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July 11, 2023 | View as Webpage | academicinnovation@mason.wm.edu

Exploring Generative AI

Previously, we introduced you to the world of generative AI and shared links to platforms like ChatGPT, Bing, and Bard to help you explore its potential. Now that you have some familiarity with generative AI, it is crucial to take the next step and dive deeper into this technology. While reading about and watching others utilize generative AI can provide valuable insights, it is equally important to experiment with it yourself. Merely observing from the sidelines will not adequately prepare you for the arrival of tech-savvy students in the upcoming semester, who are likely to already be familiar with this technology.

One significant aspect to consider when working with generative AI is its propensity to "hallucinate" or produce unexpected and sometimes incorrect information. It is essential to understand the various ways generative AI might respond to assignments or prompts in order to use it effectively in your classes. By familiarizing yourself with its capabilities, you can better guide your students and ensure a productive learning experience.

Generative AI is undoubtedly here to stay, and as educators, it is our responsibility to adapt. We encourage you to invest time in adequately experimenting with this technology before finalizing your syllabi for the fall semester. By doing so, you will gain valuable insights into how you can apply generative AI within your discipline and discover creative ways to enhance your teaching approach.

Our focus now is on prompt engineering or asking questions of generative AI. We will share resources that will help you:

  • Understand the basics
  • Experiment with simple prompts
  • Refine and iterate
  • Think about discipline-specific contexts
  • Consider ethics implications

By experimenting with prompt engineering, you can gain a hands-on understanding of how generative AI works and how it can be used effectively in your specific discipline. In this issue, we also provide contact information for those within the Mason community who can help if you have questions.

Full disclosure: Generative AI played a role in assisting with the writing of this content. We used Bing and ChatGPT to generate some text based on prompts that we provided. We then edited and revised the text to improve the final product.


Getting Started

with Generative AI

PDF document

Use this document to familiarize yourself with Microsoft Bing and examples of prompts.

AI Toolkit for Mason Faculty

Blackboard site

Explore resources deeper. Email academicinnovation@mason.wm.edu to opt-in and be enrolled.

Mason Faculty

Virtual Office Hours

Thursdays 12:00 noon,

July 20 – August 24, 2023

Zoom link

Hosted by Academic Innovation, McLeod Business Library and Center for Online Learning. Browse to tinyurl.com/masonmeet/ and drop in Zoom to ask questions!

Mason Academic Innovation


Assistance with AI prompt engineering and exploring the use of generative AI for creating learning activities.

McLeod Business Library



Assistance with incorporating AI, information, and data literacy into qualitative and quantitative assignments; using AI to conduct research; and the ethical implications of AI related to copyright, publishing, and the scholarly communications landscape.

Mason IT



Assistance with downloading and installing Microsoft Edge browser and accessing Microsoft Bing search.


This video explains “prompt engineering,” a way to control AI’s responses by asking it questions (prompts) in a specific, detailed way. This can help generate more accurate and relevant results from AI. Good prompts can guide AI to do tasks correctly, even with limited data. Watch the video and experiment with generative AI to get the best results!

Prompt Engineering video

Prompt Engineering

from the course: Generative AI for Business Leaders


A Conversation with Generative AI Around DEI (PDF)

Phil Wagner shares how he asks students to use generative AI as a collaborative conversational partner and also a specific prompt that simulates concerns about unwanted sexual conduct in the workplace with best practices for handling the situation.

Learning Python (PDF)

Jim Bradley set up this ChatGPT session which a student might use to ask how to program a specific solution for an assignment and then ask follow-on context-specific questions in the vein of learning. It is a very good example of how a student could both get an assignment solution from ChatGPT and then learn from the initial response.


Assigning AI: Seven Approaches for Students with Prompts

This paper explores the transformative potential and risks of Large Language Models (LLMs) as educational tools. It suggests seven ways to use AI in classrooms, such as an AI-tutor, coach, mentor, teammate, tool, simulator, and student, each offering unique benefits and risks.

The Art and Science of Prompt Engineering: A New Literacy in the Information Age

Delve deeper into prompt engineering and learn about the CLEAR Framework, a tool that guides the creation of succinct, logical, explicit, adaptable, and reflective prompts. While W&M Libraries do not currently have this article, you may request it through interlibrary loan.

Prompt Engineering for Educators: Making Generative AI Work for You (University of Sydney)

This article by Danny Liu explores prompting basics and such questions as:

  • How can generative AI improve learning and teaching?
  • How can generative AI improve assessment?

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