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Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

The University must work with AI, not against it

From the OGB archives

On Monday, March 4, Wake Forest sent out a short survey to students asking for their thoughts about recent innovations in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). This is a significant indication that Wake Forest is aware of the potential of AI to radically reshape the contours of students’ professional and academic lives. 

What might not yet be fully understood, however, is how AI is likely to dramatically alter the higher education landscape, both inside and outside of the classroom. As such, we believe that Wake Forest must be proactive in its response to AI’s existence and rapid proliferation. In practice, this means Wake Forest should aim to work alongside AI as an inevitable institutional partner, rather than against it as an unwelcome intruder. While it may be perceived as that by professors, AI is here, and it is not going away.

Already, AI is reshaping the admissions process. Duke University recently removed the essay portion from its application grading system due to fears over the potential usage of AI’s increasingly proficient writing ability. While we take no stance on the usefulness of college essays in the application process, this development is illustrative of how AI’s ability to write like college students poses novel questions for the University at every operational stage.

As such, AI will undoubtedly have a major impact on students’ academic lives, and likely their in-class performance. We wait to see if this change will ultimately yield positive results.

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AI has proven to be capable of providing benefits to students in the classroom. For example, the technology can effectively summarize and organize reading material, eliminating students’ need to handwrite notes. AI also shows promise in enhancing students’ research capabilities — being able to quickly identify famous works and authors on specific topics. 

If students can benefit from AI, professors will have to adapt. Alternative educational formats may arise that test the limits of an AI-dictated educational experience. In-class discussions, debates and essays can and should be used to measure educational attainment in the era of AI. And no development in AI can replace class participation as an integral part of a student’s grade.

Ultimately, we recognize the disruptive power of AI to reshape higher education, and it may yet be for the worse. It is possible — even likely — that some college students will take advantage of AI in manners that do not enhance their ability to learn. Nevertheless, there is little use for institutional yearning for the days when AI was not around. 

The reality is that AI is here, and with students already making use of it, faculty and administration must follow.

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