Universities Embrace AI Tools in Curriculum to Empower Students
In a major shift from previous policies, universities and schools have started embracing AI tools in their curriculum, recognizing the value they can bring to students’ education. Previously, these institutions were hesitant and even adopted measures to ban tools like ChatGPT. However, educators from small and large universities in the US and abroad are now actively encouraging and teaching students how to effectively use these AI tools.
According to Lance Eaton, an administrator at Rhode Island-based College Unbound, there has been a notable change in attitude towards AI. Earlier on, we saw a knee-jerk reaction to AI by banning it going into the spring semester, but now the talk is about why it makes sense for students to use it, Eaton explained. To facilitate this change, AI-focused online communities have been established, such as the Higher Ed Discussions of Writing and AI on Facebook, as well as the Google group AI in Education. These platforms provide educators with valuable insights on how AI is being successfully incorporated into various fields of study, ranging from coding to sociology.
This newfound acceptance and enthusiasm for AI tools among professors stem from the fear of depriving students of valuable learning experiences if they were ignored or discouraged. The potential benefits of using ChatGPT in particular have been highlighted in a study conducted by Intelligent.com, which revealed that about 30% of college students utilized ChatGPT for their schoolwork in the past academic year, with English classes being the most common subject. Notably, 1 in 8 students reported an increase in their GPA, attributing their success to their use of ChatGPT.
More than just improved grades, college students who utilized ChatGPT expressed positive experiences with the tool. The study found that over 75% of users were likely to recommend studying with ChatGPT to fellow students. This feedback underscores the potential of AI tools to enhance learning outcomes and equip students with valuable skills for their future careers.
Jules White, an associate professor of computer science at Vanderbilt University, stressed the significance of AI in higher education. It cannot be ignored, White emphasized. I think it’s incredibly important for students, faculty, and alumni to become experts in AI because it will be so transformative across every industry in demand, so we need to provide the right training.
To ensure proper integration of AI tools into their teaching practices, some schools have gone as far as hiring external experts to educate both faculty and students. By doing so, these institutions are ensuring that everyone receives comprehensive training on how to effectively utilize AI tools and leverage their potential benefits.
The shift towards incorporating AI tools in university curricula marks a significant turning point in the approach to education. With the transformative impact AI is expected to have across various industries, it is crucial for students to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge in this field. By embracing AI, universities are empowering their students and equipping them for success in an AI-driven future.