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Georgetown Initiative on Pedagogical Uses of Artificial Intelligence (IPAI)

In recent posts here and here , this blog has been pondering the rapidly changing role of artificial intelligence in the day-to-day lives of humans. The posts noted that we are in the exponential-growth phase of the systems, but that their current capabilities may imply a near-term growth rate that is unprecedented, even in the world of Silicon Valley. We are also in the “hype” phase of the new technology, so “slow thinking” and reflection is a good idea for all of us.

As with all technologies, both wonderful and terrible outcomes are possible from artificial intelligence. Regardless of what outcomes will ensue, however, it seems highly likely that, throughout their futures, our students will have to navigate new ways of work, leisure, and interpersonal relations affected by artificial intelligence systems.

It seems myopic, therefore, for Georgetown to attempt to ignore these systems as they develop or attempt to eliminate them from our teaching and research activities. Such a posture ill-prepares our students to be the leaders we aspire them to be. Our students should acquire critical capacities to discern under what circumstances artificial intelligence systems might be useful to their work and private lives; and, on the other hand, how to identify and halt harmful uses of the systems.
This moment evokes memories of 2012, when the hype phase of educational software developments spawned Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and the EdX and Coursera platforms emerged. The hype at that time argued that in-person, brick and mortar universities were a thing of the past.
Over last ten years, we have learned much about online learning. Our collective knowledge was enhanced by faculty experimentation sponsored under the Initiative on Technology-Enhanced Learning (ITEL), which the provost office sponsored over a period of years. Of course, the COVID pandemic taught all of us very abruptly what works and what doesn’t for which kinds of students, using online tools.

Over the past few weeks, discussions with faculty and our teaching and learning specialists led to the idea that, once again, incentivizing trials, experiments, and pilots within our classrooms may make sense. Rather that banning artificial intelligence systems’ within our courses, we should collectively determine whether they might be used to enhance our learning goals.
For that reason, with deep gratitude for philanthropic support from donors who care about educational innovation, we can announce the Georgetown Initiative on Pedagogical Uses of Artificial Intelligence. The goal of the initiative is to support faculty trial uses of AI systems in a wide variety of class settings. The initiative will be open to all faculty, from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences; to all schools; to all levels of teaching, both undergraduate and graduate programs.
To design IPAI, we need faculty input. The provost office will appoint a task force of faculty and learning design specialists, led by Eddie Maloney of CNDLS and Randy Bass of the Red House.

The committee will:
1. Identify alternative faculty support mechanisms for trial uses of AI within courses they teach
2. Define a process of soliciting faculty proposals and identify the nature of the proposals
3. Propose an evaluation protocol for proposals received
4. Identify an evaluative process to judge whether each funded pilot achieved its goals

A competition for these design funds will be held in the fall 2023. None of us now know the future promise and threat of artificial intelligence systems. We do know, however, that our students should be prepared for a world in which such systems are ubiquitous. We need to help them thrive in that world by designing new learning experiences at Georgetown. There are no better people to do this than Georgetown faculty.

One thought on “Georgetown Initiative on Pedagogical Uses of Artificial Intelligence (IPAI)

  1. Georgetown University launches the Initiative on Pedagogical Uses of AI, enabling faculty to integrate AI into teaching, preparing students for an AI-driven future.

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