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In May, CAT+FD hosted a week-long seminar focused on Human Learning in an AI World (generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation).

For those who were unable to attend, we have collected the seminar resources on the CAT Base wiki for your reference. Check them out! By staying informed and embracing innovative approaches, we can continue to provide our students with meaningful learning experiences and serve our shared mission.

Feel free to reach out to CAT+FD (or any of the seminar participants that are listed on the wiki page) if you have any questions.

young black woman looking at a computer screen

A misconception about 21st-century students is that they are proficient with all technology, even in the absence of clear instructions. Many students know how to use online platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook for fun, but have no idea how to leverage them for academic or professional use.

In an article in the Times Higher Education, Elizabeth Losh says universities must stop presuming that all students are tech-savvy. Many educators assume that young people are digital natives and they should know how to use technology. Gen Z may be savvy about using social media personally. However, they are not as savvy about how to use tech tools academically or professionally.

I don't appreciate when professors just assume because we are young we know how to use this stuff...we are learning with y'all. - Anonymous Xavier Student

In feedback from some Xavier students, they stated that their professors assume they know how to use Brightspace when in fact they do not. To better serve our students, faculty should not assume students are digital natives. Instructors can help students learn the basics for the tools that will be used in their course by providing them links to how-to resources.

Did you know that we have a list of Brightspace how-to resources for students on our CAT FooD blog? You can find Brightspace how-to resources at the following links:

Additionally, here's an example of how you might include how-to instructions for a discussion forum in your Brightspace course:

example of a Q&A discussion forum
Example of Q&A discussion forum with instructions on how to post to the forum

In this example, instructions for the Q&A forum are provided along with instructions on how to post to the forum as well as a link to a how-to video.

Including information on how to use course tools will go a long way to helping students to be successful in your course.

Image credit: image by Aspen from Nappy

[Camtasia Logo]

For those just tuning in, Camtasia is a tool for making videos by recording from your screen and camera. A common use for teachers is to record short lectures. What's more, Xavier faculty have access to a site license for Camtasia.

In addition to the software, we also have access to TechSmith's tech support, as well as their excellent and extensive library of training materials.

So what are you waiting for? Yes, you can download and install Camtasia now. Here's the link. (You may want to check the system requirements first.) You'll find a few tips about using Camtasia on the CAT Base wiki.

Please note: You will need a Camtasia License key to unlock the software beyond the free trial period. To get the key, please contact me, Bart Everson. You can send me an email: bpeverso at you-know-where.

Robot teacher by Tumisu via Pixabay

In our two-day “bootcamp,” Xavier faculty explored the potential benefits and risks of artificial intelligence (AI), including the use of AI to improve their teaching and research.

really engaging (and intermittently mind-blowing) ... the best 8 hours I spent this semester

anonymous participant

We hope that even faculty who were unable to attend may have a similar experience, and so we are providing some videos and resources on CAT Base, the new and improved CAT+FD wiki.

Find it all here:

This article was originally published on Psychology Teacher Network, the premiere quarterly publication of the American Psychological Association's Center for Education in Psychology. It covers much of the same ground as our workshop of 9 February 2023 — see our wiki for video and resources.

I found out the world was ending about eight weeks before everyone else.

Last September, I started seeing advertisements for an artificial intelligence (AI). No, it wasn't ChatGPT. It was called Jasper. It could write blog posts—so the ads claimed. I did a 5-day free trial in early October.

I had a couple half-finished blog posts lying around. I fed them to Jasper, and the AI finished the job for me. The results seemed plausibly publishable: coherent, grammatically correct, focused, even evincing a wry sense of humor. I scraped together a dozen of my unfinished short stories. Some of these have languished for decades. I fed them to the AI. One after another, they were completed almost instantaneously.

First, I’d been intrigued, then I was impressed, and now I was alarmed. Writing is a special skill, which demonstrates my erudition, to say nothing of my humanity. Now, here’s a machine that can play the same game. I’m still coming to terms with the implications.

Finally, I started wondering about how this might impact teaching and learning. That’s my job, after all. How would this AI handle an authentic college writing assignment?

Since I don't teach classes myself, I asked my immediate supervisor. She shared an assignment from her health psychology class focused on behavioral lifestyle interventions. Students have to pick a book, read it, make connections between their chosen book and a designated journal article, then pick their own journal article from those cited in their chosen book, read that second article, and examine how the book used or abused that information. Finally, the students are required to reflect on whether they will actually implement any of the changes in their own lives.

Did you follow all that? It’s a complex assignment, and my boss considered it “basically cheat-proof.”

I fed this assignment into the AI. The instructions were so lengthy I had to copy and paste them in two parts, but Jasper didn’t blink. The AI generated an essay in mere seconds. The text seemed to demonstrate familiarity with the contents of the book and both journal articles. Remember, the AI had to pick the second article itself. I gave the essay to my boss, and she was astonished. According to her well-defined rubric, this paper was a C-. It was not brilliant. In fact, it was rather thin. But it was passable.

That was early October. I cancelled my free trial before incurring any fees and discussed the whole episode with some colleagues. We agreed the technology was fascinating, but the ramifications for academic integrity commanded our concern. The consensus seemed to be that the services of such an AI would be irresistible for some students. We knew we had to do a workshop on this subject. We knew this was going to blow up.

But we were still taken by surprise on November 30, 2022.

On that date, ChatGPT was unleashed as a free preview. Nearly overnight, it seemed like everyone in academia was talking about artificial intelligence and the end of the world—or at least the end of traditional written assessments.

ChatGPT is an AI product that was developed by OpenAI over the last several years. It’s worth backtracking to understand that OpenAI was founded as a nonprofit in San Francisco in 2015, dedicated to developing AI for the benefit of humanity. They’ve since ditched their nonprofit status and received huge infusions of cash from Microsoft. Developing this stuff is very expensive. One of their key technologies is the generative pre-trained transformer, which is what GPT stands for. Basically, they feed a mind-boggling amount of text to this program, then train it to mimic human language.

GPT has gone through several iterations. OpenAI released GPT-2 in 2019 as an “open source” product, meaning the source code is freely available to outside parties and the general public. That commitment was deemed important enough to give OpenAI its name. However, with the shift to for-profit status, GPT-3 is licensed exclusively to Microsoft.

To summarize, in early 2023, everyone’s talking about ChatGPT, the user-friendly interface (similar to Jasper) that allows people to interact with the GPT-3 model, but that’s just the product of the moment. Future developments and competing products are already apace. Discussions about AI, academic integrity, and the future of writing will continue. It may or may not be the end of the world as we know it. Right now, there are still more questions than answers.

Have you explored ChatGPT? Have you talked with your students about it?

Fun footnote: Upon closer examination, my supervisor and I determined that the journal article Jasper chose for the health psychology assignment doesn’t actually exist. It looks plausible, attributed to an author who publishes similar titles in that field, but it appears the AI fabricated that citation. This lack of factual veracity is a well-documented flaw in current versions of GPT.

This is a guest post from Mary A. Guillory, Remote Assistant Librarian for Xavier University Library.

It is interesting to have lived to see the day that an AI chatbot became an A-list celebrity—paparazzi and all. Its name has been smeared in the tabloids, discussed in the news, and has sparked fear in academics internationally. Students and professionals hoping to do less work rejoiced, while simultaneously coping with the frustration that comes with obtaining an account and getting the short end of the stick on a traffic-spike-plagued database website. All those things aside, the real proof of OpenAI’s ChatGPT success is that it has made it into the headlines of The Onion three times thus far. Like any assistive technology it makes learning more intriguing and allows users to more easily do things they might have struggled to complete without the tool. 

So, what does this librarian consider the best use for ChatGPT? Its ability to provide critical thinking practice, enhance coding education motivation, and act as a study buddy. Since artificial intelligence is able to infer so much from big data, it excels at helping people to think and grow intellectually. The following are my elaborations on these three ideas: 

1. Critical Thinking Practice 

Blind trust is never higher than with a computer. We enforce our own perception that the algorithm behind {insert whatever web tool name you use here} is always right on a daily basis because it is able to prove a high confidence rate to us by balancing crowd sourced human behavior data with our personal patterns and preferences. The most surprising thing about ChatGPT is that it is an AI still in training, so it gets things wrong. It operates from a dataset that hasn’t been updated since 2021 and is not connected to the internet in a way that allows it to take advantage of Google’s strides in the search engine arena. Though technology advanced in increments over the years, Google search AI has been collecting live human data to deliver better results and present them in answer form for over a decade.  

What might come of having students think critically about the answers offered by ChatGPT? The AI chatbot does not cite its sources of information, which means that to some degree it is speaking as an authority. There is power in the cognitive dissonance created when a human fact checks a podcast like “Exploring Afrofuturism with AI: A Librarian Interviews ChatGPT” and finds issues with ChatGPT’s infered answers—factual issues. The best part is that these types of exercises can be customized to student interests and created by students for students.  

2. Coding Education Motivation Enhancer 

Coding in any language whether it be for the web, mobile applications, or computer software is a valuable skill. It can even come in handy for using low-code or no-code platforms when customizations are desired. The issue usually reveals itself in the time and discipline required to develop coding skills to a useful level when students might be starting at zero and have little interest in code beyond what it can do for them today. Need some HTML or CSS to spruce up a blog post or website? ChatGPT can help. Need a basic Python program? ChatGPT can do that too. Need to work with the PowerApps language Microsoft Power Fx you’ve never heard of before? No problem, ChatGPT even speaks Klingon. The best part is that it can take students straight into the editing and trouble-shooting process of coding, which many may find more intriguing than writing the same little boring calculator or joke generator over and over again. Having to learn the hard way why the basics are important upfront to make the code work for a real-world need is way more fun than memorizing them with vague hopes of creating something someday. 

3. Study Buddy 

People get tired of answering questions and sometimes don’t feel like discussing certain topics. Throw scheduling or COVID-19 into the mix and ChatGPT might make its way to the top of the study buddy list. Students can practice discussing any topic, answering interview questions, or get instructions and tips on how to complete a desired task. It is also quite good at suggesting study resources and plans. 

Want to Learn More About Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT? 

  • Register for CAT+FD’s hybrid “AI2: Artificial Intelligence and Academic Integrity” workshop on February 9th
  • Email me for a link to the AWS Machine Learning University’s monthly Friday webinar on February 3rd or sign up to receive emails about future sessions from Amazon. Taught by one of Amazon’s data scientists, this month’s topic (the first in the series) will focus on “Responsible AI”. Students and faculty are welcome to join these sessions.  

I know everyone reading this post is waiting on the answer to the big question so here it is—no, this CAT FooD was not prechewed by ChatGPT. 

Now that the spring 2023 semester is officially rolling, we wanted to remind all faculty that Xavier has invested in a site license for the Camtasia software package.

Not only do you have access to the current version of Camtasia, the site license means you also get access to TechSmith's tech support as well as extensive training materials, which are quite frankly excellent.

  • Educational Resources: tutorials specifically focused on using Camtasia for online teaching
  • TechSmith Academy: not product specific, but full of tips and best practices for video creation
  • Certification Courses: premium learning experiences that develop skills with screencasting and visual communication (You will need to create a TechSmith Account and then follow the link.)

For those just tuning in, Camtasia is a tool for making videos by recording from your screen and camera. A common use for teachers is to record short lectures.

So what are you waiting for? Yes, you can download and install Camtasia now. Here's the link.

Please note: You will need a Camtasia License key to unlock the software beyond the free trial period. To get the key, please contact me, Bart Everson. You can send me an email: bpeverso at you-know-where.

Are you looking for a tool you can use to support classroom management and engagement? Try Classroomscreen.

Classroomscreen is a free tool that allows you to customize a screen with tools (widgets) that will support your class activities, stimulate engagement and help your students get to work.

Example of a Classroomscreen
Example of a Classroomscreen

Classroomscreen was originally developed for learning inside the classroom. However, it can also support educators in distance learning.

Support your class activities, stimulate engagement and help your students get to work by using the intuitive tools of Classroomscreen.

This is a guest post from Mary A. Guillory, Remote Assistant Librarian for Xavier University Library.

In November 2022, the “Goodbye, Google!” blog post series sent the University Library on a mission to prepare its Youtube channel for the impending email migration. Faculty and staff XULA email accounts were migrated from Google Workspace to Microsoft 365 in December and student accounts will be switched over in May. ITC has not announced an official date for the migration of department and special email accounts. As is likely true for many other departments, the University Library’s social media channels are attached to a department account. 

A video demonstrating how the library packed up its Youtube channel for migration was created in partnership with Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development (CAT+FD). Though Google Support offers some documentation on the issue, the process may not be straight forward for all users—and librarians love to share the fruits of their research so sit back and enjoy the show

Links to Google Documentation 

woman holding two coins
Photo by Thought Catalog on

The XULA Entrepreneurship Institute is interested in gauging the Xavier communities' attitude and general knowledge regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Please take a moment to fill out their survey and they will be sending you some crypto of your own!

Three easy steps to get started:

  1. Take the survey 
  2. Download Coinbase Wallet app (make sure it's the Wallet app)
  3. Email your USDC or ERC20 address to
    (A little video shows how.)

Further reading?