At ‘The Great AI debate – UTS Staff vs Students’, during last week’s UTS AI x L&T event series, attendees witnessed staff members being soundly defeated by the student team. Arising from the debate were 3 key themes:
- What is the quality of data from AI?
- How is AI actually used in universities?
- What will the impact of AI be on students’ futures?
These themes have also been occupying the thoughts of the student panellists for our upcoming FFYE Forum: Evaluative judgement in the age of GenAI. At the FFYE Forum, we will be joined by four UTS students: undergraduates Ashleigh, Bianca and Lucas, and postgraduate student Shaowei. Their UTS study experience spans several faculties, including Business, Health, Science and FASS.
In preparation for the event, we asked them about their experiences of evaluative judgement and generative AI (GenAI), and its potential impact on their future education and careers.
Use of GenAI in our current time
Our panel are upbeat about the emerging and developing benefits of using GenAI tools in learning and teaching. They’re also realistic about its current limitations and pitfalls. In their comments, Shaowei and Lucas acknowledge that information generated by tools like ChatGPT might not be reliable or even real, and learning how to navigate this is a key skill to learn in higher education.
Students are also aware of the negative impact that total reliance on GenAI can have on creativity. Bianca refers to this effect as ‘a stalemate of lack of scientific innovation’ – without new voices and ideas, the output from generative AI becomes a degraded photocopy of itself.
Where should we go from here?
The students are passionate about the opportunities offered by use of GenAI in higher education and in their future workplaces. This ranges from writing prompts that enable deeper questioning (Shaowei) and ethical responsibility when using AI tools (Ashleigh), to saving time during research (Bianca) and widening users’ perspectives on an issue (Lucas).
What is needed to develop these skills, but what we might not yet be embracing fully, is support for the decision-making process needed to use generative AI more judiciously. As Ashleigh suggests, knowing how to approach and use any new tool is a skill in itself, and a powerful learning experience.
Our UTS students are clear and positive about their expectations from university and GenAI: they’re looking for opportunities to explore these new tools in a considered, critical and collaborative way.
Hear more from our students at next week’s FFYE forum
The next FFYE Forum will take place online 2-4pm Wednesday 16 August. Please join us to hear more from the student panel and explore the topic of evaluative judgement and generative AI more deeply: