Graphical representation of a web of connections
Collaborative Innovation Project

Using Gen AI in teaching, learning and assessment: inclusive, ethical and sustainable innovation

Collaborative Innovation Project 2023-24

Project Lead: Dr Jenny Lawrence, SFSEDA, NTF, PFHEA, Director, Oxford Centre for Academic Enhancement and Development, Oxford Brookes University. Prof Letizia Gramaglia, PFHEA, NTF, Head of Academic Development (ADC) & Director of the Warwick International Higher Education Academy (WIHEA), University of Warwick. Dr Isabel Fisher, aspiring NTF, Associate Professor – Reader, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick. Prof Lesley Morrell, NTF, PFHEA, Associate Dean (Education) Faculty of Science and Engineering & Director of Curriculum Transformation, University of Hull. Dr Lee Fallin, aspiring NTF, Lecturer in Education Studies, School of Education, University of Hull. Mike Ewen, aspiring NTF, Head of the Teaching Excellence Academy, University of Hull. Dr Mary Davis, PFHEA, aspiring NTF, Principal Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University. Dr Adrian J. Wallbank, aspiring NTF, Lecturer in Educational Development, Oxford Brookes University.

Generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) is a rapidly developing tool with revolutionary potential. The ability to use artificial intelligence critically, ethically and in context were graduate skills the World Economic Foundation (WEF) identified in 2018, and the UK industrial strategy identified as transformational in 2017.  Recent digital developments have led the QAA to identify the use of, specifically, GenAI as a crucial graduate skill in 2023.

Gen AI is technology that trawls data to create text, audio and images based on previous patterns of use.  It is available through specific applications (such as ChatGPT) and is increasingly embedded within mainstream software (such as Microsoft and Google). Although speedy and convenient these applications are problematic: they further entrench colonial thinking by trawling dominating discourses to generate artefacts; are exclusive as more sophisticated functions often sit behind paywalls; are insecure as data chugged through the application are used to inform future outputs; are unreliable and produce ‘hallucinations’ based on patterns of language use not actual intelligence; and are a danger to the planet because the underpinning kits are so resource intensive… and this just for starters…

Conversations about the implications of Gen AI in HE are well underway, and experts are exploring a wide range of potential applications (Crawford et al., 2023). As Gen AI becomes increasingly powerful and pervasive we must ‘embrace and adopt’ (Jisc, 2023) these fast evolving technologies and equip staff and students with the critical, digital literacies (Ewen, 2022) necessary to use them responsibly, ethically (Fischer, 2023; UNESCO, 2023) and with integrity (Davis, 2022; Foltynek, Bjelobaba, Glendinning, Khan, Santos, Pavletic, Kravjar, 2023) whilst being mindful of digital poverty (Illingworth, 2023) and maintaining the students own academic voice (Wallbank, 2023). This means fostering new and innovative approaches to pedagogic practice using Gen AI. As the applications change and evolve so speedily, agility and innovation is the key to progress.

A multi-disciplinary team of NTFs and aspiring NTFs from Oxford Brookes University, University of Hull and the University of Warwick aim to inspire inclusive, ethical and sustainable innovation in Gen AI use in teaching, learning and assessment by compiling:

  1. a compendium of 10 case studies outlining Gen AI’s effective integration within pedagogic practice
  2. an index of innovation advice, made up of 50-word ‘pearls of practical wisdom’(i.e., short summaries of key principles and practices, produced either by staff, or students, or through student staff collaborations)
  3. a practical guide (including principles and practice) for the inclusive, ethical and sustainable AI innovation in HE

Collaboration is at the heart of this project: project funding will provide student case-study co-authors with a stipend and pays a student partner to work with the project team reviewing and selecting contributions to the final output.

To analyse the findings we will deploy a systems approach, i.e., ‘systems thinking’ (Arnold & Wade, 2015) and a ‘systems view’ (Anthony et al., 2023). This allows us to explore the complexities of the interconnections. It also allows us to move away from ‘Technology as a Medium, mainly for Collaboration Between Groups’ to ‘Technology as a Counterpart: How People and Technologies Interact Within a System of Work’ (Anthony et al., 2023). We will put a particular emphasis on trying to understand students and staff’s professional identity (Fischer & Dobbins, 2023, in press) and explore the perceptions of trade-offs of various stakeholder groups.

Findings will be launched at the the University of Hull Teaching Learning Conference on the 10th July, 2024.

Image: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay