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Beginning with concern over the potential for plagiarism and cheating by way of the use of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) chatbots, higher education has paid attention to the development of this technology. Soon, educators came to realize that the depth and scope of the AI revolution was such that it would require some adaptation in the delivery modes, methods and pedagogies of classes. Given that GenAI is rapidly becoming a daily-use tool in the workplace, higher education needs to embrace the technology in teaching methods as well as content. Just as with the Internet, the personal computer and common office software that preceded the release of GenAI chatbots decades ago, graduates needed to be well versed in the operation and application of new technologies to be hired and function successfully in the workplace. Once again, we need to adapt to society-wide technological changes.

Now, as GenAI develops and matures in business, industry, commerce and society as a whole, it is becoming an integral part of the design, implementation and delivery of higher education as a whole. Let’s look at some of the applications that are developing that will advance higher education.

A whole host of chatbot apps have been released that can be effectively used in the development, delivery and participation in higher education classes. With more than 35 million users, the most attention has been given to ChatGPT by OpenAI. Yet, there are many more apps such as Google Gemini, Perplexity AI, Claude by Anthropic, Pi by Inflection, and ones that effectively combine GenAI with Internet search such as CleeAI. All of these general applications have useful roles for enhancing teaching and learning in higher education.

Of course, the relationship between OpenAI and Khan Academy has resulted in a rather phenomenal online tutor named Khanmigo. The founder and CEO of Khan Academy, Sal Khan says, “Generative AI can be a force for good in education. Khan Academy now has an educational AI chatbot, Khanmigo, which can guide students while still promoting critical thinking. Khan says developments like these could allow for every student to have a personal AI tutor and every teacher an AI teaching assistant. And Khan thinks incorporating AI in the classroom can allow for exciting new learning opportunities—“with the right programming and guardrails.”

With Khanmigo, the Khan Academy provides teachers with a tool with which “educators can easily tackle a wide range of duties, such as the following:

  • Generating rubrics
  • Developing quiz and exercise questions
  • Crafting exit tickets
  • Creating captivating lesson hooks tailored to student interests
  • Supporting Individual Education Plan (IEP) development”

The tool is available to individuals and families at $4 per month or $44 a year, while teachers are provided free access, and educational institutions and school districts can negotiate licenses.

Some of the apps that have been developed for general use can be customized for specific topical areas in higher ed. For example, I created a version of GPT, “Ray’s EduAI Advisor,” that builds onto the current GPT-4o version with specific updates and perspectives on AI in higher education. It is freely available to users. With few tools and no knowledge of the programming involved, anyone can build their own GPT to supplement information for their classes or interest groups.

Professors in foreign languages at Arizona State University developed a GPT “Language Buddy” that “can interact with students based on the prompts given, and training the technology to be more human-like and to interact at an appropriate language level. Ideally, they would like Language Buddy to be able to have conversations with beginner-level students (based on course content), generate a transcript of the conversation and provide tailored feedback for the student.”

Open AI has announced that it will soon release a wide-ranging application for higher education use. “ChatGPT Edu” will provide a wide range of new features as described in this response to an inquiry I posed to ChatGPT “What will this provide to higher education?” These features listed include customized tutoring, enhanced teaching tools with additional resource recommendations and administrative support including assistance in tracking student progress, organizing schedules and managing course materials. In addition, ChatGPT recognizes that there is speculation that it will additionally include:

  • Adaptive Learning Systems: More advanced personalization features that adapt in real-time to student performance and engagement.
  • Integration with Learning Management Systems (LMS): Seamless integration with popular LMS platforms for more cohesive educational experiences.
  • Advanced Analytics: Enhanced data analytics for deeper insights into student learning patterns and outcomes.

OpenAI has not forgotten associations and other nonprofits that may be associated with higher education by “offering nonprofits discounted access to premium versions of ChatGPT to make the chatbot more accessible with its OpenAI for Nonprofits initiative, offering nonprofits “discounted access to premium ChatGPT, providing a ChatGPT Team license for just $20 per user per month—a $10 discount.”

Just in case we need to remind ourselves of why those of us in higher education must begin to integrate GenAI into our teaching and learning, data is now emerging that indicates that students may be more likely to be considered for higher paying positions if they include experience with AI in their employment applications. A study by Nick Drydakis in the Oxford Economic Papers, recently reported:

It was found that university graduates with AI capital, obtained through an AI business module, experienced more invitations for job interviews than graduates without AI capital. Moreover, graduates with AI capital were invited to interviews for jobs that offered higher wages than those without AI capital. Furthermore, it was found that large firms exhibited a preference for job applicants with AI capital, resulting in increased interview invitations and opportunities for higher-paying positions. The outcomes hold for both men and women. The study concludes that AI capital might be rewarded in terms of employment prospects, especially in large firms.

Thus, through including experience in utilizing and understanding the potential of AI in their discipline, we may be able to assist our students in preparing for the changing workplace environment that awaits them. Perhaps this summer affords us an opportunity to begin integrating GenAI into our fall semester offerings.

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