Things to consider when using AI

Note: Information in this document is current as of June 2023 but is subject to change. Please check with Missouri Online for updates. 

ChatGPT and Bing AI Chat are perhaps the best known and widely used generative AIs. There are many alternatives, both free and paid, ranging from Google Bard to Anthropic's Claude and Jasper. There are also many text-to-image tools such as Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DALL-E, as well as others emerging for audio, video, and special purposes. 

This page will walk you through topics you should consider as an instructor in evaluating, adopting, and using them. We also include some more specific recommendations.  

Considerations when using AI


The AI must be appropriate to the type of assignments you wish to do. There are many online resources for thinking about types of assignments, such as the list on pages of 8 and 9 covering suggested uses of ChatGPT in UNESCO's Chat GPT and Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education: A Quick Start Guide. We recognize there may be many other kinds of assignments depending on the course and situation.


Is the tool free, freemium, or does it require a paid license? The University is not currently licensing generative AI tools. 

Under the new Simplified Tuition rules going into effect for Fall 2023, please check to see if you can require students to purchase a license and under what conditions. It may be possible that the trial period or trial version of a specific app might provide sufficient time and capabilities to undertake an assignment. 

Note: Be aware that if there are optional costs associated with a tool, you may be giving the students who are able to afford access to the paid version an unfair advantage. In some cases, you may be able to get around this by not requiring a specific tool, perhaps giving them a choice of, for instance, ChatGPT and Bing AI Chat. 

The free version of ChatGPT sometimes has long wait times and only offers access to the older 3.5 version. The paid version eliminates the wait times, has access to the latest version (currently 4.0) and will give earlier access to new features. At the same time, Bing AI Chat gives access to GPT-4, is fully web enabled, and can also be used to create images through DALL-E 2. 

Privacy & Security

We do not currently have licenses for any of these applications. Requiring students to use apps that have not been vetted could open them up to privacy and security problems, and may open you up to FERPA violations. Use should only be on a voluntary basis for the time being. OpenAI already had one privacy breach in 2023, apparently due to an error on their part, that mailed names, email, and other information to the wrong users. 

Bing AI Chat is a partial exception. While we have not vetted it, and it is not clear if it is covered under our current license, we do have a relationship with Microsoft. Presently, if students need more than five turns per session, they will have to create an account with something other than their university ID. This policy is from Microsoft, not the University. 


We are working to determine the accessibility of these AI products. If there is an issue for your students with accommodations, you may need to develop alternative assignments. For student accommodations, contact your Disability Center. 


The University does not provide technical support. Each tool may have documentation and support available. YouTube tutorials may also be available and some are quite good. 

General Suggestions

  • Discuss the issues with privacy, security, and accessibility with your students. Consider giving them permission to request and complete alternative assignments. 
  • If no specific features of a particular application are required, consider letting students decide on which to use. One thing to consider is that models such as GPT-3/3.5/4, Stable Diffusion, and DALLE-2 are often available through more than one interface. 
  • Consider Bing AI Chat over ChatGPT. Bing AI Chat has the ability to access GPT-4 without a paid subscription and the ability to use it to create images (through DALL-E 2). 
  • A tool like Poe AI, which gives free or limited access to a number of generative AI models, and allows users to create and train their own bots, may be a good way for students to learn the differing capabilities of several models. 

Please note that these considerations are not endorsements from Missouri Online or the University of Missouri System. They are subject to change as software develops, new considerations come into prominence, and as the individual campuses and the System develop policies. 

Simplified Tuition

Simplified Tuition is a new tuition model mandated by Missouri law intended to provide more predictable, consistent, and understandable bills for students and their families. Under Simplified Tuition, some types of student-paid materials and fees may not be allowed. The exact details of what will and will not be allowed are under consideration. Simplified Tuition rules will go into effect for FS2023. UMSL Student Financial Services has a FAQ on the subject

Modified on: Wed, Jun 21, 2023 at 3:41 PM

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