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These three major technological changes could radically change the university experience




At a large private university in Northern California, a business professor uses an avatar to give a lecture on a virtual stage.

Meanwhile, at a university in the South, a graduate student in an artificial intelligence course discovered that one of nine teaching assistants was a virtual avatar, Jill Watson (also known as Watson), an IBM question-and-answer computer system. Did.

Of the 10,000 messages posted on the online bulletin board during the first semester, Jill participated in student conversations and answered all inquiries with 97% accuracy.

At a private university on the east coast, students learn Mandarin by interacting with AI chat agents at a virtual restaurant in China.

These examples give a glimpse into the future of university education and learning. This is a future in which the role of full-time tenure or tenure-track teachers teaching face-to-face will be significantly reduced.

In my 2021 book, Human Specialization in Design and Technology: The Current Wave for Learning, Culture, Industry and Beyond, I anticipate this future scenario and other trends. As a researcher specializing in educational technology, I see three trends that further reduce the role of traditional university professors.

3. The rise of artificial intelligence

According to the 2021 Education Quick Poll report on AI, many higher education institutions are focusing on the current limited use of AI in tasks such as plagiarism detection and supervision, and less focus on the future of AI. I haven’t guessed.

AI used in higher education is primarily related to digital assistants and chat agents. These technologies focus on student education and learning.

In my opinion, universities need to expand the use of AI and conduct experiments to improve the usefulness of AI for individual learners. For example, how can universities use AI to improve the learning of calculus students and help them become more powerful writers?

However, most universities take time to innovate.

According to a 2021 poll, the challenges of acquiring AI include lack of technical expertise, financial concerns, inadequate leadership, and biased algorithms.

Rensselaer Polytechnic University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are leading the way in new uses of AI. At the Immersion Lab, which is staged as the Chinese food market, Renseria effectively brings Mandarin-learning students to this market and interacts with AI Avatar.

MIT has spent millions of dollars on AI faculty research. One of the MIT projects called RAISE for Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education supports how people from different backgrounds learn AI and generally do human learning.

The baby boomer professor is retired and hopes that some of his work will not be fulfilled. Often, these coveted positions are replaced by part-time and temporary faculty members. I believe that increased use of AI will contribute to this trend, and universities rely more on technology than on direct education.

2. Tenure erosion

Tenure is a status that gives a professor protection against being completely dismissed without good reason or special circumstances. However, the pandemic has become a means of dismissing, suspending, or terminating tenure teachers. For example, in January 2021, the Kansas State Council resolved to allow an urgent termination and suspension, including tenure faculty, to ease the financial pressures placed on universities by the pandemic.

News reports continue to show that the number of tenure teachers is steadily declining. The American Association of University Professors reported that the proportion of part-time and full-time non-tenure-track faculty increased from 55% in 1975 to 70% in 2015. Conversely, the proportion of full-time tenure-track and tenure-track faculty declined from 45% to 30% during that period.

Universities have used pandemics as a reason to negate and weaken the power of shared leadership with faculty. This included teacher handbooks, regulations, and employment contract revocation.

Ultimately, the pandemic was an opportunity for universities to reduce unproductive faculty and retain active practitioners.

1. Flipped classroom

Flipped classrooms provide students with the opportunity to see, hear and learn at their own pace through video instruction outside the classroom. It has been around since at least 2007.

This educational approach is similar to how people watch videos on YouTube and TikTok and learn from each other. However, at the university, flipped classrooms include pre-recorded faculty lectures on the content of the course, regardless of the cause and impact of the Civil War or the origin of white rice.

In class, students engage in activities to support discussions and expand their knowledge based on the professor’s pre-recorded lectures. The classroom will be a place for social interaction and understanding of the course content. Flipped classrooms maximize teaching time for teachers and students because lectures are given before course sessions in the class.

As an example of running a flipped classroom, the professor records a video of the subject area. This allows one student or thousands of students to watch the same video. A human teaching assistant, avatar, or chat agent performs all activities, tests, and group work in the class. No additional professors are needed to teach multiple sections of the same course. In this example, the professor plays a limited role and is ultimately less needed.

These trends show the profession I see as being at the forefront of fundamental change.

This article was originally published in The Conversation by Patricia A. Young of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Read the original article here.




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