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Artificial intelligence in teaching and learning

The Working Group is facilitated by a dynamic and interdisciplinary team of UD faculty and staff who are already engaged in cutting-edge explorations of AI in the context of education. They include Evans; Meg Grotti, associate university librarian for learning, engagement and curriculum support in UD’s Library, Museums and Press; Erin Sicuranza, director of UD’s Academic Technology Services (ATS); and Joshua Wilson, associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD).

With a background in special education, Wilson studies how automated essay evaluation systems and other forms of machine learning can support student learning. With colleagues from the College of Arts and Sciences and CEHD, Wilson is now using AI to develop a new instructional approach for large foundational courses, where students can struggle to stay engaged or feel a personal connection to the material. 

UD’s Library, Museums and Press has developed an AI literacy tutorial that helps students and faculty start a conversation about the appropriate use of AI, as well as workshops for students interested in the smart use of these tools. 

ATS is engaged in an AI development project called UD Study AiDE.  Spearheaded by Jevonia Harris, team leader for educational software engineering in ATS, this project will lead to a suite of learning tools that UD students can use to create their own study materials. In partnership with UD faculty, ATS is training an internal AI model to contextualize, summarize and generate materials related to UD course content from instructional video transcripts, learning management system pages and other supporting teaching documents. 

“This project serves as a pioneering effort into the broader strategy of how emerging AI, generative AI and large language model technologies will be utilized at UD and in the greater higher education landscape,” Sicuranza said. “Having access to the Working Group — their expertise, passion and deliberate thinking — gives our team an excellent resource to guide our work.”

AI seminar series 

To date, the group has established a yearlong seminar series for the UD community titled “Navigating the Future of AI and Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.” These in-person and virtual seminars help UD faculty and staff understand the strengths, limitations, ethics and accessibility of AI and the implications of AI for teaching, learning and the future of higher education, and prepare students for the future of work and the workplace. 

“Building AI literacy among students has to start with building AI literacy among the faculty and staff who teach, advise and mentor those students,” Wilson said. “The seminars are designed to provide insight and foster discussion on big concepts and issues in AI — What is generative AI? What are the ethical implications of allowing or disallowing students to use AI? What AI-related skills will students be expected to have when they enter the workforce? — as well as discipline-specific impacts that AI is having in fields as diverse as STEM, health care and human resources.”

The next seminar, scheduled for Dec. 7, will focus on AI and the future of higher education. Featuring Carlson and Kinservik, this seminar will survey the national landscape to see how public research universities are responding to AI and consider how UD can promote AI literacy and harness AI’s transformative power responsibly.

Similar to the seminar series, UD’s Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning will host a faculty learning community in the spring, which will provide a space for faculty to engage in cross-disciplinary conversations about their experiences with AI in teaching and learning. 

AI research and graduate study

The Working Group also complements the work of UD’s Data Science Institute and the Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence (AICoE), as well as the work of a broad range of faculty and graduate students already engaged in AI research. 

Led by Sunita Chandrasakeran, associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS), and Kathy McCoy, professor in CIS, AICoE supports AI research, collaboration and application development across campus. AICoE leverages high-performance computing technologies and intelligent sensing to foster scientific innovations and advances. It also hosts workshops and provides grants to promote multidisciplinary research projects fueled by AI innovations.

New this fall, the center also will support a graduate certificate in AI, offered in partnership with CIS. This certificate program gives students the foundational skills and hands-on experience for a wide range of careers in AI research, development and application development. Students learn how to analyze and use appropriate AI techniques to address complex computational problems, design, implement and evaluate AI-based solutions and make informed judgements about using AI from a legal and ethical perspective. 

“We’re looking forward to engaging with the leadership of the AICoE to identify ways that we can mutually reinforce and enhance each other’s work,” Wilson said. 

To learn more about the Working Group, register for a seminar or access AI teaching and learning resources, visit the AI for Teaching and Learning Working Group’s website.