LIB 4900: Sociotechnical Analysis of Artificial Intelligence - Prof. Francoeur

February 2 (Friday)

Due Today

In-Class Activities as Homework

Survey on tools used

File naming conventions

Screenshot of Word showing where to click to rename file

Sharing so that comments are enabled

Screenshot showing options available when you click Share button in Word

Interview with Geoffrey Hinton


  1. Class will be divided into groups of 2
  2. Each group will use this form to answer the questions below:
    1. When the correspondent is talking about how the robots were programmed to play soccer, how did he explain the process?
    2. How does Geoffrey Hinton argue back against those who say that generative artificial intelligence systems (like Google Bard and ChatGPT) are just language models that predict the next term, that they are just doing autocomplete and statistics?
    3. What are the two main benefits that Hinton sees in AI?
    4. What are the four risks he mentions?


AI Types and Functionalities

Due Monday (Feb. 5)

  • Watch all three segments on artificial intelligence from 60 Minutes (53 minutes)
    • "The Oracle of A.I." (aired on Jan. 13, 2019)
    • "The Revolution" (aired on Apr. 16, 2023)
    • "Who Is Minding the Chatbots" (aired on Mar. 5, 2023)

February 5 (Monday)

Due Today

Discussion of 60 Minutes Segments

Work in pairs to answer these two questions in this Microsoft Form about the three segments from 60 Minutes:

  1. What are the three most exciting things about AI mentioned in these episodes?
  2. What are the three most worrisome things about AI mentioned in these episodes?

Generative AI

Maillardet's Automaton

ChatGPT and Bard

  • Demo of ChatGPT and Bard
    • prompts
    • links to output

In-Class Activity on ChatGPT

  1. Set up a free account at OpenAI to use ChatGPT
    • Note: you may not want to use your personal or school email address for this. Consider setting up a new, free email account with ProtonMail that you can use to register for OpenAI and other services you're just trying out. Then use that email address when you register with OpenAi.
    • ChatGPT
  2. Try some test prompts. Then in a Microsoft Word document, write a page telling me about the pros and cons of your experience trying to get ChatGPT to do just one of the following:
    • Write a joke about college students that is genuinely funny to you.
    • Write a poem about Baruch College.
    • Write a college entrance essay for a high school student trying to get into Baruch College.
    • Write a biography of Stephen Francoeur.
    • Write a biography of David Wu, president of Baruch College.

Due Friday (Feb. 9)

  • In-class activity #3: One-page essay on your experience using ChatGPT to write something on one of the suggested prompts (see above).

February 9 (Friday)

Due Today

  • In-class activity #3: One-page essay on your experience using ChatGPT to write something on one of the suggested prompts.

Generative AI

In-Class Activity #4

  1. Complete the “Machine Learning” tutorial from Google
  2. Begin work on an audio or video recording explaining ChatGPT that will be due by next Friday (Feb. 16) at the start of class. Assume that your audience knows nothing about AI. Explain how ChatGPT was built in as much detail as you feel is necessary for your audience and how it works when you use it. Correctly use as many vocab words you’ve learned about AI as you can in your description. This is not an opportunity for you to use AI to write some or all of what you write (or what you will say). Instead, use your own phrasing in a conversational style (as though you were explaining it to a friend, not as though you were giving a formal presentation). I want to hear your natural voice as much as possible and get a sense that you have truly incorporated in your mind a model of how ChatGPT works that you can explain at the drop of a hat as needed.
  3. Please don't type out an entire script that you read. Feel free to have notes to remind you of what you want to cover but try not to be reading from them. Speak as naturally as you can on this topic.
  4. If (and only if) you need to do some more research to improve your understanding of what you’ll be talking about, consider these sources: 

  1. Grading of this homework. This doesn't have to be the most polished explanation ever. A conversational tone and approach is fine. What should be evident from your explanation is that you are comfortable with the concepts you have to explain and that your explanation makes sense. Your recording should be no less than 2 minutes and no more than 5 minutes.

Due Friday (Feb. 16)

  • Note that there is no class next Monday (Feb. 12).
  • In-class activity #4

February 16 (Friday)

Due Today

  • In-class activity #4

Educational Aspects of AI: Predictive Analytics

  • Read this article in class:
  • Each student adds to this shared Word doc a list of the systems and services related to Baruch and CUNY that they have used/logged into since the semester began.
  • Working in groups, students will discuss with each other how comfortable they are with data from these interactions being possibly used by the college as part of a predictive analytics program. Each student will then go back to the shared Word doc and write next to each item listed one of these three, OK, MAYBE, or NOT OK, to indicate their comfort level with data from that system being used for predictive analytics.
  • Each student will share in class one item that they are NOT OK or MAYBE with from the list and why.


  • Class discussion of this list of values (PDF).
  • In-class activity #5
    • In no more than one page that you'll share with me, make list of 5-10 values that you personally hold to be important that relate to why you are here at Baruch as a student. These values should be the big picture concepts that guide the choices that you make as a student about what you hope to get out of your experience here. Try to use the ones on the list if you can, but feel free to use others of your own choosing if necessary. For each value, write a sentence or two explaining why that value is important to you and how it guides the choices you make. 

Due Thursday (Feb. 22)

  • Please note that Feb. 22 is a make-up day for the Monday last week (Feb. 12) that we didn't have class. We will also be meeting on Friday, Feb. 23.
  • In-class activity #5

February 22 (Thursday)

Due Today

  • In-class activity #5 (describe the 5-10 values that guide you as a college student)

Understanding How Personal and Institutional Values May Shape Use of AI

Activity: Baruch College's institutional values

  1. Working in two-person groups, each team will search across the Baruch College website for information that explicitly states the values of the college as a whole or that implies those values.
  2. On a shareable Word document (shared with Prof. Francoeur), each team will list the values they found and the web address for the page(s) where they found evidence of that value being expressed or mentioned.
  3. Discussion of findings by each team will follow.

Activity: Values for the Information Studies Minor

  1. Each team will review the Baruch web page that offers details on the Information Studies Minor and try identify what values are expressed or implied from the description of the program.
  2. Discussion of findings by each team will follow.

Discussion: Prof. Francoeur's values as a teacher of this course

February 23 (Friday)

Feedback on the Two ChatGPT Assignments

Student Writing at Baruch

Activity: Analyze course description for ENG 2100: Writing I.

  1. Working in two-person groups, each group will review the course description for ENG 2100: Writing I to understand one aspect of how learning to write is valued by the college.

  2. Each group will review the "Statement on Artificial Intelligence Writing Tools in Writing Across the Curriculum Settings" from the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum (23 Jan. 2023)

  3. Each team will create a shareable Word document (shared with Prof. Francoeur) and use that to identify the values expressed in that course description or those values that you can infer. They will also detail the values behind the statement from the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum.

Kinds of Student Writing

Chart comparing writing to learn to writing to engage to writing in the disciplines

The table above is from: Palmquist, Mike. “A Middle Way for WAC: Writing to Engage.” The WAC Journal, vol. 31, no. 1, 2020, pp. 7–22.

Generative AI and Student Writing

  • When it is helpful to use?
  • When is it unethical?
  • How should higher ed change the way it teaches students how to write?
  • AI and plagiarism detectors

In-class activity #6 (due Monday, February 26)

Each student will share a Word document in which they draft a one-page policy around the use of AI for our class. The policy should address:

  • What specific uses of generative AI should be allowed for the following activities:
    • In-class activities where you have to do some writing and turn that in
      • Gen AI for writing the whole thing? for outlining only? for suggesting better wording and phrasing here and there? not at all?
    • Mid-term and final exams where you will have to write brief responses to questions
      • Gen AI for generating the responses? for outlining the responses? for suggesting better wording and phrasing here and there? not at all?
    • Final presentation where you are required to have slides that you present live or in a recorded video
      • Gen AI for creating the slides (including the text)? for outlining only? for suggesting better wording and phrasing here and there? not at all?
    • PDFs for things you are asked to read
      • Gen AI that will summarize the document for you so you don't have to read it at all? so that it can complement or augment your own reading of the PDF? not at all?
  • If AI use is allowed for any of the above, should the student have to signal in some way to the professor that they used AI? Should they include a separate paragraph stating how they used AI for that assignment or activity? Should they have to cite any AI outputs they used?

February 26 (Monday)

Due Today

  • In-class activity #6 (your draft of AI policy for this class)

Policies for Student Use of AI

Activity: policy for creating outlines for written and oral assignments

Students are paired up into teams. On a shared Word document, each team should list the best reasons in favor and against the following policy: 

The most transformational or generative use that any student in our class should be able to use generative AI for any assignments (homework or final project) is to use it to generate an outline as long as that outline is notably modified in the final version that the student turns in. Any use beyond using it to draft an outline for your written or spoken assignments will be considered a violation of class policy. 

Each group should have at least five solid reasons in favor of and five solid reasons against the policy. 

As your group comes up with a list of reasons, please make sure you are discussing things such as: 

  • Is this policy too restrictive? Why? 
  • Is this policy too lenient? Why? 
  • To what extent does this policy help students learn to be better writers? 
  • To what extent does this policy prevent students from learning to be better writers? 
  • To what extent should the college be thinking about training/teaching/helping students to be better writers? 
  • To what extent can AI help students be better writers? 
  • How your personal values as a student play into your analysis? 
  • How do the values of your professors play into your analysis? 
  • How do the values of Baruch College play into your analysis? 
  • How do the values of your future employers play into your analysis? 
  • How do the values of American society play into your analysis? 
  • Do AI tools provide students with a springboard for launching themselves as independent writers who will be increasingly able to write on their own without these tools? 
  • Does it matter if someone graduates from college and is just as reliant as ever on generative AI tools to help them write? 
  • Are there different kinds of writing that students do as students (e.g., notetaking) that suggest a more liberal use of generative AI should be allowed? 

Activity: our current AI policy and the one we'll draft

In your paired groups, read and discuss the AI policy currently in the syllabus: 

Certain assignments in this course will permit or even encourage the use of generative artificial intelligence (GAI) tools such as ChatGPT. The default is that such use is disallowed unless otherwise stated. Any such use must be appropriately acknowledged and cited. It is each student’s responsibility to assess the validity and applicability of any GAI output that is submitted; you bear the final responsibility. Violations of this policy will be considered academic misconduct. We draw your attention to the fact that different classes at Baruch could implement different AI policies, and it is the student’s responsibility to conform to expectations for each course.

Also, read and discuss these guidelines from Duke University: "Artificial Intelligence Policies: Guidelines and Considerations"


  • Should we go with single paragraph policy like the existing one or do we need to make it more specific/granular and present it as a list? 
  • Can we envision a future where some of this detail will not need to be spelled out? Where students will have internalized some of what it typically allowed and not allowed? 

Due Wednesday (Feb. 28)

  • Read the PDF of everyone's response to the classroom activity we did at the start of the class

Due Friday (Mar. 1)

Read this article:

Bender, Emily M., et al. “On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big? 🦜.” Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency, Association for Computing Machinery, 2021, pp. 610–23. ACM Digital Library


February 28 (Wednesday)

Finalizing Classroom AI Policy

  1. Open the shared draft of the AI policy
  2. Each student adds 2-3 comments suggesting a change or asking a question
  3. Class discussion of comments
  4. Final revision of document.

Due Friday (Mar. 1)

Bender, Emily M., et al. “On the Dangers of Stochastic Parrots: Can Language Models Be Too Big? 🦜.” Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency, Association for Computing Machinery, 2021, pp. 610–23. ACM Digital Library,