First-Year Writing Policies
Writing with Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT Policy, March 2023
First-year writing courses at Grand Valley State University teach students important writing, information literacy, and critical thinking skills that lay a foundation for the writing students will do as university students and in their professions. However, the introduction of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence (AI) tools create interesting challenges and learning opportunities for students as they build their writing skills.
While the future of AI suggests there will be exciting opportunities and developments, currently much of the material AI tools create may be inaccurate, outdated, or otherwise problematic. Moreover, using AI tools during the writing process may stifle your own independent thinking and creativity. If you use AI in a first-year writing course, we encourage you to do so carefully and follow the Department of Writing’s policy for AI use:
- Limited Interactions with AI: In order to develop your writing and critical thinking skills, we discourage students from using AI tools to generate content (text, video, audio, images) that will end up in any work submitted for a grade. If you do choose to interact with AI while writing in your first-year writing classes, no more than 15% of your essay or project should be generated by AI.
- Citing Interactions with AI: Interactions with ChatGPT or other forms of AI must be cited as a source in your essay/project. If you paraphrase or directly quote material generated through an interaction with ChatGPT or AI, that information must also be cited with an in-text citation and on your works cited or citation list.
- Plagiarism and AI-Generated Material. You may not submit any work generated by an AI program as your own without properly citing it. If your instructor is concerned that your work includes uncited material from an AI tool, or if the instructor believes that more than 15% of your essay or project was generated with an AI tool, your instructor will follow the procedure for addressing plagiarism as outlined below.
Language and ideas for this policy were adapted from Lance Eaton’s “Classroom Policies for AI Generative Tools.”
Although each instructor designs assignments, delivers course material, and determines deadlines independently, there are certain policies that are universal across all first-year writing classes at Grand Valley. A description of those policies can be found below:
Required Passing Grade
You must pass WRT 150 or WRT 130 with a grade of C or better (above C–) to satisfy the University's General Education Foundations-Writing Requirement. If you do not receive a grade of C or better, you will need to take WRT 150 or WRT 130 again.
Portfolio Submission Eligibility
In order to submit your final portfolio, you must have at least a 65% for your process grade by the end of Week 12 in the semester. If your process grade is below a 65%, you will not be permitted to turn in a final portfolio.
Learning or Physical Disabilities
If you have any special needs because of learning, physical, or any other disabilities, please contact Disability Support Resources at (616) 331-2490. Any student needing academic accommodations beyond those given to the entire class needs to request assistance from DSR. Writing faculty work with DSR to accommodate students’ special needs and devise a plan that is fair to all students. Furthermore, if you have a disability and think you will need assistance evacuating a classroom and/or building in an emergency situation, please make your teacher and DSR aware so that Grand Valley can develop a plan to assist you.
Attendance for in-person and staggered hybrid classes
Regular, timely, and full attendance is necessary to succeed in first-year writing classes. We encourage students to miss no more than four classes (equivalent to two weeks) in a semester because missing more than two weeks will make it difficult for you to complete the work of the course successfully. However, we know attending class may be challenging as we navigate social distancing, self-quarantines, and other difficulties related to COVID-19. Please assess your own health status regularly and refrain from attending class and other on-campus events if you are ill. If you are unable to attend class because of illness, self-quarantine, or a family emergency, please let your instructor know as soon as possible. A doctor’s note will not be required to excuse these absences. Your instructor will work with you independently to help you keep up with class, and your participation grade will not be penalized in these situations.
If you have missed a good deal of class because of illness or self-quarantine and are concerned about your status in the class, please speak to your instructor to discuss what you will need to do to earn the grade you seek. Your instructor may recommend that you withdraw from the class, so that you can retake the class in a future semester.
Attendance for Online Classes
Regular, timely, and full attendance and participation is required to succeed in first-year writing classes. Attendance in online classes means attending and participating in synchronous virtual sessions.
For classes meeting virtually one time/week, we encourage you to miss no more than three virtual class meetings. For classes meeting virtually twice/week, we encourage you to miss no more than six virtual meetings for classes meeting twice/week (equivalent to three weeks of class). Missing more than three weeks of class will make it difficult for you to complete the work of the course successfully.
Please review your course syllabus for specific details about how attendance and participation will affect your final course grade, and ask your instructor if you have any questions.
We know attending virtual class may be challenging as we navigate difficulties related to COVID-19. If you are unable to attend a synchronous class meeting because of illness or a family emergency, please let your instructor know as soon as possible. A doctor’s note will not be required to excuse these absences. Your instructor will work with you independently to help you keep up with class, and your process grade will not be penalized in these situations.
If you have missed a good deal of class because of illness or other emergencies and are concerned about your status in the class, please speak to your instructor to discuss what you will need to do to earn the grade you seek. Your instructor may recommend that you withdraw from the class, so that you can retake the class in a future semester.
According to the GVSU’s Student Code: The Statement of Students’ Rights and Responsibilities, plagiarism is defined as the appropriation of, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining by any means material that is attributable in whole or in part to another source without any indication or citation of the original source, including words, sentences, ideas, illustrations, structure, computer code, and other expression or media, and presenting that material as one’s own academic work being offered for credit or in conjunction with a program, course, or degree requirements” (Student Code, Section 5.1.5).
Because academic honesty is highly valued by the university, faculty are required to report instances when students commit acts of academic dishonesty such as plagiarism or submitting work for this class that was completed in another class without discussing it with me before submission. If I suspect that you have submitted plagiarized work, I will contact you to discuss my concerns with you in person. If I determine that you have plagiarized some or part of an essay draft, I may report the case to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) with the recommendation that you must re-write the draft. If I determine that you have plagiarized some or part of an essay that you submit in your final portfolio, I will report the case to the OSCCR with the recommendation that you fail the class. In that case, you will be given a temporary “Incomplete” grade for the semester until a final resolution is reached by the OSCCR.
If for any reason you need to appeal your final grade, please consult the Student Code for the applicable procedures. Your first contact should be with the teacher of your class. After you have spoken with your instructor, if you still wish to appeal your grade, please compose a message requesting a departmental review of your portfolio. Your request should do the following:
- Explain how your portfolio demonstrates the characteristics of the grade that you seek. You should refer to the First-Year Writing Portfolio Grading Characteristics to explain why you believe you earned a different grade.
- Attach a copy of the portfolio you submitted for grading at the end of the semester.
Appeals should be sent to the Director of First-Year Writing at [email protected] or delivered to the Department of Writing directed to the attention of the Director of First-Year Writing.
Once your appeal request is received, you will receive confirmation that the appeal process is underway. The Director of First-Year Writing will review your portfolio and, if necessary, ask another first-year writing instructor to review the portfolio. Once a decision about your request is made, you will be notified via email, usually within one month of the date your request was received.