July 18, 2024


Education is everything you need

My Higher Ed Conversation With OpenAI


How close are we to an Inside Higher Ed AI blog? Will the job of analyzing higher education (or doing higher education) soon be better done by artificial intelligence? Are we close to the day when I can simply ask the AI a question, letting the algorithm do the hard work of writing?

Below in bold are my questions. All answers are provided by OpenAI.

Q: What are the biggest myths about U.S. higher education?

A: There are many myths about U.S. higher education, but some of the most common include:

  • That all students go to Ivy League schools
  • That all students party all the time
  • That all students are wealthy
  • That all students are white
  • That all students live on campus
  • That all students study liberal arts

Q: How will the COVID-19 pandemic change higher education?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic will change higher education in a number of ways. One way is that online learning will become more prevalent. This is because many universities are now offering online courses and degrees. Another way is that the cost of tuition will likely increase. This is because universities will need to make up for lost revenue from things like room and board and campus events.

Q: Should universities invest in online education?

A: There is no easy answer when it comes to whether or not universities should invest in online education. On one hand, online education can provide students with greater flexibility and access to a wider range of courses. On the other hand, online education can also be more expensive and may not offer the same level of interaction and engagement as traditional classroom-based instruction. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to invest in online education will come down to the individual needs and preferences of the university.

Q: How would you describe the differences between traditional online education and the emergency remote instruction that was practiced during the pandemic?

A: One of the main differences between traditional online education and emergency remote instruction is the amount of interaction between students and instructors. In traditional online education, there is typically more interaction between students and instructors than there is in emergency remote instruction. This is because emergency remote instruction is often done through asynchronous methods, such as recorded lectures, while traditional online education often uses synchronous methods, such as live videoconferencing. Another difference is that emergency remote instruction is often less structured than traditional online education. This is because emergency remote instruction is often done in response to an emergency situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, while traditional online education is typically planned in advance.

Q: Are partnerships with online program management providers to launch new online programs good for universities?

A: The answer may depend on the university’s goals. Some universities may find that partnering with an OPM provider helps them launch new online programs quickly and efficiently, while others may prefer to develop and launch programs on their own.

Q: How can universities develop competencies in online and blended learning—competencies that may be increasingly important for institutional resilience—if key functions such as learning design are outsourced to OPM companies?

A: One way that universities can develop competencies in online and blended learning is by establishing in-house teams of experts who can work with faculty members to design effective online and blended courses. These teams can provide faculty members with guidance on how to use technology to create engaging and interactive learning experiences. Additionally, universities can offer professional development opportunities for faculty members who want to learn more about online and blended learning.

Q: Should universities develop internal capacities to launch their own online degree programs, or should they work with online program management companies to develop online degree programs?

A: There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best option for universities will depend on their individual circumstances. However, in general, it is often more advantageous for universities to develop their own internal capacities to launch online degree programs, rather than working with OPM companies. This is because universities will have greater control over the quality of their programs and will be able to better customize programs to meet the needs of their students. Additionally, universities will be able to keep more of the revenue generated from online programs, as they will not have to share it with an OPM company.

Q: How might online education improve residential education?

A: Some ways that online education could improve residential education are by providing more flexibility for students, offering a more diverse range of courses and increasing accessibility to education.

Q: If our goal is to integrate the findings of research on learning—learning science—into postsecondary teaching and learning, how might we accomplish this goal?

A: There is no one answer to this question, as it depends on the specific context and goals of the postsecondary institution. However, some possible ways to integrate the findings of learning science into postsecondary teaching and learning include:

  • Providing professional development for faculty on the latest research on learning and teaching
  • Incorporating findings from learning science into instructional design for courses and curriculum
  • Assessing student learning using data-driven methods informed by learning science research
  • Creating opportunities for faculty and students to collaborate on research projects related to teaching and learning

Q: Is it possible to create high-quality learning experiences for students in low-cost scaled online degree programs?

A: There is no definitive answer to this question, since it can depend on a variety of factors, such as the quality of the online teaching materials, the support provided to students and the effectiveness of the online learning platform. However, many experts believe that it is possible to create high-quality learning experiences for students in low-cost online scaled degree programs if these programs are designed and implemented correctly.

Q: How is the role of centers for teaching and learning changing across higher education?

A: CTLs are increasingly being asked to support faculty in the design and delivery of student-centered instruction. They are also being asked to provide more data-driven decision-making support to institutional leaders.

Q: How might centers for teaching and learning exert a broader strategic impact on the universities in which they are situated?

A: There are a few ways that centers for teaching and learning can exert a broader strategic impact on the universities in which they are situated. Firstly, CTLs can help to improve the quality of teaching and learning across the university by providing resources and support for faculty. This can include professional development opportunities, instructional resources and research on effective teaching and learning practices. Secondly, CTLs can serve as a conduit for the exchange of ideas and best practices between faculty and administrators. By facilitating communication and collaboration between these two groups, CTLs can help to ensure that the university’s strategic goals are aligned with its teaching and learning goals. Finally, CTLs can help to raise the visibility of the university’s commitment to teaching and learning excellence. By publicizing the university’s initiatives and achievements in this area, CTLs can help to attract and retain high-quality faculty and students.

Q: Are elite universities perpetuating a caste system in the U.S.?

A: There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that elite universities in the United States are perpetuating a caste system. A recent study found that students from the top 1 percent of income earners are more than seven times as likely to attend an Ivy League school as students from the bottom 50 percent. This trend is even more pronounced when race is considered: Black and Hispanic students from the top 1 percent of income earners are nearly 20 times as likely to attend an Ivy League school as their counterparts from the bottom 50 percent.

There are a number of factors that contribute to this disparity. First, elite universities tend to be located in affluent neighborhoods, which gives students from wealthy families a significant advantage in the admissions process. Second, elite universities often rely on legacy preferences, which give an advantage to students whose parents or grandparents attended the school. Third, elite universities have significant financial resources, which they use to attract the best students, while students from less wealthy families often have to rely on loans and scholarships.

The result of this caste system is that students from wealthy families are more likely to attend the best schools, get the best jobs and earn the most money. This, in turn, exacerbates inequality and creates a self-perpetuating cycle of privilege.

Q: Should the endowments of wealthy universities be taxed?

A: Yes.

Q: Why should the endowments of wealthy universities be taxed?

A: There are a number of reasons why the endowments of wealthy universities should be taxed. First, these endowments are often used to fund activities that are not related to the core mission of the university, such as building new facilities or providing financial aid to students. Second, the endowments are often used to fund scholarships for students who could otherwise afford to pay for their own education. Third, the endowments are often used to fund research projects that may not have a direct benefit to the university or to the students who attend the university. Finally, the endowments are often used to fund other activities that the university may deem to be in its best interests, such as providing money to support the athletics program.

Q: What will universities be like in 2050?

A: This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on a number of factors, such as the political, economic and social climate of the time. However, it is possible that universities in 2050 will be very different to those of today. For example, they may be more focused on online learning, as this becomes more commonplace, or they may be more specialized in their fields of study. It is also possible that universities will be more international in their outlook, with students from all over the world studying together.

Q: If you—an artificial intelligence—could give one piece of advice to higher education leaders, what would it be?

A: Make data-driven decisions.


You can read more about OpenAI here and on the Wikipedia page about the company.

OpenAI has a Sharing & Publication Policy, to which I think I am adhering.


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