Health and Wellbeing. 


The eLDIG team is here for the Smeal community. If you want to discuss an idea or need for your course(s), please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation at eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Upcoming Sessions

Smeal Academy Session: Supporting Student Wellness Through Course Design on November 1 at 11am

A recent survey conducted by Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse revealed that college students want their professors and advisers to be very involved in promoting their mental health and well-being. What does that mean for us in higher education? In this session, we will share some easy teaching strategies that you can implement today to support students that might make your job a little easier, too. It will be recorded and made available on the eLDIG website following the session. Please join us on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST via Zoom.

Smeal Academy Session: Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence in Business Education and Research Reading and Discussion Group – Session 1

Join us for the first session of a Smeal series on the role of artificial intelligence in our teaching and research, which will focus on our shared commitment to prepare leaders to responsibly leverage artificial intelligence in business. This session will be led by Dr. Michelle Darnell, Director of the Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, in collaboration with the eLDIG team. Readings for Session 1 are available on SharePoint. Please join us on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, 10-11 am EST via Zoom. Be sure to mark your calendars for Session 2, led by Jiro Yoshida, on December 12th from 2-3 p.m.

eLDIG ID Tips

  • Tip #1: Stay Connected to Your Students. Our recent Smeal Academy Newsletter detailed a variety of communication strategies. Use the Canvas Gradebook “Message Students Who…” feature to reach out to students who are missing assignments or lagging behind. A caring message can go a long way in helping struggling students feel seen.
  • Tip #2: Clarify Expectations. You can reduce student (and instructor) confusion about assignment expectations with rubrics and work samples. This eLDIG Assessment Series video will help you learn more about Canvas rubric design. You may also consider providing work samples by anonymizing and asking permission to share work samples from prior semesters.

Canvas New Quizzes

Instructure has implemented some of the changes Penn State and other institutions requested, and we are re-entering the preview period for New Quizzes. The updated timeline is as follows. Please note that we will not be able to deliver quizzes to students using the New Quizzes platform until at least Fall 2024. The eLDIG team is not aware of any discussions about discontinuing the use of Classic Canvas Quizzes.
new quizzes timeline

Contact Us

Email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.

Course Communication Tips – Fall 2023 Newsletter 3

Smeal Academy Fall 2023 Connections Newsletter 3 – Course Communication Tips

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip the Smeal community with best practices and strategies for teaching and learning with technology to support Smeal’s business education and research needs. This newsletter provides some tips, pointers, and best practices to elevate course communication as we move through the semester.

Image Source: Nimbus Platform

Creating and Sharing a Communications Plan

Establishing and maintaining clear, consistent communication through defined channels is an essential strategy in your course design that allows your students to focus on learning. But what are the best channels for you, and how do you communicate effectively?

Students need clear guidelines for communicating with you and their peers as they navigate your course. Planning to manage your own communication and communicating the details will eliminate anxieties and help students concentrate on the lesson content. Here are some tips for creating and sharing a communications plan for your course(s):

  • Set expectations: Let your students know when and how they can reach you, and make this clear to them in your syllabus or on your Canvas home page. Be sure to include when students can expect to receive a response. If your students know that you will respond within 24-36 hours, it is less likely you will receive repeat emails. Make the timeline realistic for your workload.
  • Establish communication channels: Make strategic choices about which communication tools you will use. You could use announcements to send messages to the whole class, use the Canvas inbox to message an individual student, or create a discussion board to create a thread to crowdsource information among your students.
  • Set notification preferences: Be sure to inform your students to update and set their notification preferences in Canvas to ensure they receive your course communications in a manner of their choosing–and be sure to set your notifications, too!
  • Make a plan: Identify key points in the semester when students need reminders, advice, and encouragement. Regular communication with students shows your engagement with the course and helps students stay up to date in a course even if they need to miss a class.
  • Identify efficiencies: Even though emails to students can be sent anytime, don’t allow them to take up all your time! Instead of responding to many individual student emails, find ways to answer student questions en masse. This might include weekly Canvas Announcements to the whole class, curating a list of FAQs as student questions come in, or creating a Canvas Discussion where you, TAs/TSSs, and students can all respond to questions.
  • Set the tone: Use plain language and avoid technical jargon or commands (except when necessary for the course discipline). Address your audience directly and switch out common terms for more inclusive language. Try to provide tips, resources, and suggestions that could help any student.
  • Make communications accessible: Keep messages focused, frequent, and actionable while using inclusive and affirming language. Be sure you are also using accessible headers and proper formatting.
  • Maintain student privacy: FERPA requires that student information such as assignments, grades, and communications are handled safely to protect confidentiality.
  • Student interaction guidelines: Regularly communicating your expectations around respectful and productive class interactions can help create a safe learning environment for students. Commenting positively (e.g., “That is a great question”) when students interact to advance collegial discussions of course topics can also help signal the types of interactions you want to encourage in the classroom.

As we learn more about emerging technologies like ChatGPT and ways to integrate them into teaching and learning, the eLDIG team is here for the Smeal community. If you want to discuss an idea or need for your course(s), please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation at eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Canvas Tools

  • Canvas Learning Analytics: Provides information about how students are using the site. This information can be useful for reaching out to students who may be inactive or who may have difficulty accessing materials. Of course, analytics do not tell the full story of a student’s learning experience, so it is best used in combination with student feedback.
  • Canvas Inbox: Message students from your class. You can even use smart filtering to message all students from a single section or students in a specific class group.
  • Canvas Announcements: Create announcements to notify your class of important and timely information. Announcements posted before a course is published will not be pushed to students’ notifications.
  • Speed Grader: Leave comments in multiple formats, including text, audio, and video. You can also create a comment library to include the same language for multiple students.
  • Gradebook “Message Students Who…”: You can bulk email students using “Message Student Who” to send targeted messages to students. Messages can be sent based on various assignment statuses.

Upcoming Sessions

Smeal Academy Session: Policy 42-27, Election Day, and Contingency Planning

Did you know there’s a new Faculty Senate guideline in Policy 42-27 stating that “Instructors should provide, within reason, pedagogical and curricular necessity, the opportunity for a day consisting solely of remote asynchronous instruction on a November election day?” In this session, we will share some strategies and best practices for asynchronous instruction and contingency planning for those days and times when plans change and instruction must go on. This session is designed for instructors and staff who support Canvas courses. Join us on Friday, October 13th at 9 am via Zoom. This session will be recorded and made available on the eLDIG website following the session.

Tariff Center Smeal Academy Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence in Business Education and Research Reading and Discussion Group – Group Times for Session 1

Join us for the first session of a Smeal series on the role of artificial intelligence in our teaching and research, which will focus on our shared commitment to prepare leaders to responsibly leverage artificial intelligence in business. This session will be led by Dr. Michelle Darnell, Director of the Tariff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility, in collaboration with the eLDIG team. Details about readings will be included in the meeting invitation.

  • Option 1: Monday, October 16th at 9 am
  • Option 2: Wednesday, November 8th at 10 am

Smeal Academy Session: Universal Design for Student Wellness.

Course design and teaching strategies to support student wellness and mental health. This will be a follow-up to our Summer Book Club that read Mind Over Monsters. Join us on Thursday, October 24th at Noon via Zoom. This session will be recorded and made available on the eLDIG website following the session.

Smeal Academy Artificial Intelligence (AI) + Academic Integrity (AI) Hackathon.

Artificial Intelligence teaching and learning hackathon using design thinking strategies to develop solutions to the AI + AI challenge. This will be a different kind of activity where we will have a kickoff and wrap-up meeting. In between these meetings, working teams will be formed and work together to design solutions to integrate AI teaching and learning strategies and resources into our courses while ensuring that academic integrity remains a top priority. We will refine and define the problem statement at our kickoff meeting with a design-thinking exercise led by Dr. Jeanette Miller and will then form teams to begin our work. We are looking for multi-disciplinary faculty and staff to join us to ensure a holistic, integrated approach to solving this issue we all face. Please email renee@psu.edu if you’d like to be involved in the hackathon. All faculty and staff who support courses are welcome and will be invited to participate. Please hold the dates of 10/20 from 12-1:30 pm and 11/10 from 1-2:30 pm.

Smeal Academy Sessions in the Works

We are planning a couple of sessions and are finalizing the details as of the writing of this newsletter. Here are the sessions we’ll be sharing more about soon:

  • Supporting Students with Learning Differences: Student accommodations and strategies that will help support the needs of diverse learners.
  • Request a Topic: Is there something you’d like us to discuss in an upcoming Smeal Academy Session? Contact us, and we will take it under advisement in our planning.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous Smeal Academy sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

eLDIG ID Tips

  • Tip #1: Utilize Anonymous Mid-Semester Feedback Surveys. Implementing anonymous course feedback surveys mid-semester allows instructors to gather candid input from students about the course’s effectiveness and areas for improvement. This can be gathered using Qualtrics or Microsoft Forms. If you need a Qualtrics account, please email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu.
  • Tip #2: Activate Anthology Ally Course Accessibility Report. The University launched a new accessibility tool. Want to see your course score? Here’s how to enable a course accessibility report.

Contact Us

Email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.

AI + AI – Fall 2023 Newsletter 2

Smeal Academy Fall 2023 Connections Newsletter 2 – AI + AI

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip the Smeal community with best practices and strategies for teaching and learning with technology to support Smeal’s business education and research needs. This newsletter provides some considerations related to Academic Integrity and Artificial Intelligence and some practical teaching and learning tips as we move through the semester. The following meme was clearly not about Smeal faculty or students 😊, but it made us laugh, so we are sharing it with you

Image Source: Reddit

A Message from Michelle Darnell, Director of Honor and Integrity

Many early conversations about the presence of ChatGPT in higher education have been focused on the current–and anticipated–capabilities of this program, and rightly so, as we seek to understand exactly how this technology can impact our personal and professional lives. Nonetheless, leadership through challenges that will come with the increased presence of artificial intelligence in higher ed will require consideration of and action related to the continuous development of the culture that helps define our college. To be clear, there are legitimate concerns about how the integrity of assessing a student can be corrupted because of the inappropriate use of ChatGPT. It must also be acknowledged that ChatGPT is–and likely will continue to play a part in–ushering in a new era of types of academic violations as well as considering new approaches to assessment. In the midst of artificial intelligence evolution, how our college approaches the undeniable role of technology in education is critical.

Anyone who has worked as a faculty member in higher education for more than a year understands never-ending frustrations with academic integrity violations. Frustrations arguably originate with students finding a new technique (often driven by technology, but also historically often involving some entrepreneurial spirit who has found a way to monetize ‘helping’ others) to achieve what they, unfortunately, see as the most important (short-term) end of their education: earning an ‘A’ on some assessment. The response is often faculty and administrators in higher education finding a technique to stymie student attempts to cheat the system that faculty desire to maintain. The result, one could argue, is a never-ending arms race, a competition between students and faculty for superiority in the development and accumulation of weapons to dismantle or sustain the status quo. ChatGPT is, in many conversations, being framed as the weapon faculty must currently disarm. However, introducing new technology into our world need not be the occasion for escalation in a “war” with our students; it can be an invitation to reassess and strengthen the very ‘why’ that drives higher education.

I encourage you to share resources that you find helpful or interesting with others through a ChatGPT for Business Education LinkedIn group that I co-manage or communicate with me directly with questions or suggestions related specifically to Smeal’s commitment to honor and integrity. In conjunction with other units within Smeal, I look forward to engaging with you through a planned series of workshops on teaching and learning in this era of rapid developments in artificial intelligence.

Challenges for using AI in your Classroom

Integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) like ChatGPT and others into your classroom can be a bit scary and challenging. What are some challenges you might encounter?

  • People have raised concerns for student academic integrity as well as for the longer-term impact on student motivation, engagement, and knowledge retention. Reflect on the threats and opportunities you perceive for your teaching and work from AI, and plan for these challenges
  • Teachers unfamiliar with AI may find it difficult to integrate this technology into their teaching practices, and they may need support and training to get started. Please reach out to eLDIG for support if you have this challenge.
  • AI may deepen the existing inequalities and divides because disadvantaged populations might get excluded from AI-powered education, resulting in a digital divide. Equity and inclusion should become the core values when designing policies.

Sources: Considerations for Using AI in the Classroom by Laura Schmidli , University of Wisconsin- Madison and Source: Incorporating Artificial Intelligence Into The Classroom: An Examination Of Benefits, Challenges, and Best Practices by Nouridin Melo and Source: Top 5 Challenges of Adopting AI in Education by Artificial Intelligence Board of America

Best Practices for using AI in your Classroom

The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) like ChatGPT and others into your classroom can affect the way students learn and teachers teach. So what are some Best Practices for using it?

  • Add a syllabus statement. Check out these sample syllabus statements from Penn State’s AI, Pedagogy, and Academic Integrity working group.
  • Consider revisions to your assignments. Making your questions more personal, reflective, specific, local, or complex (i.e., requiring higher-order thinking) may make it more difficult for students to use AI to complete adequately. But more importantly, these changes can make your questions more interesting and valuable to your students.
  • Consider data and privacy policies. Before using ChatGPT or any other third-party tool in the classroom, instructors and students should review the data retention and privacy policies. For ChatGPT, the OpenAI FAQ is helpful. Using ChatGPT requires creating an account using an email address and a cell phone number. When designing an assignment where students can use ChatGPT, always provide an alternative for students who don’t want to share their data with a third-party tool (i.e., students shouldn’t have to share their data to be successful). Alternatives could include making part of the assignment optional, the instructor engaging with the AI on behalf of students, students using a different AI language model that does not require personal information, or students using another supplemental source (e.g., interview with a person, responses on social media, review article, etc.) in place of ChatGPT.
  • Identify and communicate opportunities in your course. Some students are already using AI on their own. By acknowledging and working with AI, we can guide students in considering the capabilities of these tools, surface differing opinions among students around fairness, and help them align use of these tools with their own ethical frameworks.

Source: Considerations for Using AI in the Classroom by Laura Schmidli , University of Wisconsin- Madison

As we learn more about emerging technologies like ChatGPT and ways to integrate them into teaching and learning, the eLDIG team is here for the Smeal community. If you want to discuss an idea or need for your course(s), please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation at eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Upcoming Sessions

Responsible use of Artificial Intelligence in Business Education and Research Reading and Discussion Group

Join us for the first session of a Smeal series on the role of artificial intelligence in our teaching and research, which will focus on our shared commitment to prepare leaders to responsibly leverage artificial intelligence in business. This session will be led by Dr. Michelle Darnell, Director of the Tarriff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility in collaboration with the eLDIG team. Learn more about this first session and indicate your interest in participating in this informal reading and discussion group by completing this AI in BizEd Reading and Discussion Group Sign-Up Form.

Smeal Academy Sessions in the Works

We are planning a couple of sessions and are finalizing the details as of the writing of this newsletter. Here are the sessions we’ll be sharing more about soon:

  • Universal Design for Student Wellness. Course design and teaching strategies to support student wellness and mental health. This will be a follow-up to our Summer Book Club that read Mind Over Monsters.
  • Supporting Students with Learning Differences. Student accommodations and strategies that will help support the needs of diverse learners.
  • AI + AI hackathon. Artificial Intelligence teaching and learning hackathon using design thinking strategies to develop solutions to the AI + AI challenge. This will be a different kind of session where we will have a kickoff and wrap-up meeting. In between these meetings, working teams will be formed and work together to design solutions for an ethically sound framework to integrate AI tools into our teaching and learning processes while ensuring that academic integrity remains a top priority. We will refine and define the problem statement at our kickoff meeting. We are looking for multi-disciplinary faculty and staff to join us to ensure a holistic, integrated approach to solve this issue we all face. Please email renee@psu.edu if you’d like to be involved in leading the hackathon. All faculty and staff who support courses are welcome and will be invited to participate in the hackathon.

eLDIG ID Tips

Tip #1: Need to find a time to schedule a meeting and sick of having to toggle between Doodle and your Outlook calendar? You can use Microsoft’s FindTime Poll. Meeting Organizers can get started by creating a meeting in Outlook, adding your attendees, and then click the “Scheduling Poll” button. You can see and select all possible meeting times and attendees can indicate their preferences. You’ll never use Doodle again!
Tip #2: Canvas regularly releases feature updates. For example, the long-awaited delayed publish function for Canvas pages was deployed in October 2022. You can learn about new Canvas releases by clicking the “Help” button in the Canvas navigation sidebar. Canvas Help Button Scroll down to find release notes.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous Smeal Academy sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Contact Us

Email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.

5 Semester Start-Up Tips – Fall 2023 Newsletter 1

Smeal Academy Fall 2023 Connections Newsletter 1: 5 Beginning of Semester Tips

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip the Smeal community with best practices and strategies for teaching and learning with technology to support Smeal’s business education and research needs. This newsletter provides resources, tips, and pointers as we begin the semester.

Happy First Day of Classes

Welcome back! The eLDIG team hopes you’re all recharged and excited for the Fall semester at Smeal. WE ARE… thrilled to work together with the Smeal Community as we gear up for another semester of collaborations in teaching and learning. Remember, eLDIG isn’t just a team – we’re a resource to support the college. From course design to tech tips to engaging learning strategies, we’re here to support the entire Smeal community.

We know this is a “crazy-busy” week, so we will keep this message short, focusing on a few short tips for the start of the semester. Let’s make the Fall 2023 semester one for the books!

5 Semester Start-up Tips from the eLDIG Team

  • ‘Message Students Who’ – Many courses use orientation tasks to increase student accountability and awareness of key course information. Taking a moment to message students who have not completed these tasks communicates to students that you are actively monitoring the course and encourages their engagement, early on.
  • ChatGPT – Consider mentioning your policy about Artificial Intelligence tools like ChatGPT to your students. Here’s a sample statement from the new DBA program. Please feel free to adapt this for your course(s):

    Artificial Intelligence and Online Homework Sites

    Unless your instructor tells you otherwise, you must complete all coursework entirely on your own, using only sources that have been permitted by your instructor, and you may not assist other students with papers, quizzes, exams, or other assessments. If your instructor allows you to use ideas, images, or word phrases created by another person (e.g., from Course Hero or Chegg) or by generative technology, such as ChatGPT, you must identify their source. You may not submit false or fabricated information, use the same academic work for credit in multiple courses, or share instructional content. Students with questions about academic integrity should ask their instructor before submitting work.

  • Syllabus Tab – Check your Canvas course syllabus tab (even if, for some reason, you don’t use it) to see assignments and event dates. You may find some items that need to be updated or deleted that you didn’t notice before.
  • Anthology Ally – Check out our Smeal Academy Session Recording: Anthology Ally Basics where we explored the university’s new Canvas accessibility tool, Ally. During the session, we reviewed Ally’s on-demand, student alternative-format download options as well as faculty and course accessibility tools. You can also check out previous Smeal Academy sessions and newsletters on the eLDIG site. Throughout the year, we will offer regular Smeal Academy sessions and resources targeted to address your teaching and learning needs. More about this next week!
  • Syllabus, Part 2 – Do you struggle to keep up with syllabus policies? eLDIG keeps a Smeal Residential Syllabus, Part 2 up-to-date based on the semester instructions from Undergraduate Programs. You are welcome to use this for your syllabi now or in the future.

We will be in touch next week with more Smeal Academy News. Have a great week!

Contact Us

Email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.

Anthology Ally in Canvas Courses

Smeal Academy Special Edition: Anthology Ally Information for Faculty and Staff who use Canvas

You may have noticed red, green, and yellow icons and the letter A with an arrow beside it in Canvas pages for your Fall 2023 courses. The University recently turned on a Canvas feature called Ally. Ally supports Penn State’s mission to create inclusive learning environments. The tool helps improve access for all students while guiding faculty and course admins to make content more inclusive.

Ally integrates into Canvas and provides students with the ability to tailor their learning experience to their needs and preferences. When they click on the “A” Alternative Format Link, students can open and download course materials in alternative formats, such as HTML, ePub, audio, language translation, and electronic braille. Below is an example of what students (and you) see when you click on the Alternative format link:

Ally provides faculty with a tool that spots accessibility barriers for students and provides guidance on how to improve the usability of course content.

Here is an Overview of Ally video. You can read more about the benefits of the tool on the Penn State Anthology Ally webpage.

What should you know about Anthology Ally?

  • Content items within Canvas are provided in alternative formats to students on demand. They require NO ACTION from the instructor.
  • Alternative formats are not just valuable to students who request an accommodation. For example, a busy parent might find it helpful to listen to an audio version of the content while commuting.
  • An accessibility indicator is attached to each course and content item within the course. The indicator reflects how accessible (0-100%) that item is for students. This accessibility indicator is NEVER visible to students.
  • Clicking on the accessibility indicator provides guidance on how to improve the usability of your course materials. You can significantly increase the accessibility of your course materials quickly using the tool.
  • This is what the accessibility indicators mean:
    • Green with an arrow  to the right is good or perfect.
    • Orange with an arrow  to the middle  indicates moderate issues.
    • Red  with an arrow  to the left  indicates major issues.


How can you get the most from the Anthology Ally tool?

  • Open an alternative format of a content item in your course.
  • Demonstrate how to access alternative formats for your students. (Be sure to use student view, so you don’t show the accessibility indicators.)
  • Click on the accessibility indicators in your course to view the guidance on improving the usability of your course materials.

Contact eLDIG for Support/Questions & Upcoming Smeal Academy Session

If you have questions or would like support in improving your course accessibility, please email us at: eldig@smeal.psu.edu and we will schedule a time to discuss your needs and questions. Additionally, we are holding a Smeal Academy Session about Anthology Ally on Wednesday, August 9th at 9 am (calendar invites are coming soon). The session will be recorded and shared on the eLDIG website.

AI Battles – Spring 2023 Newsletter 2

Smeal Academy Spring 2023 Connections Newsletter 2 – Artificial Intelligence and Academy Integrity: The Battle of the AIs

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip the Smeal Community with best practices and strategies for teaching and learning with technology to support Smeal’s business education and research needs. This newsletter provides resources, tips, and pointers as we move through the semester.

(Meme created by an AI Meme Generator, Supermeme.ai)

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the use of artificial intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT, in academic settings. These tools, which can generate large amounts of text that is difficult to distinguish from human-written text, can be used to cheat on assignments and exams. However, there are steps that educators can take to detect and prevent cheating, such as using plagiarism detection software and having a clear policy in place regarding the use of AI-assisted tools. It is important to use AI responsibly and to be aware of its limitations, particularly when it comes to generating content that will be distributed to a wide audience.

Did that introductory paragraph make sense? If so, we must confess that we cheated. We “wrote” it using ChatGPT. And if you have been paying attention to the headlines, you know that ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools make it much easier to cheat on written assignments. The eLDIG team has been experimenting with AI tools and evaluating their impact for Smeal. The subject is so important that we have scheduled a Smeal Academy session devoted to the topic on March 23rd at 12:00. But given headlines like ChatGPT passes MBA exam given by a Wharton professor, we wanted to provide quick tips to help you in the classroom right now.

The tools and their outputs are getting stronger and better in measurements of days and weeks (not months or years), so it is imperative that we wrap our human heads around their AI capabilities. (And rest assured, except for the first paragraph, all text in this newsletter was written by an actual human being.)

5 things to do now about AI Tools like ChatGPT

  • Don’t panic. As with anything, results may vary. Our experimentation has shown some ChatGPT results to be laughable and easily spotted. Some results are decent at first glance but wouldn’t pass any basic grading process. The problem is that some results are very high quality and could fool many of us. If you are concerned that AI tools could jeopardize the academic integrity of your assessments, brainstorm with the Instructional Designers at eLDIG (eldig@smeal.psu.edu) to come up with alternatives that might be more AI-proof. Sometimes subtle changes make a big difference.
  • Add a Syllabus Statement. Put a clear statement on your syllabus (or make an announcement to the class) about the use of AI tools and ChatGPT in your course. Formal language is in the works at both the Smeal and Penn State University levels and will be available soon. For now, make sure your students know if AI use constitutes a violation of academic integrity in your course. What are your policies and what are the possible outcomes if you suspect AI use? And if AI use is permitted in limited or creative ways, how should the resulting text be cited?
  • Test it out. Get an account and play around with ChatGPT (or other tools) and your assignments. What do they do well in your subject area and assignments? What do they do poorly? If you prompt ChatGPT with one of your writing assignments, what does it typically return? You will be more able to spot possible AI use by students if you are familiar with the range of outcomes that ChatGPT provides. Also, one thing that we realized when testing ChatGPT was that it cannot provide current citations, however, it sometimes provides old (or fake?) ones. A quick Google search showed that most links or sources provided came up as 404 Not Found Errors. And ChatGPT did give the caveat that some sources might not be real, although they appeared very convincing. So, check student sources too!
  • Talk with students. Have a frank discussion with your students about the tools. Are they using them? What do they think? Have they seen limitations? Students are often our best experts in new technologies and their opinions may surprise you. And don’t think writing is the only subject impacted. It is likely that your students are seeing (and using?) AI tools for image generation, code creation, and multiple other uses that impact their coursework.
  • Do some research. Read up on how to spot student use of AI and emerging tools to help. Here are some good articles and places to start:

Quick Ways to Make AI Less Attractive to Students

  • Focus on current events if possible. For now, ChatGPT uses data from 2021 and before. It does not tackle current events well or even at all.
  • Flip the script and think about embracing ChatGPT. For example, you could give students a writing assignment and tell them to use ChatGPT. Their assignment is to then grade the writing product and pick out factual errors, biases, or problems with the final product. Ask them how they would improve upon ChatGPT’s output.
  • Focus writing assignments on an iterative process rather than the end result. Make students show evidence of their work along the way including research notes, outlines, and rough drafts. At the end, ask them to write a personal reflection to sum up what they learned during the process. Or throw students curveballs halfway through the writing process. Ask them to integrate citations or references that aren’t well-represented in current data on that subject.
  • Ditch the tech. If class size allows, you might ask students to perform writing tasks in person without technology. Blue Books, anyone? Alternatively, ask students to write an outline for a writing assignment during class (without notes or technology) and turn it in. After you have graded the outline, the student can write the essay using technology, but only using that outline as the basis. It is much more difficult to force ChatGPT to write to a specific script or outline.
  • Oral Exams. Reserve the right to give a student an oral exam to evaluate their work if you suspect unapproved AI use. Ask students about specific terms used in their work and why they chose a certain citation or angle.
  • Security through obscurity. Get bogged down in the details (in a good way). Ask students to focus their writing assignments for very specific audiences. Or use fictitious company names or your own original case studies as background for questions. The more obscure the details or background, the less chance the answers that ChatGPT provides will make sense.

It is a brave new world out there, and we all know that various technologies have disrupted the educational process before. Calculators, spell check, the computer, and even the blackboard were once thought to be the end of education as we know it. But as we have witnessed, the tools became integrated in the learning process, and we have all managed to keep teaching and learning with them. So, back to the first point: Don’t panic.

The eLDIG team is here for the Smeal community. If you want to discuss an idea or need for your course(s), please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation at eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy Session: Leveraging Media to Increase Student Engagement
    Come to this session where we will explore strategies and tools to increase student engagement and take your content creation to the next level. We will discuss faculty- and student-created content as well as tools and tips to enhance your course media game while maximizing the accessibility of your course content. Please join us Wednesday, February 15 at Noon EST via Zoom.
  • Smeal Academy Session: Artifical Intelligence and the Future of Learning
    If ChatGPT passed a Wharton MBA exam, could ChatGPT pass Smeal classes? ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools make it much easier to cheat on assessments. The eLDIG team has been experimenting with AI tools and evaluating their impact for Smeal. Please join us as we discuss the brave, new world of Artificial Intelligence and Academic Integrity. Please join us Thursday, March 23 at Noon EST via Zoom.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

eLDIG ID Tips

  • Tip #1: Tip #1:  Explore ChatGPT for Your Discipline .
    Ask ChatGPT some discipline-specific questions to become familiar with the tool. Or, if you’re brave, see how it does on one of your actual course assessments – you might be surprised.
  • Tip #2: Set up Thresholds in Starfish .
    To make Starfish reporting easier, be sure to set up your grading thresholds in Starfish (and your gradebook and grading scheme in Canvas). Check out this Knowledge Base article for instructions. Students have indicated that Starfish feedback helps them better understand how they’re doing in classes, and it also supports advisors as they guide their advisees which is particularly important as we approach the late drop deadline.

Contact Us

Email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.

Springing Into the Spring Semester – Spring 2023 Newsletter 1

Smeal Academy Spring 2023 Connections Newsletter 1 – Springing into a New Semester

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip the Smeal Community with best practices and strategies for teaching and learning with technology to support Smeal’s business education and research needs. This newsletter provides resources, tips, and pointers as we move through the semester.

eLDIG’s 5 Things

5 Things from the eLDIG Team:

As we get started with a new semester, we wanted to share the following five things with the Smeal community:

  1. eLDIG has welcomed three new team members:
    1. Chris Coyne, Instructional Designer, joined the team on October 3 and came to us from Penn State’s Ag Extension.
      Fun fact about Chris: He’s related to Grace Kelly (his great-grandmother was a Kelly) and has been to Greenland.
    2. Francesca Joyce, Multimedia Specialist, joined the team on December 5 and came to us from Geisinger’s Commonwealth School of Medicine.
      Fun fact about Francesca: When she was younger, she wanted to be a horse veterinarian but after spending a summer at horse camp decided to choose a different (less smelly) career path!
    3. Whitney Chirdon, Instructional Designer focusing on executive programs, joined the team on December 12 and came to us from Penn State’s School of Public Policy.
      Fun fact about Whitney: She produced and hosted a TV show about Downtown Abbey called After Abbey. Whitney has also only attended Penn State sports games while producing talent as a stage manager or in the production truck for ESPN, BTN, ABC, and FOX sports. She did run on the field with the Blue Band during a game while producing a documentary.
  2. Check out eLDIG’s new video assessment series. Topics include:
    1. Assessment basics
    2. Formative and summative assessments
    3. Assessment best practices
    4. Writing quality exam questions
    5. Canvas quizzing
    6. Exam security
    7. Alternatives to exams
    8. Rubrics
  3. Top Hat’s new “Presentation Tool” that mimics the “quick polling” iClicker functionality is now available in General Purpose Classrooms at Penn State. Quick polling allows a PowerPoint slide to be the basis of a poll – if you want to learn more, reach out to us and we’re happy to help get you started.
  4. Just a quick note that Canvas courses will be archived on January 24th. All LionPATH courses taught prior to, and including, Fall 2021 and ALL non-LionPATH courses, regardless of creation date, including Master, Manually Created, Sandbox courses, and Prides will be archived unless you opt-out.
  5. Do you struggle to keep up with syllabus policies? eLDIG keeps a Smeal Residential Syllabus, Part 2 up to date based on the semester instructions from Undergraduate Programs. You are welcome to use this for your syllabi now or in the future.

The eLDIG team is here for the Smeal community. If you want to discuss an idea or need for your course(s), please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation at eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy Session: Let’s Talk – Course Discussion Tools and Strategies
    Come learn about tools, best practices, and strategies for online course discussions. We will give an overview of Canvas, Packback, Piazza, and Yellowdig discussion tools. Come with your questions and input for our discussion! Join us Friday, January 27, 2023, 9 to10 a.m. EST via Zoom.
    NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.
  • Register Now for the 2023 TLT Symposium on March 18, 2023
    The Penn State Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology is an annual event to showcase ways that technology can be used to enhance teaching, learning, and research. Our intent is to give faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to share how they are using technology in unique ways, network with other colleagues, and generate new project ideas.The TLT Symposium is a free event that welcomes all Penn State faculty, staff, and students. Please be sure to use your Penn State email when registering.

eLDIG Teaching and Learning Tips

Contact Us

Email us at eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.