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The national centre for AI in tertiary education – November Newsletter

Update on the centre’s work 

Expanding the team. The national centre for AI has recruited an AI Technologist, who will join our Director of Technology and Analytics’ team in the new year. 

Kicking off the chatbot pilot. We have selected four pilot institutions and will be kicking off the chatbot pilot next month. As a reminder, the purpose of the pilot is to evaluate the efficacy of chatbots in further education settings. The chatbot we will be piloting is based on Ada, the renowned chatbot developed by Bolton College, who have been working closely with the Centre as part of the pilot. 

Presenting at the EdTech Summit. The Centre’s Product Lead, Tom Moule, spoke at The EdTech Summit at the National Exhibition Centre earlier this month. Tom’s presentation explored the fundamentals of how AI can add value to teaching and learning, focusing on AI’s ability to automate tasks and thereby increase educators’ capacities; and on AI’s ability to draw information from data, thereby equipping educators with enhanced insights into their learners’ needs. 

Community events. For the Centre’s fourth community meet-up event, we held a roundtable-style discussion exploring what it means to use AI responsibly and with purpose. One of the areas we focused on was the use of AI to provide students with feedback. Cons were given, for instance that in this capacity AI could undermine more authentic relationships between educators and students. But so too were pros. One participant noted that AI could provide less judgmental spaces in which learners could get feedback and make improvements. And elsewhere it was noted that using AI for feedback should be seen as a supplement – a way to enable students to get more feedback on their work in total.  

The Centre is of the view that if AI is to achieve its full potential in the education sector, it must be used  responsibly and with purpose. This innovation should be used to meet specific challenges or seize well-defined opportunities; and it should not be used in a way that causes harm to users or wider society. As the Centre progresses towards its mission of accelerating the adoption of AI, we will continue to work with the sector to forge a shared vision of what it means to use AI responsibly and with purpose. Please do get in touch (ncai@jisc.ac.uk or tom.moule@jisc.ac.uk) with any thoughts you have on the matter. 

New report on the ethics of AI in education. Jisc is pleased to announce the publication of A Pathway Towards Responsible, Ethical AI – a guidance document to help institutions choose where and how to use Artificial Intelligence. The report was written by Andrew Cormack – Jisc’s Chief Regulatory Adviser – with help from colleagues at Jisc and the British and Irish Law, Education and Technology Association. You can find the report here. A pathway towards responsible, ethical AI | Jisc   

Here and Now blog. The Centre has published the second blog in its Here and Now series. The purpose of the series is to highlight examples of how AI is currently being used in education. The new blog focuses on how the Universities and Admissions Centre, Australia, uses AI to support the admissions process.

Coming soon

On Tuesday 7th December (3.30 – 5.00pm), the Centre will be holding a Webinar on the ethics of AI in education. If you’d like to join us, please do sign up: An introduction to the ethics of AI in education | Jisc.

The Centre will also be hosting a session at Ahead by Bett in January. The session will be a roundtable discussion, focusing on how AI can be used to cut and improve workloads in higher education. Jisc at Ahead by Bett | Jisc

AI in the news 

 All 193 member states of UNESCO have agreed to adopt a global framework on the ethics of AI in education. The framework aims to underpin legal infrastructures and enable them to maximise the benefits of artificial intelligence (including the promotion of human rights and contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals), whilst minimising its risks (including biased outcomes and surveillance).  

This article, from Rachel Sylvester, Chair of The Times Education Commission, explores the impacts ($) that AI could have on primary and secondary education. It also considers the ethical implications of these technologies, and how they can be addressed preemptively.  

By Tom Moule

Product Lead at The National Centre for AI in Tertiary Education

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