Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Generative AI Teaching as Research (GAITAR) Institutes

…focus on building instructor capacity for adaptation, innovation, and scholarship. This “sandbox” program cultivates diverse yet transferable ideas for GAI applications and study designs in CMU courses across many teaching contexts and learning objectives. Participants are connected to Eberly Center programs and services to support the implementation and study of promising, emergent ideas.

What is it?

Historically, Teaching as Research (TAR) Institutes are part of the Eberly Center’s annual, signature programming fostering evidence-based teaching and learning. Participants do not need previous experience with educational research or come with an education research project in mind. TAR Institutes function as boot camps for developing a flexible toolkit of skills and habits of mind for conducting educational research, particularly classroom research. Participants do not need to come with an education research project in mind. Instead, through workshops and individual consultations, Eberly colleagues guide participants to: 

  • craft a testable research question,
  • design a teaching innovation/intervention associated with that question, 
  • identify data sources embedded in their CMU courses or programs to directly measure student outcomes, and 
  • design a classroom research study to rigorously test the research question via quantitative and/or qualitative methods.

To date, over 175 CMU instructors have participated in the Eberly Centers 4-day TAR Institutes focused on active learning, inclusive teaching, generative AI, and more. With Eberly Center support, many participants have completed TAR projects in CMU courses following an Institute.

What is happening?

We hosted the first GAI themed TAR Institute October 9-12, 2023. Through a series of hands-on activities, dialogues, and workshops, 25 CMU instructors generated and considered the pros and cons of ideas for GAI teaching innovations as well as TAR studies to measure their impacts on learning. Afterwards, some participants applied for a GAITAR Fellowship to implement and study promising ideas in their CMU courses, with Eberly Center support. Others, through an intentional and systematic thought process, came to the conclusion that GAI was not aligned to their teaching and learning objectives and opted to pursue alternative teaching strategies. From our perspective, both outcomes above are desirable (see also the Eberly Center’s position statement on GAI).

How can CMU instructors participate? 

The Eberly Center plans to host at least two more annual GAITAR Institutes, creating “incubators” for CMU instructors of record to ideate educational applications and studies of GAI tools. Institutes consist of four 90-minute sessions. Participants are not compensated, but encouraged to submit their ideas as a GAITAR Fellowship proposal. Check our Eberly Center programs website at the beginning of each semester for information on dates/times and how to register.