The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI students gain free access to Microsoft AI chat service

Microsoft Copilot is now available to students and has been used by faculty and staff since January
Matt Sindt
The Old Capitol is seen in Iowa City on Sunday, March 26, 2023.

University of Iowa students can now access a generative artificial intelligence chat service for free through the university, according to a recent release from the UI.

UI faculty and staff have been able to use the AI chat service Microsoft Copilot since early January. The AI is intended as a tool to help students write, code, analyze data, summarize documents, create images, and answer questions. 

Students can utilize the free access to Copilot through its website if they log in using their HawkID. 

Steve Schmadeke, public relations manager for the UI, stated in an email to The Daily Iowan that Copilot is included in the university’s Microsoft license, meaning there is no additional cost associated with the service.

The intent behind Copilot is for it to be used as a tool to make tasks more efficient and improve the quality of the work of staff, faculty, and students, Schmadeke wrote.

It is a tool with the potential to help our students, faculty and staff save time, improve the quality of their work, deepen their research, and unleash creativity,” Schmadeke wrote.

The UI has instructed professors to be clear about permissible AI usage in their coursework in order to ensure AI is not being abused in any way in the classroom, Schmadeke wrote.

“Our core mission remains providing a transformational educational experience that prepares our students for success, and a key part of our strategy is engaging students in ongoing conversations about AI and academic integrity to ensure they understand how to leverage AI tools appropriately,” Schmadeke wrote.

The UI also supports the use of Gradescope, which is an artificial intelligence tool that helps with grading, according to the UI’s website.

AI has made its way into some UI classrooms in recent years. For example, some professors have incorporated ChatGPT, a generative AI chatbot, into their coursework. There are also UI classes dedicated to teaching about AI, such as the course “Generative AI Tools: ChatGPT and Beyond,” which was first taught in fall 2023 and will be offered again in the upcoming fall semester.

According to Microsoft’s website, Copilot has already been used in some educational contexts, such as at Wichita Public Schools in Kansas. At the collegiate level, Oregon State University has also utilized Copilot for cybersecurity purposes, according to a March 19 release from Microsoft.

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.