Last week, an earnest group of Artificial Intelligence fans gathered (online and asynchronously of course) and lit a metaphoric candle to celebrate the creation of the 10,000th AI app.
At roughly the same time, TEQSA announced it was preparing to light a fire under Australian institutions by announcing that in June 2024 they will be issuing a “Request for Information”, requiring “Submission of credible action plans that demonstrate an institutional strategy to mitigate the risks posed by generative AI”.
Let’s cut to the chase. Every institution has a couple of people that know a bit about AI, but these people are typically overwhelmed by a bemused professoriate watching adoption of the new technology at an unprecedented rate.
With more than 70% of students estimated to be using the technology and up to 40% using it to cheat, institutions and disciplines within institutions have scrambled to respond, urged on now by the big stick of TEQSA requiring at the very least a basic plan to use and police the use of AI effectively.
While the surge in AI interest has led to a huge range of seminars, papers and discussions, there is a clear gap in the market – calling for expertise in strategic application of AI in curriculum and assessment so that institutions can move from law enforcement to leadership.
While all institutions will need some form of AI strategy, it is obvious that the stopgap rush to closed book exams, locked down assessment tools and patchy adoption of AI-integrated teaching is serving institutional angst more than student need or, indeed actual learning.
That’s why, after working with 24 universities and a dozen or so VET providers, I have teamed up with former ANU academic, now AI aficionado Dr Nici Sweaney to introduce a new program bringing a program of strategic AI implementation to the sector.
This program isn’t for everyone. If your internal staff want to go it alone, without external expertise in AI, change management and communications, then we wish you well. Or if you would like to do the bare minimum to satisfy TEQSA and wait to see if AI is a flash in the pan, again, you will not need us to darken your portal.
However, here’s why this is a really exciting way forward for those of you ready for change and innovation, regardless of whether you collaborate with us or not.
Firstly, the institutions that embrace AI early (and yes we’re still in the time of early adopters) and well stand the chance to reap significant enrolment benefits as well as better QILT scores. This is not just another online learning tool. This is technology which requires the introduction of new approaches to teaching and assessment, with a chance to significantly improve the education experience for students.
Secondly, as with all technological change, there needs to be a mix of skills applied in concert to get a good result. Technical skills and creativity in applying AI to curriculum assessment and development will not come from any one person or program. There are almost endless opportunities to innovate and a clear need to develop solutions relevant to each discipline, rather than hope for a one size fits all approach. Collaboration with highly creative, experienced academic staff who are capable of showing you how to apply AI in a matter of minutes is going to be important.
Further, change management experience is going to be vital to drive effective and efficient adoption of AI. Recognising that some staff are still unsure what AI is while others use it hourly, having solid communication capability will be key in successful implementation.
Whether this is something you attempt to do in house, or if you recruit expertise to help shape your approach, let’s start the conversation.
Admit it. Law enforcement is no fun without the uniform and the gun. Leadership is a much more attractive destination for 2024, and we’re here to champion ideas, innovation, and deliver a strategically valuable plan that moves beyond compliance.
Tim Winkler from Twig Marketing and Dr Nici Sweaney from The Clever Classroom have launched a new Strategic AI for HE program. Visit www.twigmarketing.com/ai for more information.