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AI Literacy and Critical Thinking

What is AI?


Elements of AI

Do you want to learn more about what AI really means — and how it’s created? Do you want to understand how AI works and learn about its implications? Feel free to take this free online course to deepen your understanding of AI. The Elements of AI is a series of free online courses created by MinnaLearn and the University of Helsinki. The first course, Introduction to AI, is a free online course for everyone interested in learning what AI is, what is possible (and not possible) with AI, and how it affects our lives – with no complicated math or programming required. It include six chapters, combines theory with practical exercises and can be completed at your own pace.

Evolution of AI

The following slides provide a brief history of AI evolution.

These slides are taken from the ChatGPT Unleashed: What to Expect This Fall and How to Prepare webinar offered by Alchemy on June 22, 2023 slides.

Free & Open Educational Resources

Your Guide to Communicating with Artificial Intelligence

Learn how to use ChatGPT and other AI tools to accomplish your goals using a free and open-source curriculum designed for all skill levels! We recommend you take a look at "Basics" and "Basic Applications."


Generation AI: Human-centered Prompts for the Modern Educator - Design Mindset (free downloadable ebook)

This book helps you gain skills in AI prompting, lesson planning, and seamless communication.

Challenges and Ethical Implications

According to the 2023 UNESCO's "Chat GPT and Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education Quick Start Guide", the main challenges and implications of ChatGPT in higher education are:

  • Academic integrity
    • ChatGPT raises academic integrity concerns in higher education due to potential plagiarism and cheating. Reliable ChatGPT detection tools have yet to be developed.
  • Lack of regulation ChatGPT
    • ChatGPT's unregulated development raises concerns. Over 1,000 academics and leaders call for a pause to investigate risks and develop shared protocols.
  • Privacy concerns
    • In April 2023, Italy became the first country to block ChatGPT over privacy concerns and ethical issues regarding data collection and age verification, setting a precedent for AI-related data practices.
  • Cognitive bias
    • ChatGPT lacks ethical principles and can't differentiate between truth and bias or truth and fiction ("hallucination"). Critical analysis and cross-referencing with other sources are crucial when using its results.
  • Gender and diversity
    • Gender and discrimination concerns extend beyond ChatGPT to all AI forms due to underrepresentation of females in AI-related fields and generative AI's capability to perpetuate biased content and stereotypes.
  • Accessibility
    • Two main accessibility concerns for ChatGPT are restricted availability due to government regulations and uneven internet access, raising issues of equity and regional disparities in AI education and development.
  • Commercialization
    • ChatGPT offers both free and subscription options. Careful regulation is necessary for AI tools run by profit-driven companies, which may lack openness and use data for commercial purposes in higher education settings.

Guide Contributors

Many thanks to Joan Ostrove, Director of the Jan Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching, and the AI Literacy Working Group at Macalester. Their collaboration over the summer of 2023 resulted in creating this LibGuide and other campus-wide initiatives. The members of this group are:


Britt Abel, Associate Professor of German Studies & Director of Writing

Mozhdeh Khodarahmi, Associate Director of the Library.


  • Alyssa Lawrence: Writing & Academic Support Coordinator/ Instructor - MAX Center
  • Andrew Latham: Professor of Political Science
  • Anna Williams: Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy
  • Dave Collins: Research and Instruction Librarian - Library
  • Jake Mohan: Writing Counselor - MAX Center
  • Sonia Mehta: Assistant Professor of Educational Studies
  • Sonita Sarkar: Professor & Chair of Women's, Gender & Sexual Studies
  • Talia Nadir: Research and Instruction Librarian - Library
  • Tam Perlman: Associate Director for Academic Technology Services & Academic Information
  • Diane Michelfelder: Professor of Philosophy