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Artificial Intelligence in academia

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Published: 13 March 2023

A student typing on a laptop in the classroom with another student in the background

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a significant impact on the academic sector. Overall, AI has the potential to revolutionise the academic sector.

On Friday 3 March 2023, the Academic Development Centre of the University of Sunderland in London, together with the Digital Learning Team, organised the pop-up event "ChatGPT and AI in Academia: ‘First responders' – we want to hear from you."

Gathering attendees from across different institutions, the pop-up event aimed to foster an academic teaching and learning culture on campus and raise awareness around the topic of Artificial Intelligence.  The event was hosted by Dr Christopher MacAllister, Dr Giuseppe Cantafio, Dr Theo Ammari, and Evi Liatiri from the Digital Learning Team.

In November 2022, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) device, ChatGPT, was released, which caused broad discussion and concern over the academic sector due to its capacity to form conceivable answers to assignments, construct papers, and type in code in a matter of seconds. Numerous universities have detailed that students have attempted to pass off AI-generated work as their own, and a few universities are forbidding the use of it. It is important to say that ChatGPT is not the only Artificial Intelligence chatbot – it is only one of many applications available.

It is fundamental that all people involved in the education sector are aware of this innovation and understand what Artificial Intelligence truly is to improve the learning experience for students.

During this event, several topics were discussed, such as, what is AI and its impact on teaching and learning? An interesting comparison has been made between the impact of AI on academia and the impact of writing in ancient Greece. It covered the topic of AI and assessment, and the institutional response from different universities.

Dr Cantafio shared his thoughts on AI and the event, stating "to improve our job as educators and to successfully handle this Artificial Intelligence wave, it is essential that every member of the teaching team is aware of this breakthrough and has a thorough understanding of what Artificial Intelligence is."

Dr Ammari has also said "AI and Chatbots opened a window towards the future and provided the Higher Education sector with the opportunity for new evaluation and assessment paradigms. Chatbots and conversation machines are the fifth Industrial Revolution."

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