Since the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022, educators, administrators and other higher education stakeholders have grappled with the implications of generative artificial intelligence on intellectual property, academic integrity and ethical use, among other topics.
While the majority of U.S. students have yet to latch on to the trend, they’re still outpacing their instructors, with a Tyton Partners report in October 2023 finding only 22 percent of faculty members utilize AI.
Among faculty who do use AI, 43 percent are running prompts to understand what their students might be using the tools for, 35 percent are using it to teach and 29 percent are using it for in-class activities, according to the report.
A November 2023 report from Anthology found 38 percent of students in the U.S. are using generative AI tools at least monthly. A November 2023 study from Chegg found only 20 percent of U.S. students have used generative AI for their coursework.
In the workforce, only 35 percent of U.S. adults say they are comfortable integrating these tools into work and school, with worries about the accuracy of information also a top concern, according to a University of Phoenix survey from September 2023.
Across higher education, the main barriers to AI adoption are security concerns, a need for AI training programs and ethical implications, according to a Ellucian survey of administrators in the U.S. from summer 2023.
Here are four ways faculty members can employ artificial intelligence:
- To improve student writing. Pamela Bourjaily, a business communication professor at the University of Iowa, created an assignment that requires students to experiment with ChatGPT and learn how to create the best prompts. Students learned to edit and revise prompts to produce more accurate and helpful outputs.
- To prepare slide decks. Rodney B. Murray, host of the Pulse podcast, used AI-powered tools to put together a presentation for his podcasting course. Murray compares working with MagicSlides and SlidesGPT in design, images and prices.
- To provide students with feedback. Harvard University’s Computer Science 50: Introduction to Computer Science course uses an AI tool to highlight areas of code that could be improved, as well as provide solutions. The tool is designed to make the work of TAs and professors more efficient as well as provide students with a personalized learning experience.
- To provide workforce tools. Following their time in college, today’s learners will encounter AI in the workplace, and it is the responsibility of the institution to prepare them for this experience, Ray Schroeder wrote in a September 2023 blog post for Inside Higher Ed. Learning modules in senior capstone courses or certificates could credential students for their future jobs. Anand Rao, professor of communication at the University of Mary Washington, introduces students to low- and no-code options to build their own generative AI tools in his special topics course on digital studies.
Food for thought: For educators considering implementing AI into their classrooms, experts in the field share some considerations.
- Create guidelines. A September 2023 report from Cornell University’s Center for Teaching and Learning encourages faculty to explicitly set expectations for when and how students can employ generative AI into their work with proper attribution. Ohio University’s Center for Teaching and Learning offers example AI policies and assignments from faculty members at the university to provide a reference point.
- Teach ethical use. While some institutions are teaching about AI, many lack requirements around teaching students ethics and how they can be ethical users of the technology, particularly in the U.S.
- Understand limitations. AI is not free from bias and sometimes hallucinates, so teaching students the shortcomings of tools such as ChatGPT can promote better learning and make them more prepared to engage with the resources.
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