What we Learned during our 1st Gen AI Monthly Meetup at Erasmus University

4 min readJun 6, 2024


Article Written by the ErasmusX GenAI Team

Our GenAI Monthly Meetup series has begun!

Although the official kickoff won’t be until the beginning of the 2024–25 Academic Year, the first of the two pilot meetings took place last Thursday, May 23rd. Responding to the needs of our academic community, the goal of the Monthly Meetup is to share, brainstorm, test, and shape innovative approaches to integrating GenAI in teaching and learning. The key ingredient is collaboration — among students, teachers, researchers, and professional staff — to enhance knowledge of the connections between GenAI and learning, and steer it toward practical applications of GenAI in learning activities.

The First Monthly Meetup — What Did We Do? 🤔

In the first Monthly Meetup, we tested GenAI prompting templates from a recent article by Ethan Mollick and Lilach Mollick: “Instructors as innovators: A future-focused approach to new AI learning opportunities, with prompts” (April 2024). Prompts included simulations, critiques, learning through co-creation, and mentoring/tutoring. During the session, participants selected a prompt of their choice and formed pairs/groups to test-run the template. Each group applied the prompts either to concrete cases they were currently working on, or they formulated scenarios where these prompts could potentially be used. In the debrief, we brainstormed the strengths and challenges of each prompt, and discussed ways for teachers and students to adapt and tailor them to specific classroom or learning situations.

Insights from the Participants 🔍

Benefits for Students 🧑‍🎓✅

  • By using GenAI in class, students learn in a new way, increasing engagement, interactivity, and fun
  • Students can be part of the co-creation learning process where they can adjust the prompt template to better fit the context they are working on
  • ChatGPT-4o offers the option to communicate with it by speaking, making it more engaging for students (and teachers), and more accessible for those who may have difficulty using a keyboard

Challenges for Students🧑‍🎓❌

  • Without a dry run, it may be difficult to keep track of whom the prompts are referring to when they are using ‘you’, as it switches between student, teacher, GenAI as a tutor, etc.

Benefits for Teachers 👩🏽‍🏫✅

  • This is an opportunity for teachers to collaborate, share, and improve prompts together, and thus use collaboration to power-up their course-design work
  • Prompts may be adjusted to various courses and contexts to align with the intended learning outcomes (ILOs)
  • Templates could be used as a conversation starter, thus helping to overcome the blank-page syndrome
  • ChatGPT-4o gives the option to communicate with the GenAI orally, adding a layer of realism

Challenges for Teachers 👩🏽‍🏫❌

  • Before putting into practice the activity, teachers should have clear learning goals and should have a clear sense of which aspect of learning they are working on (see Bloom’s taxonomy) as this impacts the prompts, and more specifically, the words (verbs) the prompts should include
  • Assessment can be a challenge; thus, more exploration is advised on how to assess student learning
  • Some prompts and simulations could be seen as too simplistic, not representing reality; thus, it is important for teachers to adjust them to make the simulation closer to real-world scenarios in their particular teaching contexts
  • ChatGPT’s output may vary depending on the language; it seems to be more reliable in English than in Dutch. Teachers are encouraged to test the prompts beforehand and verify the output before collaboratively doing it with their students.

What Were the Takeaways? 🧠

In debriefing the experience of the breakout groups that tested various prompts from the Mollick & Mollick article, two common threads emerged.

A considerable advantage of the prompts is that they provide a practical and inspirational starting point for creating learning exercises. They are practical in the sense that they provide a helpful starting point, and can be tailored to different contexts and student/teacher needs with little training. They are inspirations in that they showcase the range of different uses of GenAI in teaching and learning and thus offer ideas for new ways to approach learning activities, and even learning goals.

On the other hand, one big challenge was juggling multiple personas during the process. In creating course materials with the AI, teachers have to keep on the hat of themselves as course coordinators and activity creators, but they occasionally have to put on the hat of a student, as well as the hat of the virtual assistant that is GenAI. Switching between multiple personas can occasionally twist one’s brain into a pretzel. One solution to it appears to be testing: going through the steps to see what works and what doesn’t clarifies obscurities that might have taken shape along the way.

Finally, this session emphasized the value and importance of testing in the process of shaping learning activities. Testing a prompting template helps generate ideas: how to tailor the prompt itself, but more importantly, how to further enhance the learning activity. Testing also helps improve the learning experience, as it brings to light weaknesses of early iterations of learning activities as well as ideas for new approaches. Both of these benefits apply to the ‘author’ of the learning activity as well as to the ‘participants’, encouraging students and teachers to collaborate.

If you are curious to experiment with the prompts we used during our session, you can access the open-source article here.

Come Join Us! 😁

To participate in the meetups and receive follow-ups, we invite you to become a member of our community! Join us by filling out this form (this is for EUR members only). Don’t miss our next meetup on Thursday, June 13th, where we will address different formal prompting techniques.

Join us in shaping the future of teaching and learning with GenAI!




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