What Are Universities Thinking About AI?

I have been curious about this, and attended an excellent Digitally-Enhanced Education Webinar,  ‘Teaching with ChatGPT: Examples of Practice’, hosted by Dr. Phil Anthony (@PhilAnthony4) at the University of Kent.

Here were the speakers, who presented for about 15mins each: 

  • Dr Phil Anthony (University of Kent): Introduction 
  • Professor Maha Bali (@Bali_Maha) (The American University in Cairo): Promoting Critical AI Literacies in Egypt
  • Zaid Mahmood (Kent Union President, University of Kent): The use of ChatGPT in Education: A Student Voice
  • Debbie Kemp (University of Kent): Chat GPT: Love it or hate it, but ultimately embracing it!
  • Assistant Professor Russell Campbell (University of the Fraser Valley: Canada): Team-Based Learning with ChatGPT
  • Professor Margaret Bearman (@margaret_bea)(Deakin University): Preparing University Assessment for a World with AI: Tasks for Human Intelligence
  • Marion Sadoux (@SadouxMarion)(University of Oxford): Using ChatGPT for error correction in language teaching
  • Dr Abdullahi Arabo (@AArabojr)(UWE Bristol): Authentic Assessment Case Study: Utilizing ChatGPT for Offensive Cybersecurity
  • Professor Laura Dumin (University of Central Oklahoma): Using AI in the writing classroom
The videos from the presenters are shared on this Playlist.

Some Key Takeaways for (International) School Students & Educators:

  • There was a general sense in this group of ’embrace and learn with it’ over ‘ban it’. Although, that is a self-selecting group if they are presenting at a session like this…
  • Many described some split opinions and debate on the use of AI in their universities.
  • In terms of teaching and assessing with AI, approaches generally involved allowing it, with ethical discussions, and ensuring students acknowledge their use of AI tools in their work clearly.
  • Some of the presenters are taking an action-research based approach to their work on AI with students, and the learnings from their feedback and iterations are insightful.
  • Some innovative approaches to ‘creating a culture of transparent assessment (Maha Bali)’ included open-internet/tool assessment, building on GPT-generated content to analyse through their content, collaborative projects and testing ideas for feedback using GPT.
  • In the chat, Joe Wilson from City University Glasgow shared this draft of their guidance for using AI in assignments, including citing.
  • Prof. Maha Bali shared a lot of wisdom on promoting critical AI literacies (slides here), including a discussion on ethics (inc. Dr. Sarah Heaton’s (@DrSarahHeaton) 6 Tenets of Post-Plagiarism), bias in AI systems and ethics of ChatGPT using low-wage Kenyan workers to make the systems safer.
  • Prof. Bali also shared the work of Lawrie Phipps (@Lawrie) and Donna Lanclos (@DonnaLanclos) on the acknowledgement of human cost of the training of the tools (post here). Is an acknowledgement statement such as this something you would consider in your work?

For some more innovative ideas in AI in HigherEd, check out Ethan Mollick’s (@emollick) tweets and posts about their approach at Wharton.

Overall, I was encouraged by the open-minded responses and approaches the presenters are taking with their classes. Sometimes there is a perception that university teaching and learning is very conservative, yet we are preparing learners for a rapidly-accelerating and uncertain future. As we continue to design learning experiences to help our students ethically adapt and thrive in a changing world, it is reassuring to know that their (likely) next phase is thinking similarly.

If you are interested in attending future events, join this mailing list.

Be excellent to each other.

6 Tenets of Postplagiarism: Writing in the age of AI, by Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton.

Connected resources:

Header Image generated in MidJourneyV5, using the prompt: a closeup shot of a group of diverse young adult students working around a shared table on laptops, in a futuristic classroom with plants in the background and notebooks, pens and books on the table, subtle bokeh effect, focus on laptops and hands, natural lighting –v 5 –aspect 2:1



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