Artificial Intelligence

Report Identifies 4 Areas Where AI Benefits Higher Ed

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According to a new report, the four areas where artificial intelligence could prove most beneficial in higher education are:

  • Student acquisition, where AI could personalize the enrollment experience for students and help schools target those applicants most likely to succeed in their programs;
  • Learning and instruction, where AI could help instructors do grading and provide instructional help to students;
  • Student affairs, where AI could assist in degree planning and intervene with struggling students to provide advising or other resources; and
  • Institutional efficiency, where AI could compile data from multiple systems to guide administration decision-making.

The report was developed by online program management company Learning House, a division of digital education company Wiley.

According to "Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education," while the "possibilities of AI are quite exciting," challenges also exist. The report focused on three in particular.

First, privacy regulations such as FERPA will need updating to allow for freer sharing of data. Here, the report suggested that industry could take the lead without regulatory intervention in "implementing guidelines about ethical use and the sharing of student data."

Second, as AI takes over activities such as grading and answering students' questions, the responsibilities for faculty will evolve into roles as "researchers, advisers and coaches." That change will require schools to come up with new ways to calculate faculty load, define responsibilities and communicate that to regulatory bodies and students.

Third, accreditation will need to be updated to address innovations, such as how faculty workload is measured and reported. The same is true for financial aid, which needs to take into account that less time could be spent in class and more time in apprenticeships and bootcamps.

The report offered four "decision points" that institutions will need to consider as they time their entry "to market":

  • When to implement AI, as a short-term or long-term investment;
  • Where in the institution AI would be most helpful;
  • How to protect students' privacy while using data to help them through AI mechanisms; and
  • What the university's definition of success would be regarding its AI implementation.

"While education has been mostly a slow adapter to technology such as AI, the student and learning and efficiency benefits are enormous," said Todd Zipper, president and CEO of Learning House, in a statement. "The biggest questions are which schools move first to embrace the power of AI, how those decisions will aid their students and enhance their stability and success and whether we can create or adjust policies that allow us to reap the full rewards of AI technology in education."

The report is available with registration through the Learning House website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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