Faculty members are increasingly harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Generative AI to revolutionise their teaching and assessment methodologies. In a university context, AI can bring a range of benefits to the work that faculty do.
Let’s take a look at some of the main advantages.
Preparing lessons and materials
Faculty are leveraging AI tools to personalise learning experiences, tailoring content and assessments to cater to individual student needs. AI can analyse large datasets to identify students’ learning preferences, enabling educators to craft engaging and effective learning pathways. This not only empowers students to take charge of their own learning, but also leads to more efficient and impactful education outcomes.
Generative AI, a subset of AI, takes the potential even further. It allows faculty to create content, including essays, reports, and even exam questions, with unprecedented ease and speed. By using tools such as ChatGPT, Bard and Bing, educators can generate high-quality learning materials, freeing up valuable time for more strategic teaching activities. This also ensures that assessments are diverse, rigorous, and reflective of the varied learning experiences students require.
Assessment and feedback
Beyond teaching, AI-supported assessment methods are enhancing the evaluation process. By incorporating AI into grading systems, faculty can provide rapid and consistent feedback to students. This immediate feedback loop not only aids in understanding strengths and areas for improvement but also motivates students to stay on track towards academic success.
Identifying students who need help
AI can enable early intervention strategies by identifying students who may be facing academic challenges and at risk of failing. By analysing historical data, AI can detect patterns of performance to reveal where a student might need extra support. This timely intervention, initiated by faculty, plays a key role in improving student retention rates and overall success.
Chatbots like IBM Watson Assistant can also provide support for students by handling routine queries. Conversational AI tools can provide quick responses to common questions about course content, assignments, and deadlines. This frees up time for educators to focus on more complex inquiries.
Getting Started with AI
For faculty members who are new to AI, starting small and gradually expanding your usage can be an effective approach. Let’s take a look at some examples of how faculty in a range of disciplines can use AI tools to augment the teaching and learning experience:
Science – Virtual Lab Simulations
In Biology courses, AI-powered virtual lab simulations, like those offered by Labster, can provide students with interactive, hands-on experiences in conducting experiments and exploring biological concepts. This is particularly useful for science courses where physical labs may not always be accessible.
Humanities – Automated Essay Scoring
Tools like Criterion from ETS use AI to evaluate essays based on predefined scoring criteria. This can be valuable in subjects like Literature or History, where essay writing is a significant component of assessment. And IBM’s Watson Discovery tool can process large amounts of text to help learners develop new insights about a topic.
Management – Predictive Analytics for Decision Making
Using AI-driven predictive analytics tools, instructors can teach students how to analyse data for informed decision-making in business contexts. This application is especially relevant in Management courses.
Maths & Physics: Exploring complex problems
Tools such as Wolfram Alpha provide factual answers to science, maths and engineering problems. This enables learners to investigate complex science problems and receive step-by-step solutions.
Coding: practising coding and programming
Platforms such as Codecademy and DataCamp use AI to help learners develop their coding skills. These platforms adjust the difficulty level for learners and provide worked examples to gradually develop their proficiency and confidence in coding. IBM’s Watson Studio also provides a collaborative coding environment with auto-generated code, which helps leaders develop their skills in data analysis and modelling.
Language teaching: improving comprehension and confidence
In diverse classrooms, AI-driven translation tools can help bridge language barriers, ensuring that all students have equal access to course materials. Google Translate, for instance, provides instant translations in multiple languages. Tools such as Replika use AI to help learners practise their conversational interaction to improve their discussion skills. And DuoLingo uses AI to help learners learn different languages.
Design: generative design Tools
AI-powered generative design tools can assist students in creating innovative and optimised design solutions for architectural or engineering projects. UIzard uses AI to enable learners to design wireframes, mockups and prototypes. Canva harnesses AI to help learners create visually appealing presentations and graphics, and Runway uses AI to generate videos and images using only text.
Law: legal research assistance
AI-powered legal research platforms like ROSS Intelligence can help law students and professionals find relevant case law and legal precedents more efficiently, enhancing their research skills.
All disciplines: AI-powered content curation
Platforms like Coursera and edX use AI algorithms to recommend relevant learning resources to students based on their preferences and performance. Instructors can leverage these tools to supplement their courses with additional materials tailored to individual student needs.
All disciplines: AI-powered research
The Scopus academic database uses AI to provide recommended research about a topic. This enables faculty to set students a problem or a task and identify relevant research with which to analyse it.
3 tips for faculty interested in exploring AI
Prioritise accessibility and inclusivity
Ensure that AI-integrated materials and tools are accessible to all students, regardless of their ability. Also ensure that the AI tools you choose are affordable for all students.
Provide clear instructions and training
Offer thorough guidance on how to use AI tools, along with training sessions or resources. If you need help, work with a learning designer to create activities and instructions for students (and faculty). This will reduce the cognitive load students experience, and ensure they use AI in support of the intended learning outcomes.
Encourage experimentation and feedback
Both faculty and students are new to AI, and both can learn from each other. You don’t need to pretend to be an AI expert, because very few people are! Instead, encourage your students to experiment with AI tools, and create opportunities for htem to share what they have learned with you and the rest of the class.