1. The growth of artificial intelligence in higher education
With AI research and development increasing at a rapid pace during the pandemic, fears of another “AI winter” seem unfounded at this point. Stanford University’s “Artificial Intelligence Index Report 2021” shows that natural language processing research has jumped so fast that “technical advances are beginning to outpace the benchmarks for testing it.”
Artificial intelligence is appearing seemingly everywhere in higher education – such as management systems, monitoring, grading, student information systems, library services, and disability support.
AI is important to the continuity of higher education businesses because the next generation of students (Millennials) will get used to experiencing AI technologies in almost every aspect of their lives. This may require universities and colleges to rethink curricula in a way that supports this group, also known as the “artificial intelligence generation”.
Dive deeper: Take a look at HD chatbots powered by artificial intelligence.
The University of British Columbia is already using an AI-powered avatar that provides natural responses to students. The program is part of a language learning app called Language Chatsim, where students practice speaking an avatar in a virtual environment.
Meanwhile, Penn State University uses natural learning processes to analyze classroom texts. In this way, teachers can use data points to find patterns that can benefit their teaching.
2. Enable data analytics capabilities to improve education
Universities and colleges collect huge amounts of data. However, not many teachers know how to interpret this data to improve learning outcomes.
To tackle the problem at its roots, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a Master of Science in Educational Psychology: A Learning Analytics program for students who will influence learning and policy. The program teaches graduate students how to navigate the educational data mining landscape.
Meanwhile, Colorado State University established the Center for Analytics for Learning and Teaching (C-ALT), a research center to test and develop the use of analytics to improve teaching and learning practices.
In a recent project, C-ALT used data visualization to help students improve their study habits and patterns.
More about EDTECH: Universities are using analytics and artificial intelligence to reduce low enrollment rates.
3. A permanent place for mixed and mixed course forms
Northeastern University has spent millions setting up 200 hybrid learning classrooms — money that institutional leaders have committed because they believe the hybrid model will remain popular long after the pandemic is over.
Get the white paper: Learn how to build blended learning environments for higher education.
The University of British Columbia has found a creative way to adopt the hybrid model of theatre. In April, the Department of Theater and Film staged a play where remote actors immersed themselves in a virtual environment – while students in Tokyo and San Francisco turned on lights and sound.
Related: With the rise of hybrid learning, higher education sees a boom in Zoom Room.
4. Expansion of open educational resources
Open educational resources are educational and research materials that are freely available to students.
The University of British Columbia Emerging Media Lab, for example, has developed an open source 3D data visualization of the metabolic network. Open Educational Resources (OER) can be used not only in high school courses, but also in medical school courses.
In addition to making education affordable, educational resource sources can make it easier for students to learn complex information.
“The goal of this project is to provide a new way to visualize the information contained in the metabolic network to facilitate its understanding and consumption,” the university website explains. “By integrating interaction into the network and making visualization in 3 dimensions, we are creating a tool that makes it easier to display information that in the past needed several different models to display.”