That’s why when I say it was a wonderful event that was a pleasure to attend, I may be a little biased (and super proud of my team members who did all of the planning), but not by much. I was simply impressed by the work that went into the event, the amazing presenters and facilitators, and the interaction of the attendees.

This event was particularly significant for higher education practitioners at this moment in time. We’ve started to learn about the highs and lows of AI in higher education, ranging from creative and promising applications to enhance student learning and success, to questions about the use of AI in ways that may not meet academic integrity standards and policies. Students see how AI benefits those in the workplace and want to understand and learn how to use it while they are in school. We see the potential issues when it comes to implicit bias in technologies such as AI and the inherent inequities that exist due to disparities in access to current technological tools, capabilities, and resources. Events such as this year’s Summit provide us with the opportunity to collectively learn from experts and leaders in our field, post questions to both these individuals and fellow attendees, and engage in conversations that benefit everyone.

Key Themes and Topics

Session 1: Embracing AI in Higher Education: A Paradigm Shift in Teaching, Learning, and Administration

We started the day with a welcome and introduction from Van Davis, Chief Strategy Officer for WCET.

thumbnail of the AI Policy Framework. Click link for full version.

My Takeaways from Session 1:

Session 2: Effective Governance for AI in Higher Education

The sessions continued with a conversation about effective governance for AI in Higher Education with Gloria Niles, Karen Watté, and Michael K. Moore. This was an insightful discussion concerning the guidelines formulated by their institutions for the utilization of AI by students and staff. The speakers also elaborated on the various groups of stakeholders involved in the development of their guidelines and policies. Gloria and Karen provided lessons learned from their experiences with AI governance.

My Takeaways from Session 2:

Conversations about the governance of AI should come early and make sure those in the conversations represent the entire institution. A small task force that can be flexible and responsive is helpful.

Session 3: Operational Uses and Considerations for AI in Higher Education

In our next session, Asim Ali, Sheenah Hartigan, and Corey Edwards highlighted the practical applications of AI and provided specific examples of AI use for their colleges and universities. I appreciated learning about the real ways AI is being used to assist with recruitment, student support, admissions, and more.

My Takeaways from Session 3:

AI tools can offer valuable support to staff and faculty, which creates additional time to work on more substantial matters or work one-on-one with more students.

Don’t fear AI technology – it’s coming whether we’re ready for it or not. Join the conversations at your institution or organization. It’s the people who drive the implementation of the technology that will make or break its success. AI is highly capable, but it can’t completely implement itself. 

Session 4: Pedagogical Innovations and Applications of AI in Higher Education

The penultimate session of the Summit focused more on the pedagogical side of using AI and showcased outstanding and innovative approaches that leverage AI to improve teaching and learning.

My Takeaways from Session 4:

It’s time to initiate our own learning and development about AI. And we should actively help our students learn more about these technologies. AI is being used in the workplace already, and we need to help prepare students to utilize these tools ethically and successfully. Keep an open growth mind when it comes to learning about this (and other) technology, starting from a closed and uninformed mindset will only impede your personal growth and that of your students.

Session 5: Student Perspectives on AI in Higher Education

a student waves to a computer screen showing a video conference session with several young adults who may be fellow students and one individual who may be the instructor.

While all the sessions were top-notch, the final session of the day was my favorite. I adore my job and team but often miss working with students, so it makes sense that getting to hear directly from students about their views and concerns about AI was a great way to end the day.

The students who presented, Joe Rendon and Chrischen Thompson, who are currently serving as SAN and Every Learner Everywhere interns, spoke eloquently and knowledgeably about the many uses of AI for students and when each of them uses AI. The use cases included brainstorming a project or piece of writing or helping them process their thoughts about an assignment. They ask questions about formatting and sometimes get ideas for an outline or structure for a paper.

The students cautioned us that it is important to teach students how to write good prompts to use with generative AI and also to make sure that you and your students use the most up-to-date tools. If the AI platform you use is not up-to-date, you run the risk of receiving outdated outputs.

Students want their colleges and universities to specifically detail when it is okay to use AI and when it is not, especially between different courses. The students said that sometimes different classes have different expectations and standards for using AI, and while that’s fine, that information must be clearly communicated and consistently available for reference. All of us need to keep privacy and data protection in mind when working with these tools. I was particularly interested to hear one of the students say that at times they do worry about using AI too much and that they won’t learn as much as they may have in working completely on their own.

My Takeaways from Session 5:

We must clearly outline our expectations for students regarding the use of AI when completing assignments or assessments. The information should be included in the class syllabus, whether it is a class-specific policy, departmental guideline, program-level requirement, or institutional standard. Add a conversation about AI to the time you discuss the syllabus. These approaches will help students see the positives and negatives about using AI for their work, so they can understand when it is helpful and ethical to use these tools.

Thank You

At the end of session 5, Van Davis came back on the screen to thank the students and to wrap up the day. Thank you, Van, for concluding the event and recapping the crucial topics discussed throughout all of the sessions.

WCET would like to thank and celebrate the speakers and facilitators who participated in this year’s summit. We genuinely appreciated hearing about your experiences, thoughts, and feelings on AI in higher ed. We would also like to thank and applaud our attendees for their engagement, questions, and the sense of community they helped us foster during this event.

blocks with the words thank you in multi colors.

Reiterating My Takeaways

Here are the takeaways I included for each session:

  1. It’s time to consider the strategic use of AI, and that use should align with the values of our institution or organization. For example, despite the numerous and exciting possibilities AI presents for enhancing accessibility, it’s important to acknowledge that not all of your students and staff may have screen readers compatible with the latest tools. Accessibility policies should be reviewed with this in mind.
  2. Conversations about the governance of AI should come early and make sure those in the conversations represent the entire institution. A small task force that can be flexible and responsive is helpful.
  3. AI tools can offer valuable support to staff and faculty, which creates additional time to work on more substantial matters or work one-on-one with more students. Don’t fear AI technology – it’s coming whether we’re ready for it or not. Join the conversations at your institution or organization. It’s the people who drive the implementation of the technology that will make or break its success. AI is highly capable, but it can’t completely implement itself. 
  4. It’s time to initiate our learning and development of AI. And we should actively help our students learn more about these technologies. AI is being used in the workplace already, and we need to help prepare students to utilize these tools ethically and successfully. Keep an open growth mind when it comes to learning about this (and other) technology, starting from a closed and uninformed mindset will only impede your personal growth and that of your students.
  5. We must clearly outline our expectations for students regarding the use of AI when completing assignments or assessments. The information should be included in the class syllabus, whether it is a class-specific policy, departmental guideline, program-level requirement, or institutional standard. Add a conversation about AI to the time you discuss the syllabus. These approaches will help students see the positives and negatives about using AI for their work, so they can understand when it is helpful and ethical to use these tools.

Did you attend this year’s Summit? If so, thank you for learning with us. If you weren’t able to attend, don’t worry, we have lots of great events coming up soon!

WCET Webcast: Accessibility in EdTech: How Do Your Products Rate? – 3/13/2024

WCET Webcast: Seismic Shifts in Distance Ed Regulations: Gauging Department of Education Rulemaking – 3/20/2024

WCET Webcast: AI Ethics, Governance, Policy, and Practice in Higher Education: A Strategic Webcast for Leaders and Practitioners – 4/4/2024

Meeting: Distance Ed at a Crossroads: The Changing Landscape of New Regulations – July 30, 2024 – July 31, 2024

Meeting: WCET 36th Annual Meeting – 10/8/2024 – 10/10/2024 **Session Submissions are Now Open! The deadline for submissions is 4/2/2024.

Keep up with all of our events at wcet.wiche.edu/wcet-events!


Lindsey Downs

Assistant Director, Communications and Community, WCET


303-541-0234

ldowns@wiche.edu

@lindsey0427

LinkedIn Profile

Subscribe

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,397 other subscribers

Archive By Month

Blog Tags

Distance Education (316)Student Success (295)Online Learning (228)Managing Digital Learning (218)State Authorization (214)WCET (211)U.S. Department of Education (204)Regulation (197)Technology (168)Digital Learning (149)Innovation (125)Teaching (121)Collaboration/Community (114)WCET Annual Meeting (105)Course Design (103)Access (98)Professional Development (98)Faculty (88)Cost of Instruction (88)SAN (88)Financial Aid (84)Legislation (83)Completion (74)Assessment (69)Instructional Design (68)Open Educational Resources (66)Accreditation (65)COVID-19 (64)SARA (64)Accessibility (62)Credentials (62)Professional Licensure (62)Competency-based Education (61)Quality (61)Data and Analytics (60)Research (58)Diversity/Equity/Inclusion (57)Reciprocity (56)WOW Award (51)Outcomes (47)Workforce/Employment (46)Regular and Substantive Interaction (43)Policy (42)Higher Education Act (41)Negotiated Rulemaking (40)Virtual/Augmented Reality (37)Title IV (36)Practice (35)Academic Integrity (34)Disaster Planning/Recovery (34)Leadership (34)WCET Awards (30)Artificial Intelligence (29)Every Learner Everywhere (29)State Authorization Network (29)IPEDS (28)Adaptive/Personalized Learning (28)Reauthorization (28)Military and Veterans (27)Survey (27)Credits (26)Disabilities (25)MOOC (23)WCET Summit (23)Evaluation (22)Complaint Process (21)Retention (21)Enrollment (21)Correspondence Course (18)Physical Presence (17)WICHE (17)Cybersecurity (16)Products and Services (16)Forprofit Universities (15)Member-Only (15)WCET Webcast (15)Blended/Hybrid Learning (14)System/Consortia (14)Digital Divide (14)NCOER (14)Textbooks (14)Mobile Learning (13)Consortia (13)Personalized Learning (12)Futures (11)Marketing (11)Privacy (11)STEM (11)Prior Learning Assessment (10)Courseware (10)Teacher Prep (10)Social Media (9)LMS (9)Rankings (9)Standards (8)Student Authentication (8)Partnership (8)Tuition and Fees (7)Readiness and Developmental Courses (7)What's Next (7)International Students (6)K-12 (6)Lab Courses (6)Nursing (6)Remote Learning (6)Testing (6)Graduation (6)Proctoring (5)Closer Conversation (5)ROI (5)DETA (5)Game-based/Gamification (5)Dual Enrollment (4)Outsourcing (4)Coding (4)Security (4)Higher Education Trends (4)Mental Health (4)Fall and Beyond Series (3)In a Time of Crisis (3)Net Neutrality (3)Universal Design for Learning (3)Cheating Syndicates Series (3)ChatGPT (3)Enrollment Shift (3)Nontraditional Learners (2)Student Identity Verification (2)Cross Skilling/Reskilling (2)Virtual Summit (2)Higher Education (2)Title IX (1)Business of Higher Education (1)OPMs (1)Department of Education (1)Third-Party Servicers (1)microcredentials (1)Minority Serving Institution (1)Community College (1)