Collaborating to Probe AI in Higher Education

Post Date:
May 31, 2023

Computer generated content, and access to the technology behind it is increasingly prevalent across myriad sectors. The impact and reach of platforms such as ChatGPT, Midjourney, and Google’s new Search Generative Experience (SGE) is growing daily, generating not just content, but important new questions and challenges for instructors, researchers, and students throughout the higher education ecosystem.

The Making AI Generative for Higher Education project will assess the immediate and emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications most likely to impact teaching, learning, and research, and explore the long-term needs of institutions, instructors, and scholars as they navigate this environment. Queen’s University is one of 18 universities, and one of only three in Canada chosen to participate in this new two-year project coordinated by Ithaka S+R.

“ChatGPT has taken the world by storm, with educators questioning the problems as well as the promise of AI apps. As generative AI technologies continue to evolve every day, their potential to impact higher education is becoming increasingly apparent; we need to update our collective understanding of these cutting-edge developments and how they can be harnessed effectively in research and pedagogical practice within the university context” said Dr. Nasser Saleh, Librarian for Educational Initiatives and theproject coordinator at Queen’s University.Queen’s University’s  project group is comprised of representatives from Queen’s University Library, the Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), Queen’s Student Academic Success Services (SASS), and the Queen’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

The project begins  in September 2023 with  an assessment phase, where participating institutions will gauge the readiness of their campuses to productively leverage generative AI technologies for teaching and research purposes. Ithaka S+R will comprehensively review relevant technological, policy, service, and product developments and publish updates from the project’s initial activities by the end of 2023.

In winter 2024, the project will focus on gathering perspectives from those working with generative AI technologies in a variety of disciplines. Ithaka S+R and the participating universities will conduct semi-structured interviews with instructors and researchers, which will create the largest qualitative dataset to-date on the higher education use-case.

The project’s second year focuses on developing institution-specific strategies, while bringing cohort members together in design workshops to surface areas for on-campus intervention. Each university will create, or revise their existing campus-wide strategy statement on generative AI, Developing and launching a preliminary plan for spreading awareness, and driving broader implementation across campus

At the conclusion of the project, Ithaka S+R will publish shared findings and observations from all three project phases, with input from the cohort.

“This is another example of the ongoing, highly impactful work being undertaken across our library system that not only advances Queen’s Strategic Priorities, but also provides substantive benefit to the higher education community as a whole. It’s truly exciting to be working with such an esteemed group of partners on project we believe will be a foundational resource in the field of AI for years to come” Dr. Saleh said. 

Institutions selected to participate: 

Carnegie Mellon University, Concordia University, Duke University, East Carolina University, McMaster University, Princeton University, Queen’s University, Stony Brook University, Temple University, University of Arizona, University of Chicago, University of Connecticut, University of Delaware, University of New Mexico, University of North Texas, Wesleyan University, Yale University

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