Can Emerging Technologies such as AI and ML Mak­­e Teaching, Assessment and Research More Effective and Inclusive? – CETI Westminster Workshop overview

workshop CETI June 7th

On June 7th, the CIMR at Birkbeck, University of London, in collaboration with CETI at the University of Westminster and the Innogen Institute at the Open University and the University of Edinburgh, held a joint exploratory workshop on “Emerging Technologies for Effective Teaching, Assessment, and Research.

Workshop

The workshop brought together educators and researchers from several fields, including architecture, computer science, development studies, entrepreneurship, innovation studies, law, management, organisation studies, and politics. It reflected on the promise emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) hold for teaching and research at universities. Furthermore, the workshop addressed issues of inclusion and social justice in such AI/ML applications.

One of the main goals of the workshop was to share ideas and best practices and explore strategies for using these technologies to promote inclusive pedagogy and avoid algorithmic biases, coloniality, and hierarchies in the curriculum.

Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Assessment

The workshop opened with introductory remarks from the co-organizers: Dr Yaz Osho, Dr Thanos Fragkandreas, Professor Theo Papaioannou, Dr Daphne Economou, and Dr Marion Frenz. They all pointed out the importance of emerging technologies for effective teaching and research and the urgency of addressing issues of inequity and exclusion in specific technological applications.

This was followed by the first session, which contained three presentations by Dr Daphne Economou on gamification and AI, by Professor Advaith Siddharthan on AI, citizen science, and epistemic justice, and lastly, Dr Marion Frenz on the use of Gen-AI in business research proposals.

These presentations stressed the potential of AI technologies for enhancing the learning outcomes of students as well as for enabling citizens to get engaged in scientific research.

Encouraging students to use these technologies effectively in their learning journeys can lead them to developing important transferable skills. 

Issues of Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Assessment

After a short coffee break, four additional presentations were given. The first one was delivered by Dr Thanos Fragkandreas on research-based teaching and AI bias; the second one by Dr Peter Atkinson on different types of assessment in the age of AI; the third one by Professor Theo Papaioannou on using AI in a responsible and inclusive manner in both teaching and research; and lastly, Dr Sylvia Snijders and Deborah Rose discussed the responsible use of AI in decolonising the curriculum. These presentations pointed out that the importance of using AI/ML technologies within a framework of social justice. Observing certain principles of equity and inclusion can enable educators and students to identify bias, avoid discrimination, and deal with issues of coloniality in the curriculum.  

Emerging Technologies for Effective Teaching: Ways Forward

After the lunch break, presenters and participants discussed ideas, raised some concerns (e.g., lack of a cross-university AI policy, training, and support for module leaders on how to incorporate AI in the curriculum in an inclusive way), shared best practices, and identified a few areas for action for the next academic year. Among other things, workshop participants committed to:

  • Co-create a framework for implementing AI in different modules in the next academic year while acknowledging that academic standards differ in each university.
  • Utilise AI tools for effective teaching, for instance, utilising AI to detect students who are not engaged with the reading material and content in the modules.
  • Explore the potential of AI in research-based teaching and identify ways AI can be utilised to enhance the critical thinking and analytical skills of students.
  • Brainstorm on types of assessment and criteria that can be used to assess originality in the age of AI.
  • Share ideas and best practices on decolonising the curriculum and explore participatory ways, for instance, by implementing citizen science concepts and tools.

As discussed in another CIMR event, while emerging technologies offer impressive benefits for efficiency and capability enhancement, they also pose challenges for educators and researchers.  Open dialogue, continuous adaptation, careful planning, human oversight, and ethical considerations are essential.

The workshop concluded with a call to explore the potential of emerging technologies for inclusive teaching and assessment in the next academic year.

We would like to thank the Innogen Institute at the Open University, the University of Edinburgh and the CETI at the University of Westminster for co-sponsoring and organising the workshop.

Thanos Fragkandreas and Theo Papaioannou