AI and the University

The Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML), Lot Fourteen, North Terrace. Photo by Josh Geelen

The Australian Institute of Machine Learning (AIML), Lot Fourteen, North Terrace. Photo by Josh Geelen

The University of Adelaide’s priorities are to encourage and support excellent research and teaching and to create transformative learning experiences.

So, our response to recent innovations in generative artificial intelligence (AI) has been to ensure that our staff and students learn to use AI productively, ethically, and responsibly.

For our staff and our graduates, an ability to use AI well, and for good, will be an important skill set for professional life.

We believe generative AI will transform teaching and learning.

While discipline knowledge, expertise and experience will always be necessary and fundamental, teachers can now unlock the power of AI to realise some of their most ambitious and exciting learning ideas.

At the beginning of the year, we asked our academic staff to check that their planned assessments were not vulnerable to academic integrity breaches through use of generative AI. We provided assistance so that colleagues could effectively redesign and, in some instances, replace their assessment tasks.

Partly in response to that urgent task, the University of Adelaide’s Artificial Intelligence Community of Practice was formed. The Community of Practice meets regularly and

brings together more than 100 members to share best practice, ideas, and plans.

Already, our students and educators are experimenting with AI in their courses. For example, in semester 1, 2023:

Dr Eleanor Parker and Dr Dandara Haag asked fifth year dental students to draw on critical thinking, analytical skills, and scientific evidence to critique ChatGPT’s response to a complex scenario relating to population health;

Dr Cheryl Pope’s computer science students compared their data structure designs to those generated by ChatGPT and evaluated the accuracy, precision, and limitations of the generative AI’s answers.

Of course, we expect our students to use AI ethically, and to be able to evaluate AI to understand its appropriateness, limitations and where it can support or enhance learning.

We also expect students to use generative AI consistently with our robust University-wide academic integrity policy. Increased effort has been focused in recent years on ensuring students complete required academic integrity modules (these are mandatory for all commencing and transferring students) and understand what practices are acceptable and what are not.

The University has also put together a range of resources including videos, dos and don’ts, and referencing guides to help students and staff understand what we expect of them with respect to their use of generative AI.

The University’s response to generative AI and its possibilities will continue to be ethical and future focused.

The generative AI landscape is evolving rapidly, but of course this isn’t the first time that schools and universities have experienced a technological revolution; the introduction of scientific calculators and internet search engines, for example, presented challenges for education; but today the proper use of these technologies is something educators teach, and employers expect. In the case of generative AI, the rapid rate of development means that, as teachers and researchers, we are learning about its potential and limitations at the same time as our students.

For the time being, our researchers in AIML and many of our academic and professional staff in the University are at the forefront
of these changes and are in demand in the sector as educators and commentators. These are exciting times!

Story by Professor Jennie Shaw, the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic) in the Division of Academic and Student Engagement.

Tagged in lumen, AIML, AI, artificial intelligence, lumen spring summer 2023, Technology, Research