Recently, we organised five discussion forums for tertiary education students, on Generative AI. Our aim was to understand how students are currently using this technology and explore its potential impact on their learning experience. To ensure a broad range of perspectives, we conducted both online and face-to-face sessions, allowing students to engage and express their thoughts anonymously.
This blog post is the fourth one in a series of five blogs. This blog aims to explore what students are asking their institutions to provide in terms of equipping them with the necessary skills, training, tools, and guidance to navigate the world of generative AI in both education and employment.
Students emphasised the need for their institutions to prioritise information and digital literacy training alongside an understanding of how generative AI will impact their future employment prospects. As students look beyond their studies, they seek a comprehensive education that prepares them for the evolving job market and equips them with the skills to effectively use generative AI tools.
Students expect their institutions to offer training and guidance on the responsible and effective use of AI for everyone, not just those pursuing specialised AI programs. Many students have suggested the development of short introductory courses that provide a foundational understanding of AI, ensuring that all students are well-versed in its applications and implications.
Further education students generally express confidence in the ability of teaching staff to support them in their exploration of generative AI. However, most students are eager to go beyond basic tool usage and delve into the future possibilities and potential of AI, pushing their institutions to offer comprehensive education that extends to future possibilities.
Students have expressed a strong desire for institution-recommended tools that they can trust. Currently, they rely on expert opinions or recommendations from friends, which can be unreliable. Students also seek a deeper understanding of the tools they are using, including how they work and the training they have undergone, to ensure they can leverage them effectively and responsibly.
Guidance and policy:
Ethical considerations and responsible usage of generative AI are significant concerns for students. They feel a lack of clarity in current policies and guidelines and want their institutions to provide clear guidance on responsible AI usage. Students also express a desire for institutions to address broader ethical issues beyond plagiarism. Students again expressed a desire for sector wide policy – feeling strongly that fairness and equity needs to be addressed.
Students expressed their enjoyment of being consulted and involved in wide-ranging discussions on generative AI. They welcome the chance to engage in discussion within their institutions, interacting with both staff and their peers, as well as participating in broader discussions on generative AI.
By meeting students’ needs for comprehensive support in generative AI, educational institutions can play a vital role in equipping students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in this rapidly changing world.
University of Manchester for their help in setting up and running the HE Student Discussion Forums, in particular:
Dr Miriam Firth
Dr Amanda Banks-Gatenby
Vaidehi Simon Martin
Find out more by visiting our National centre for AI page to view publications and resources, join us for events and discover what AI has to offer through our range of interactive online demos.
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Get in touch with the team directly at NCAI@jisc.ac.uk