As artificial intelligence tools get more and more sophisticated, there’s been a lot of debate over their use in higher education. Some are worried that AI programs and tools in education will mean the end of college writing, while others are excited about the potential for personalized learning and time-saving applications in college administration and teaching.
While the battle rages on about what students should or shouldn’t be using to help them with schoolwork, it’s important to remember that AI does have some important benefits for busy college students and recent grads. The internet was a major disruptor in the education space, and artificial intelligence is already revolutionizing the way we look at learning.
Here are some simple ways AI can help college students and recent graduates succeed
Improve Writing Ability & Edit Written Work
Tools like ChatGPT are all the buzz at the moment — and for good reason. This AI tool can write reasonably well, and some fear that it will allow students to get away with doing no writing whatsoever in their college courses. While there are always going to be a handful of students who would rather take the easy way out and get a mediocre grade without doing any work, the majority of students will want to learn and make the most of their education.
The good news is that there are ways for students to use AI-powered writing tools in a way that enhances their learning, instead of allowing them to avoid doing their own writing. Grammar-checking programs, for instance, can help students proofread their papers while helping them learn any grammar rules that might have slipped through the cracks. Other programs, like ChatGPT, can be used to help with rewrites or to fix errors for ESL students.
Make Research Faster
AI can also be used to help students with research. It can be challenging and time-consuming for students to find the resources they need, even through a Google search. An AI-powered tool can quickly sift through the information available online and find sources that students can use when working on their assignments.
College coursework is time-consuming. While it is important for students to learn various research methods, the truth is that AI has been guiding online research for a long time — it’s just better and more efficient now. Being able to find necessary information quickly using AI tools is a life skill that will be important in students’ lives long after they finish college. It also means that students will have more time for thinking about the points they want to discuss or look into more deeply.
Some schools are starting to see the value of AI for assessing students’ progress. This will not only help students gain confidence in the material and feel more prepared for testing, but it will also help students close skill gaps that might be needed for the coursework.
How is this different from a practice test? Mainly, it’s different because AI is adaptive. It will be able to see where a student’s learning gaps are and personalize learning recommendations based on the assessment. A practice test is certainly helpful, but it’s static. AI assessments are more accurate and dynamic.
Find the Right Post-College Job
Graduates can also benefit from AI tools as they begin to look for their first real career jobs. Once someone has already gotten a job in any given industry, it’s usually easier to move up the ladder or find another job in the field. However, getting that first job isn’t always easy, especially in competitive fields.
One way AI can help recent graduates is by building a skill profile. An AI tool can pull in data from actual job postings and find out which skills should be the biggest priority for young graduates. College is an important step in prepping for the workforce, but with the constantly evolving digital landscape, graduates can’t take it for granted that they have all the needed skills to get a job in their industry.
Hiring managers are also regularly turning to AI these days to match candidates with the right jobs. Streamlining the process in this way helps to get recent grads into their field much more quickly and successfully.
Don’t Forget — AI Isn’t Perfect
Whenever someone uses AI to help them do their schoolwork or land a job, they have to remember that the technology isn’t perfect. We’ve seen huge improvements in AI over the last few years, but it’s not completely accurate. They might need to do some of their own fact-checking from reliable sources to ensure that the algorithm isn’t pulling false or outdated information.
With how convincing AI technology has gotten, it’s easy to forget that a machine can only draw from the information that humans provide. If that information is flawed (as so much is on the internet!) then the help it provides won’t be of much value. We shouldn’t put all our trust in AI — instead, we need to use it as an assistive tool!
The Future of AI in Colleges and Universities
As with any emerging technology, there are definitely pros and cons to using AI in education. Universities will need to create their own policies in the coming years to define what is and isn’t acceptable for students using AI tools.
Technology is influencing a cultural shift in education, and universities will have to adapt their expectations for teachers and students accordingly. As with any major change in higher education, there will be some growing pains, however.
Artificial intelligence has a number of potential applications that can enhance student learning, whether these tools are used on the university’s side or the student’s side. However, it’s important to make sure that AI is not used to replace student learning or provide shortcuts that allow students to get by without actually understanding the material.
For the time being, students can still benefit from using AI but must use their own judgment about what is and isn’t ethical, in the absence of policies from most colleges and universities. When AI helps people learn, it adds to our world and makes a positive difference!
About the Author
Ryan Ayers is a researcher and consultant within multiple industries including information technology, blockchain and business development. Always up for a challenge, Ayers enjoys working with startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. When not at work, Ayers loves reading science fiction novels and watching the LA Clippers.