Essay Submission Instructions for Professor Alan Liu’s Undergraduate Courses

Essay Submission Instructions for Professor Alan Liu’s Undergraduate Courses

Essay Submission Instructions

(and course policy against using generative AI)

rev. 25 March 2023

Submit your essay as a Word file (exported in that format if you write in Google Doc or another word processor) with viewable editing history or version history (and do not use ChatGPT or other generative AI)

Due to the arrival of new generative artificial-intelligence tools, students are required to submit as part of their assignment the editing revision history or version history of their essay. Instructors will ordinarily only look at this history if they suspect academic dishonesty through plagiarism or unapproved use of generative AI.

At the present time, the course policy is that generative AI tools such as ChatGPT based on "large language models" may not be used to help write essays. This is because such tools are still rapidly evolving, not well vetted, not yet stably embedded in writing and research tools, and not yet evenly accessible to or understood by all students. (See the discussion of such tools in the "Intellectual Property and Academic Integrity Guidelines" for Professor Liu's courses.) Professor Liu reserves the right later to alter this course policy through announcements if in his assessment the new generative AI tools are ready to be used in courses in fair and assessable ways.)

How to submit your essay with editing revision history or version history:
If you write in Word (or another word processor able to keep "track changes"):
  • Write in Word with "track changes" turned on under the program's "Review" menu (see example Word document). Double check that you have this feature turned on in your document before writing. (FAQ on Track Changes)
    • Note that you can set Word in its "Review" menu to show "no markup" of editing changes as you work for distraction-free writing. (The other options are to show "all markup" or "simple markup.)"
  • Submit your finished Word document in Canvas with the editing history still viewable (do not "accept all changes" before turning in the essay).
If you write in Google Docs:
  • Simply allow Google Docs automatically to keep a version history as you work (see example Google Doc). (Google Docs keeps a series of versions as you write normally without you having to request them. But you may also record a version manually when you wish by using File > Version history > Name current version.) (FAQ on version history)
    • Important: Include at the top of your essay the following information: "Google Doc version of this essay: [link or visible URL]". This allows instructors to view your original document in Google Docs even after you export it in a different format for submission in Canvas.
    • Important: Share your Google Doc with your instructor or TA for the course by giving them "commenter" permissions (using their emails, which will be found in the "Overview" page for the course). This will allow your instructor or TA to see your Google Doc.
  • Finally, for submission to Canvas use File > Download > Microsoft Word (.docx) to export your document from Google Docs to a Word file. Submitting in Word [or PDF] format allows instructors to use Canvas's grading annotation tools when reading your essay. (Including the URL or link to the original Google Doc in your final file will also allow instructors to go to the original essay to see the version history if needed, since it will not appear in the exported Word file.)