Monthly Newsletter

national centre for AI in tertiary education – March newsletter

Update on the centre’s work  


New Pilot Launched. We have teamed up with Graide to deliver our second pilot. Through this pilot, we aim to understand the benefits of using AI for assessment and feedback. In particular, we’ll explore whether AI can be used to reduce teacher workload, whilst improving the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of feedback for students. You can read more about the pilot in our recent blog. 


DigiFest and Bett. This month, the team ran roundtables at both Bett and DigiFest. Our sessions grappled with the question: “what problems is the sector facing around workload, and could AI provide the solutions?”

Through these roundtables, we learned a lot about the sector’s problems and priorities around workload. We also refined our understanding of the role AI has to play in addressing these. We look forward to sharing firmer conclusions with members in due course. 


Chatbot Pilot. The chatbots will soon be going live! We will keep you updated on progress here. And, from next month, we’ll start sharing insights into what we’ve learned (and what we’re still learning) about chatbots. 


Deep Dives. We are continuing to work with a number of colleges and universities to understand their problems and ascertain where AI could add the most value. Insights from the deep dives will inform and prioritise our work moving forward. 

Get Involved 


Community Event. If you’re keen to find out more about our work, please come along to our next community session, which is on 5th April at 3.30pm. At this session, you’ll also hear from other members about the progress they are making with AI. National Centre for AI: community catch up – Jisc  


Third AI pilot. Our third AI pilot will focus on the use of AI and VR for supporting core skills and employability. Keep a look out for an email inviting you to put your institution forward!

If you’re not already signed up to our mailing list, you can do so via our website: National centre for AI in tertiary education | Jisc 


Useful Reading 


A recently published paper explores how automated feedback tools could improve teachers’ practices. In particular, the paper looks at how natural language processing-based tools can improve teachers’ skills of uptake – the ablity to respond productively to student contributions.

Based on a randomized control trial, the study found that teachers who utilise the automated feedback tool tended to increase their levels of uptake by 24%.  


Round up of our previous articles 

In case you missed any of them, here is a round up of the articles published by the national centre for AI in tertiary education.

  • In our first article, we looked at the fundamentals of how AI adds value in education. Our argument is that AI’s potential stems from two underlying capabilities. First, its ability to increase the capacity of educational institutions systems. And second, its ability to provide rich, meaningful insights into learners’ needs. 
  • In the first of our AI in education: here and now articles, we looked at how Open University students benefit from Taylor, a digital assistant that supports accessibility 
  • In the second piece from the here and now series, we took a look at how the Universities and Admissions Centre of Australia uses machine learning to help recommend appropriate courses to prospective HE students. 
  • Petroc College are benefiting from both adaptive learning platforms and predictive analytics. In this article from the here and now series, we looked at how and why they implemented these tools, and what impact they have had. 
  • Our most recent article looks at how University of West England Bristol is innovating the assessment process.  

By Tom Moule

Product Lead at The National Centre for AI in Tertiary Education

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