UW-Madison expands Microsoft Copilot use to students

The University of Wisconsin-Madison recently extended Microsoft's chatbot for use by students, but use policies are still left to individual instructors.
Microsoft sign
(Getty Images / John Smith / VIEWpress)

After deploying Microsoft’s artificial intelligence chatbot to only faculty and staff earlier this year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has recently expanded the platform for student use.

The Badger Herald, the campus’ student-run media organization, reported that the university system, which made the technology available to students last month, has not updated its policies around AI use since the institution’s launch of Microsoft Copilot. The university’s policies concerning the use of AI tools for coursework are still up to the determination of individual instructors.

“The launch of Copilot is intended to support instructors and students in exploring appropriate uses of AI–it’s not a signal of any change in policy,” John Zumbrunnen, the university’s senior vice provost for academic affairs, told the Badger Herald. “Our existing policies are serving campus well and we are prepared to update them if needed.” 

Zumbrunnen said instructors are encouraged to use AI in their courses, but that the new, free tool will help create a “level playing field” for students to explore the technology. 


The university said that Copilot provides data protections unlike other commercial AI tools because Microsoft claims that prompts and responses used by students, faculty and staff are not used to train its AI models.

The university is hosting informal meetings for instructors to ask questions and share experiences with their colleagues across campus, according to the university’s announcement. The next session is scheduled for April 26.

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