Artificial intelligence is rapidly revolutionising the way we live and work. In higher education, AI is already having an impact on how we teach students, how we assess them and even how we support them.
But are we ready for the implications of artificial intelligence?
AI is already being put to innovative use in higher education. AI is helping with recruitment and marketing, the admissions and enrolment process, guiding students through their courses and creating personalised learning plans.
But as we become more and more reliant on AI, we need to ask ourselves three important questions.
1) Are we missing out on human inputs?
One of the main arguments for AI is that decisions made by advanced technologies are more intelligent, are based on a wider array of data and are more consistent. But in education, we also need to consider how much we value human inputs.
Can AI understand a student as well as a professor or a teacher? Can AI factor in the multiple variables that are best understood by an expert tutor?
2) Are we oversimplifying data outputs?
AI can produce an array of conclusions based on input data, but are those conclusions nuanced enough? AI, for example, may be able to spot when a student is in need of additional support in a particular subject area. But can it explain why?
Can it spot deeper issues like medical conditions, mental health issues, or problems with the teaching material that is inhibiting a student’s ability to learn?
3) Are we losing ownership of our data?
As we add more and more data to AI technologies, who does that data then belong to? Is it still data owned by higher education institutions, or by third party data companies?
If the data no longer belongs to HE organisations, are we endangering the privacy of our students, or even the integrity of our organisation?
There are many other questions higher education organisations need to think about when using artificial intelligence. But in each case, it’s essential that we understand what gaps need to be addressed when using AI.
AI is undoubtedly an important development, and one which we can all harness to make education better for students. But as AI becomes an increasingly everyday part of our industry, we need to remain aware of the potential gaps it can create.
Awareness, and addressing those gaps when they emerge, is the key to ensuring AI is integrated effectively and successfully into the higher education system.
This article was written by Mr Sarwar Khawaja, Chairman of Business Development at Oxford Business College (OBC). OBC is an award winning business college helping to develop the business leaders of the future.