Writing with Artificial Intelligence - WritingCommons
Now that AI systems can score in the 90th percentile on the Bar Exam and SAT, will humans offshore their research, thinking, and writing practices to machines? For students, will writing no longer be a primary mode of learning? Will writers stop listening to their inner voice, their felt sense, and instead allow the AI systems to direct their thinking and writing processes? How should our educational and professional institutions respond to the rise of AI? What core AI literacies must we focus on to ensure humans are masters of their technologies and not its servants? How do we need to reconceptualize creative processes, academic integrity, copyright, and intellectual property to account for “hybrid writing” — writing coauthored by machines and humans?

Writing with Artificial Intelligence

Writing with Artificial Intelligence is an undergraduate course that focuses on the question of human agency. Students learn critical AI literacies, which the MLA-CCCC Joint Task Force on Writing and AI has identified as foundational to contemporary literacy. Using these critical frameworks, they identify and debunk “AI hype” and methodological errors in media articles and academic research on AI. They analyze ethical issues associated with large language models (LLMs), including plagiarism, academic integrity, modern copyright, open copyright, privacy concerns, and deepfakes. Students write with generative artificial intelligence tools to compose memos, summaries, articles, songs, short stories, poems, deepfakes, misinformation campaigns, images, videos, and bots. Thereafter, they conduct qualitative, empirical research to investigate how those tools impinged on their learning, thinking, self-expression, and creativity. Finally, students speculate about how the rise of “superintelligence” (Aschenbrenner 2024) and artificial general intelligence will challenge humans to reimagine what it means to be human.

As these three students navigate their research, unexpected triggers may arise, shedding light on the intricate relationship between reading, trauma, and learning.
“Students Reading” by AUM OER, CC BY 2.0.

Reading and Disruptive Emotions

This article examines the relationship between reading and emotional response. It addresses the emotions reading can provoke, identifies potential emotional triggers, and suggests practical strategies for managing emotional responses, like mindfulness and emotional regulation. Learn to identify, manage, and strategically respond to emotions stirred by reading in both personal and academic contexts.

Student engrossed in reading on her laptop, surrounded by a stack of books
“Academic Writing” by AUM OER, CC BY 2.0

Academic Writing – How to Write for the Academic Community

Academic writing refers to the writing style that researchers, educators, and students use in scholarly publications and school assignments. An academic writing style refers to the semantic and textual features that characterize academic writing and distinguish it from other discourses, such as professional writing, workplace writing, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Learn about the discourse conventions of the academic community so you can write with greater authority, clarity, and persuasiveness (and, in school settings, earn higher grades!).  

“Professional Writing” by Internet Freedom Fellows, CC BY-ND 2.0.

Professional Writing – How to Write for the Professional World

Professional writing is fundamentally transactional: usually if you are writing it is because you are trying to solve some kind of a problem. Your audience — the people you are writing to — probably need to do something in response to your writing. They may not be expecting your writing. They probably don’t want to read your writing. Your writing is interrupting their day. So, if you’re gonna bother them you need to make it worth their time. Learn about the style of writing that characterizes the texts of professional writers in workplace writing contexts. Master the discourse conventions of professional communities of practice.

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Corpus linguistics fuels AI innovation: Teams of computational linguists, including those at OpenAI, delve into the vast expanse of the internet, amassing an extensive corpus to predict textual patterns. Yet, when classic lines, like T.S. Eliot's 'I measure my life in coffee spoons' from 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,' are absorbed without proper acknowledgment, pressing ethical questions emerge. This illustration captures that very sentiment, as Eliot's iconic line spirals into the corpus vortex.
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Corpus Linguistic Analysis – A Bird’s Eye View of Writing

Language is vast, and when we read, we often focus on individual words, sentences, or specific texts. This narrow perspective can cause us to overlook broader patterns and trends. For instance, it’s easy to miss the recurring linguistic choices that individuals make, both fruitful and less effective, especially in academic writing. However, by taking a step back and observing language from a broader, bird’s-eye perspective, we gain a clearer understanding of the unique characteristics of different texts. Recognizing and studying these patterns helps improve your comprehension and mastery of written language.

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Rhetorical Analysis in the Real World: A Useful Thinking Tool

As a citizen and a scholar, I use rhetorical analysis to sort out questions about politics and relationships. In everyday life, rhetorical analysis is a valuable tool for understanding and preparing to engage in the world.

Since Aristotle's time, rhetoricians have posited that effective persuasion hinges on three central appeals: logos (logic), pathos (emotion), and ethos (the speaker's credibility and character). A fourth appeal, Kairos, underscores the significance of timing — emphasizing that the right message must be delivered at the opportune moment for maximum impact.
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Rhetorical Appeals: An Overview

Rhetorical appeals are strategic tools writers use to effectively persuade their audience. Comprising ethos (credibility), logos (logic), pathos (emotion), and kairos (timing), these appeals form the backbone of influential persuasive writing. By understanding and harnessing these appeals, you’ll not only recognize them in the texts you read but also enhance your own writing, making your arguments more compelling and impactful.

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Using First Person in an Academic Essay: When is It Okay?

This essay explores the circumstances under which using the first person in an academic essay is acceptable. In academic writing, the use of the first person—expressed through pronouns such as “I”, “me”, “my”, and “we”—is in a state of flux. Historically, scholars were advised to avoid the first person to maintain objectivity and a formal tone. In school settings, students were often told to set their own opinions aside and write summaries and reviews of literature. Yet recently, especially in the humanities, qualitative researchers have questioned the possibility of objectivity and this convention of avoiding the first person. Instead, these theorists argue that researchers and writers can be more authoritative by employing the first person.  

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Kairos – How to Strategically Time Your Messages for Impact

“Kairos” is an ancient rhetorical concept meaning “to say the right thing at the right time.” In order to say the right thing, you need a sense of audience. And, of course, you need to craft your message with clarity and brevity. Yet that by itself isn’t sufficient. It doesn’t matter how eloquent you are if you audience is not willing to listen to you on a topic at this particular moment. Thus, kairos is chiefly about timing: it’s about knowing about when to give your message.        

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