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Kingston University leads project exploring opportunities artificial intelligence can bring to higher education

Posted Thursday 11 April 2024

Kingston University leads project exploring opportunities artificial intelligence can bring to higher education

Kingston University is leading a new collaborative project exploring the opportunities generative artificial intelligence (AI) can offer students, staff and graduates of the future. Funded by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), the project will see Kingston head a consortium involving 10 other universities, including fellow University Alliance members and the University of Birmingham.

Together they will take an in-depth look at the ways AI can enhance students' learning and how staff can use the latest advances in technology in their teaching in order to ensure that students have the skills to be successful in the workplace.

The Head of Kingston University's Learning and Teaching Enhancement Centre, Dr Annie Hughes, who is jointly leading the project with Dr Tim Linsey, Kingston University's Head of Technology Enhanced Learning , said the end goal was to develop a set of resources that could be used by academics across the sector. "We want there to be somewhere all universities can go for clear advice about how to use AI effectively and to find inspiration in using AI in their teaching in order to develop the higher skills of students." she said.

The project is now in its first stage of collating existing AI resources from each institution to create a framework that articulates the opportunities of generative AI to learning and teaching and curricula development to support HE providers.

 "While being focused on both students and staff and the opportunities AI brings, we will also be mindful of the ethical considerations of using emerging technologies," Dr Hughes said.

Supported by a £10,000 grant from QAA, the project will take place over a 14-month period, using focus groups to find out more about staff and students' views of AI and the impact it is having on their studies and teaching practice. Collaboration will be a key element, with all 11 institutions working together to collate resources that support academics using AI in their teaching and students applying the technology in their learning.

Students from Kingston and the other 10 universities will play an important role in not only using the resources created but also evaluating the student-facing aspects produced as part of the project. Several case studies will also be developed, focusing on AI's effective use in the classroom.

Generative AI is already starting to be introduced across Kingston University, with software such as Microsoft Copilot being used to problem solve. In the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and the Environment, students on the University's MSc Data Science course are undertaking modules on AI and machine learning.  

The evolution of AI and other emerging technologies is also at the heart of Kingston University's latest Future Skills report. Nearly half of all business leaders surveyed for the report by YouGov believe AI is going to change the world of work fundamentally. "A major reason why the University is leading on this project is because AI is such a major part of our Future Skills report," Dr Hughes said. "We want students graduating from Kingston University to have the skills and attributes needed in the modern workplace. Digital competency, including using AI effectively, is a key part of this." 


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