AI report

Brace yourselves: AI is set to explode in the next 4 years

As AI grows in the education sector, its impact could be felt in student learning programs, websites and admissions programs

The growth of AI in the academic world leads to the need for new policies and guidelines.

And as noted in the annual Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition, as academic and research libraries begin to uncover ways in which AI can improve patron services, research processes, and learner outcomes, there is a need to develop guidelines informed by research to ensure ethical use of student data.

AI hasn’t gone mainstream quite yet, but many forward-thinking institutions are exploring how its basics can enhance their offerings and operations. This type of exploration could be buoyed by AI’s predicted rise.

Because AI can be very user-centric, it helps deliver relevant answers and feedback to students in any number of situations. It also can personalize a student’s learning lifecycle, including academic information and job applications.

“With some simple input, AI mechanisms can assemble all sorts of narratives for students—about their future, job applications, and ways to make an impact down the road—to inform pursuits now that will lead to desired results,” said Ralph Lucci, cofounder and user experience director at Behavior Design. “In these ways, it is a guide for the student and can act as a concierge or an ambassador for an institution.”

Examples of personalized pathway guides include digital student guides for prospects and accepted students which provide checklists of what students need pre-application, how to connect with teachers, get housing, apply for financial aid, etc. “This helps craft an experience for future students before they even arrive on campus.”

AI also can better support online learning programs by increasing feedback in online or blended learning programs. And as it becomes more mainstream, it could help schools and campuses distinguish their programs and services.

“If an institution is embracing AI, students know there’s support and structure around these kinds of technologies and modernized learning; which is a good thing. Students will hold the school in higher regard and in turn the institution can attract more diverse and like-minded audiences, including professors and teachers. It’s a win-win situation,” Lucci said.

Laura Ascione

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