The essential human element of AI in education

World AI Week represents a unique moment to reflect on how AI has changed the way we work, live, and learn. Many brilliant minds and progressive companies are gathering for the World Summit AI (WSAI) in early October to discuss AI’s potential, and among the many topics of discussion, the role of AI in education will certainly be a hot topic.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has greatly shifted the landscape of technology in education. Overnight, learning worldwide became remote and distributed. What were once simple tasks like distributing and collecting homework or administering an in-class midterm became complex technological challenges, for which our collective tools fell short. However, we also made great strides in closing the gap, and along the way developed, improved, and scaled our technology and products in ways that we never thought possible. We’re proud of how our AI helped instructors by assisting in grouping similar answers to accelerate feedback, our state-of-the-art handwriting recognition that brings a new level of offline-to-online accessibility to our cutting-edge platform and our writing AI that helps students improve the way they write and use citations.

To continue to add a new perspective to this conversation, I asked a number of AI in education experts as well as two faculty members for their thoughts about AI’s role and potential in education.…Read More

4 key ways AI is impacting higher ed

What is the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in higher education? A new report from The Learning House, Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education: Current Uses and Future Applications, outlines some of the ways AI is impacting higher ed and also examines implementation challenges.

The report also highlights important policy guidance and recommendations that are likely to accelerate AI innovation or, if unrealized, stifle its growth and adoption. For example, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) last updated in 2001, predates many common education technologies including smartphones, tablets, wireless data, MOOCs, and even online education programs in general. The brief also cites necessary changes to policies on data security and accreditation.

“Imagine a world where grading a full course’s papers takes 15 minutes, and teaching assistants, student advisers and enrollment counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Imagine a world where faculty can create immersive, real-world experiences for students without leaving the classroom, map out a class’s misconceptions about material down to discrete learning outcomes and select a series of intervention strategies targeted to each student’s unique learning needs,” the authors write. “Many of these elements have always been possible through extensive human effort, but AI will make this world available at scale, freeing up faculty and staff to deliver a more personal, tailored experience that better meets students’ needs and prepares them for success.”…Read More

3 takeaways from North Carolina Community College System’s AI projects

Colleges, universities, and community college systems are grappling with how best to plan, implement, and deliver artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to the maximum benefit of students, faculty, administration, and community stakeholders. As I interact with colleagues across the country, they all know it’s no longer a question of “if” but “how and when and to what end.”

While the needs of every institution are obviously going to vary based on size, student profile, public versus private, I would like to offer up some useful observations and takeaways based on our first steps in this AI journey at the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS).

About us: We’re the third-largest community college system in the United States, with 58 campus locations, more than 750,000 students, and more than 30,000 faculty and staff. The taxpayer investments in the system have been consistent, considerable, and continue to generate economic growth and development across North Carolina.…Read More

4 ways we can start using AI in higher ed to humanize teaching

Artificial intelligence (AI) has fascinating implications for instruction, and some educators are already using AI in higher ed to humanize teaching.

“We hear that AI will take away faculty—AI is, in fact, going to supplement the work we already do,” said Jennifer Sparrow, senior director of teaching and learning with technology at Penn State. In that role, she focuses on innovation and technology-enhanced teaching and learning.

Last fall, during EDUCAUSE 2018, Sparrow, along with Kyle Bowen, director of innovation for teaching and learning with technology, shared how we can use AI in higher ed to help with teaching from different points of view, including ideation, design, assessment, facilitation, and reflection.…Read More

4 ways our campus uses machine learning to build community and empower students

In the past decade, higher education has experienced a major shift toward digital experiences. This change reflects the way in which the rising generation prefers to engage with each other and with their instructors—as well as how they desire to learn. It’s an evolution that is echoed at campuses across the nation.

This means that the way faculty and staff interact with students is fundamentally changing. Students expect to be able to connect with us anytime, from anywhere. This is particularly challenging for us at Indiana University (IU) because we are so geographically dispersed and touch an enormous diversity of individuals and groups, with a fall 2018 enrollment of more than 114,000 across eight campuses and multiple satellite locations. At IU, we have a compelling need to create new pathways to support our students and to give them digital options to engage with faculty, staff, and each other across disciplines and locations.

To address this challenge, we believe it’s important to leverage smart tools that not only tap into the expertise of our staff but also incorporate emerging capabilities such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.…Read More

7 ways AI will shape the future of work & higher ed

With so many industries seeing the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) applications come to fruition, we will need highly trained workers to fill what is likely to be a rising demand for such skills.

1. LinkedIn research shows that AI skills are among the professional networking platform’s fastest-growing skills. In fact, the number of LinkedIn members adding these skills to their profiles saw a 190 percent increase between 2015 and 2017.

2. The World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs 2018 forecasts that AI will have applications in almost every sector. Software and IT services saw incredible growth in the past two years, but education, hardware and networking, finance, and manufacturing saw increases as well.…Read More

The future of AI in digital learning is in our daily work, not the classroom

In academia, instruction usually stops at the (real or virtual) classroom door. When students enter the workforce, they’re typically on their own if they have questions about how to apply what they learned in a real-world situation. Certainly, it’s unreasonable to expect instructors to field emails, texts, and calls from former students during the workday, but a lot of learning happens while actually on the job, where people apply the skills learned in a classroom.

Learning by doing

I and many others believe learning works best when it’s driven by the learner’s questions in an interactive and personalized setting. People learn best through doing. And even within the context of online learning, we think the most value comes from using knowledge to complete a real-world task.

Certainly, many topics can be learned by reading a book or watching a video outside of a class. But when you get confused, you may need an interaction to help you understand where your train of thought diverged or to show you a different way of learning you’ve not seen before.…Read More

Here’s how to future-proof your college campus

Higher ed is in the middle of a critical–yet often invisible–technological transformation.

Technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence are hyped daily for their future impact, but higher-ed leaders must first prepare their campuses for these technological revolutions.

According to a report from the Center for Digital Education (CDE), college and university leaders are focusing on transforming academics, securing students and data, improving student services, and modernizing IT. These for core areas, they believe, will establish a solid foundation to support future innovation on campus.…Read More

5 top-ranked AI programs in higher ed

Artificial intelligence has morphed from a sci-fi movie hypothetical to a field with real potential and impact in different industries, prompting many research institutions to offer AI concentrations–or even full degrees.

AI studies offers what many experts say is a secure future in career paths from video game design and software engineering to robotics programming and military specializations.

In fact, it is now so widespread that several groups rank AI degree programs and paths of study. In addition to its general university ranking, U.S. News also ranks schools by specific programs, including top AI programs. The ranking methodology notes that the field is evolving and will require broad training, and courses will span engineering, computer science, and other related areas.…Read More

Don’t worry, grads–robots aren’t taking your jobs (yet)

Employers are still asking for workers with strong soft skills, despite increasing technological advancements that allow many jobs to instead be automated.

Strong “uniquely human” skills, as some call them, are some of the most important when it comes to what employers seek in job applicants–but they’re having trouble finding applicants with these skills, according to a new survey from Cengage.

The survey of more than 650 employers and more than 1,500 current and former college students reveals soft skills are most in demand by employers (by at least 65 percent), while quantitative skills and computer and technical skills were less so (47 percent and 50 percent, respectively).…Read More