PACE Faculty host workshop on AI in the classroom

Author: Bridget McCracken
October 25, 2023

Faculty from the School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) participated in a foundational workshop on “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Teaching and Learning.” The event, the first brown bag session of the Fall semester, was coordinated by the Faculty Development Committee of PACE with the intention of making such gatherings a recurring feature of PACE integrative activities. The workshop, conducted via Zoom, was led by Associate Professor Ernie Joaquin, with faculty from the Urban Studies Program, Gerontology Program and Master of Public Administration Program. 

With AI being one of the existential issues of our time, the PACE faculty must explore its transformative potential within their respective fields of expertise. In addition to Joaquin, the session featured Professor Genie Stowers, recognized for her knowledge of information and AI tools, particularly ChatGPT. Stowers delivered an overview of AI and its origins and described some of the popular AI tools, with a specific emphasis on ChatGPT. She also demonstrated the use of Adobe Firefly for crafting professional and engaging presentations, an application her students found very accessible. Joaquin delved into creating effective prompts for ChatGPT, showing its application in crafting assignments, assessing student work and case study writing. The last is a key aspect of graduate courses that emphasize written exercises. Faculty also discussed ways of using AI to generate efficient and effective feedback for students. 

The faculty availed themselves of this opportunity to engage in a substantive discourse concerning the promotion of academic integrity and strategies for detecting AI-generated assignments. They had candid discussions on the challenges associated with bias and the accuracy of ChatGPT results, acknowledging their significance in AI integration. Joaquin shared a ChatGPT policy incorporated into her syllabus, addressing some of these critical issues. The faculty also discussed ways of using AI to generate efficient and effective feedback for students, come up with ideas to enhance existing courses and directly engage AI with their students. Based on this workshop, the faculty will plan the next steps in finding and sharing ways of enhancing the educational experience at PACE as AI becomes an integral part of modern pedagogy.  

AI workshop