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Davis, V.L. (2023) WCET Primer for Higher Education: General Brief on Generative AI Boulder, CO: WCET

If you are not a member of WCET, I highly recommend this open access primer on Generative AI, such as ChatGPT and DALL-E.

The paper provides

  • a brief description of how generative AI works (in layman’s terms),
  • some examples, 
  • a list of challenges and opportunities
  • some policy recommendations and actions
  • a list of further resources.

Contact North (2023) Looking into the future of AI in higher education, Sudbury: ON

Another useful, brief article that lists:

  • seven major developments of AI in higher education over the next seven years
  • seven major challenges.

The article concludes:

The key to more widespread deployment of AI is to think of it not just as an automation tool or assistant but as a collaborator — as a resource to support teaching, learning, assessment, research, writing and thinking. 

And instead of seeing AI as a potential replacement, it should be embraced as a way to improve the work of teachers, administrators and researchers. After all, that was what Alan Turing intended when he first wrote about AI in the 1950s.

My view

My main concern is a control issue. I see at least generative AI as having enormous potential in education, if harnessed to serve the goals of a liberal education.

However, the technology is not transparent. The algorithms used are often patented and hence not open to independent scrutiny. Secondly, generative AI tools are primarily being developed, managed and controlled by commercial high-tech companies, such as Microsoft and Google, aiming to profit from the use of such tools.

Publicly funded universities, colleges and schools in this sense are direct competitors for ‘clients.’ I fear that because of the opaqueness and complexity of AI, educators will not be able to ensure that such tools are designed for the less tangible purposes of education, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, environmental care, values, and knowledge management, and that commercial, high-tech companies will use these tools to drive public education out of the market.

This does not necessarily have to be the future, but unless educators get a better understanding of how AI works, who controls it, and how to leverage it for the long-term benefit of learners, then I see a very dystopian future. It could indeed become an existential challenge for public education.


  1. I think generative AI will become as ubiquitous as the internet and it will be accessible for everyone. So, in the coming decade educational institutions will have more open and transparent access to its internal workings. I agree completely that there is a huge potential for generative AI in academia in terms of raising the bar, idea-generation, critical thinking, and other forms of cutting-edge progress.


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