Explore the current campus landscape for AI tools

UW–Madison is currently focusing on four generative AI providers to support research, instruction, and campus operations – “currently” being an especially important word, as this technology continues to change rapidly.

Chief Technology Officer Todd Shechter and Director of Academic Technology Tamara Walker provided an overview of the four providers and their tools during the Feb. 23 session of Coffee & Copilot, a monthly spring event series focused on generative AI in teaching and learning organized by the Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring.


Enterprise ChatGPT (comprising ChatGPT, API access to OpenAI models, and GPT access) is currently so expensive that it’s not possible to provide campus-wide access. The university is working on a contract with OpenAI that could allow for smaller-scale access or pilot programs.


Microsoft Copilot is available at no cost to faculty, staff, and students. It provides equitable access to question-and-answer AI with privacy and data security protection when users log in with their UW–Madison NetID.  Instructors wishing to use generative AI for teaching and learning within their courses are encouraged to consider adopting Copilot because of its equity, security, and privacy features. Sensitive and restricted data should not be entered into Microsoft Copilot – for more detail, please see Generative AI@UW–Madison: Use and policies.

This enterprise version of Copilot differs from other Copilot products, such as Copilot for Microsoft 365 (which integrates with an individual’s email, calendar, and other Office 365 applications) and Copilot Pro (which is available to individuals via their personal accounts for a fee). Researchers at UW–Madison can obtain API access to OpenAI’s large language models through our Microsoft Azure contract – learn more.

The enterprise version of Copilot is a very new product offering, which comes with unknowns and uncertainties. The Division of Information Technology Help Desk is prepared to assist individuals having challenges accessing Copilot, but is not able to consult on topics such as AI prompt engineering, access to specific Large Language Models (LLMs), or other specific uses of Copilot.


Gemini (formerly Bard) is available on an experimental basis to faculty, staff, and students. Individuals can log into Gemini using their NetID and password, however, this product is NOT covered by the privacy and data security provisions in UW-Madison’s core Google contract. Any information entered into the tool is used to train the large language model and may be viewed by Google employees. For this reason, Gemini should be used with caution.  It’s not yet known what services might be available from Google in the future.

Gideon Taylor

A pilot project will test the Ida chatbot’s effectiveness as a centralized information resource that could answer a variety of questions about UW–Madison from individuals such as prospective students, current employees, and others.