Around the world, university and college instructors are concerned about the potential misuse of AI tools by students. Academic misconduct is on the rise, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between human assignment submissions and those generated by AI systems. Tools such as GOTZero and Copyleaks are designed to assess whether or not materials submitted have come from an AI source.
This issue should be seen as just one indicator of the dramatic change in the technology landscape in higher education, which has been occurring for some time. And although this is an important issue, it should not inhibit the use of AI tools or constrain our efforts to reimagine the design of assessment.
At the same time as the plagiarism issue is preoccupying many, others are focused on creative ways to use AI in their teaching and research. Here we describe 10 specific ways in which instructors can make effective use of AI tools in their own work.
Design and deliver a syllabus
1. Building a new course outline and identifying appropriate learning resources can take time. AI tools such as learnt.ai can reduce the time this work takes and point to appropriate materials that students can access. This AI application, which can be tested for free and costs an individual US$29/month, has more than 70 tools for this work, including assessment design, lesson planning and other tools.
Create learning resources
2. Automated course creation is being worked on by several developers, although the model of learning on which this is based is still very primitive. Focused on knowledge sharing, assessing knowledge keeping and identifying knowledge gaps, existing tools are hardly constructivist in design. Nonetheless, they can kick-start course creation, enabling the work to be undertaken in less time. Tools like Coursebox, Nolej and LearningStudioAI all enable rapid course creation. Some ask instructors to share relevant documents and materials from which they can generate course modules; others require just a few simple prompts.
Create meaningful student projects
3. Engaged learning requires students to actively work on a project or assignment that requires them to demonstrate both their understanding of a topic or area of study, but also how the knowledge translates into practice. ChatGPT 4.0 can suggest projects appropriate for the course outline, and Naav can help students manage these projects using Kanban and other collaboration tools.
Engage in collaborative learning
4. Students already use collaboration spaces like Google Docs, Meet, Chat, Sheets and Jamboard. New tools have emerged recently, like WorkHub, which has some integrated AI capabilities such as task management, effective scheduling activities and insightful task tracking.
5. Two powerful sets of tools can accelerate research, both by faculty and students. One enables the rapid summarization of documents. Load PDF documents into Genei or Article Summary and a summary of the document will appear in seconds. The summary links back to the document for easy review of specific points. The other powerful tool is Research Rabbit, which helps you locate additional research papers and materials that are aligned with key documents that inform your work. This can save hours of search time. A relatively new AI tool for this same task is Elicit. Provide a key prompt reflecting your research interests, and the system will search more than 175 million articles and produce a catalogue of appropriate material in seconds, each item linked to the source. Other tools can be used to summarize YouTube videos, such as Eightify.
Design and deliver assessment
6. Designing formative adaptive assessments is a challenge. The promise of AI is that it can help personalize learning, and it does so through adaptive assessment. Most LMS systems in use today have adaptive assessment engines embedded in them. AI developers have been quick to see the potential for customized and personalized assessment, recognizing that this work is challenging. PrepAI, extensively used in corporate training and recruitment, is a powerful tool that can be used to create customized assessments for any course. The free version enables a new assessment design to be created each day. For US$11.99/month, an unlimited number of assessments can be created.
7. Summative assessments and grading are part of the workload challenge we each face as instructors. The open-source system called TAO has been developed by colleagues to automate assessment creation, distribution and grading. Assessing a large class who have been asked to submit essays is also challenging, but Essay Grader can help accelerate this work. It uses rubrics supplied by the instructor (who can also choose to use rubrics available within the application) as a basis for reading, commenting on and grading the assignments.
Create presentations for use in class
8. A great deal of time and energy is spent creating effective slide-decks for use in courses. Now this can be done quickly and automatically using tools like Beautiful.ai, MagicSlides or GPT_PPT. Using a key topic, slides are created of varying quality but ensure that a structure and core content is generated. They can save some time.
9. Short video presentations of 5 - 10 minutes are becoming more popular in hybrid and online learning courses, replacing lectures with short presentations linked to key activities. AI systems like VidboardAI permit the creation of videos using text to speech, which can ease the time it takes to produce a video. You create a text and the system converts it into a video using realistic people-like avatars. Editing your own videos is now easier, as well, thanks to tools like Vidio.
Keep up with AI tools
10. About 20-30 new AI tools are released each day. There’s an AI For That website is a searchable database that keeps track of these tools and, at the time of writing, catalogues and links to more than 6,100 apps and resources. Bens Bites, published each weekday, also tracks developments and informs users of possibilities.