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Announcing The AI Challenge: An April Invitation

The development of a Design Forward module devoted to generative artificial intelligence (GENAI) has been a priority for the CoLab since Fall 2022 when the launch of ChatGPT brought so much attention to GENAI and its intersection with education. It took a full year to wrap our heads around these latest developments in AI, design a framework and structure for presenting the topic, and develop the content of the module.

The DF module, The AI Challenge was released last month and focuses on orienting university faculty to the use of (GENAI) for teaching and learning. Specifically, it covers not only fundamentals but approaches to teaching with, against, and about GENAI. Our hope is that participants will develop both their practical and critical understanding of the topic. Accompanying the module is the AI Challenge Collection, a library of ideas for using AI for teaching that we’ve sourced from around the internet.

The hardest part of developing the module was deciding upon a way to frame and structure the topic of GENAI. Much has much written about both the positives of AI (for example: how it can be used to jumpstart creative processes or find/refine ideas) and the negatives (for example: how it can be used to cheat or how it replicates biases and misinformation). We wanted to cover these aspects of GENAI (and the tensions between them), but we also wanted to provide a third lens: what is our responsibility as educators to teach our students how GENAI works, what ethical dilemmas it presents, and how we can make values-based decisions about engaging with these technologies? We hope the final topics we chose for the module offer a critical and nuanced approach to GENAI, landing neither on a Pollyanna-ish glee nor a Cassandra-ish full-scale rejection of AI. The reality we face is that these tools are here to stay and that, as they continue to develop, they will continue to shape many aspects of our world, including the work we do in education. We can only hope to become critical, careful, and knowledgeable in our engagement with GENAI.

While anyone (at PSU or beyond) is invited to work through the AI Challenge module at anytime (it is designed to be flexible and self-paced) we are also planning a month-long “play along” with the CoLab. Starting on April 1st, we will be working through the module for the entire month, covering a topic each week, with an expected time commitment of about 1-3 hours per week. We invite anyone who is interested (again, at PSU or beyond) to register for this opportunity. We will stay in touch with registrants by email to provide reminders and (just a little) nudge for accountability if it helps. We look forward to learning with you!

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