This blog was co-written by Cameron Hart and Robert Fleck

Last week, DAB hosted a workshop with IML to explore the opportunities and challenges of Generative AI in learning and teaching for staff and students. Its application and limitations were explored via 3 curriculum case studies from the faculty.

AI in the professional workplace isn’t new

The Associate Dean of Education for DAB, Associate Professor Vince Mangioni, opened the workshop with a reflection on the emergence of machine learning and AI tools for professional practice in property valuation. Vince suggested that the current fear of AI replacing jobs may not be so likely, reflecting on the revolution of AI in his own profession 20 years ago. From Vince’s example of the incorporation of Computer Assisted Mass Appraisals (CAMA), we learned that the adoption of machine learning served to free up human labour hours and increased efforts to improve workflows.

Encouraging critical assessments of Gen AI outputs in Built Environment

Senior Lecturer Gabriela Quintana Vigiola has been encouraging students to engage with GenAI in the assessment process of a critical essay. She explained that GenAI is already being used in professional urban design and urban planning, and exposing her students to its benefits and limitations will highlight how they can hope to operate in their professional lives.

In Gabriela’s assessment task, students assess a piece of work written by ChatGPT and critique the programs response to the research question. The students are encouraged to focus on the quality of information, accuracy of the reference and validity of the statements. In a subject that focuses on industry-readiness, it is vital to encourage students to participate in this process and engage them as partners to participate in feedback and improvement tasks.

Blending Gen AI programs into professional practice in Architecture

Senior Lecturers Mohammed Makki and David Pigram demonstrated how the inclusion of GenAI is the next logical step in producing high-quality work in Urban Design – a field that is already dominated by design programs. In their case studies, our presenters demonstrated appropriate usage and gold standards for application by students in assessment tasks. They requested that students use a multi-program approach, utilising visualisation programs such as Midjourney and StableDiffusion, and idea generation using programs like Chat GPT.

The application of these tools is to encourage students to explore, be inspired, refine and create visualisations within a design concept, then document and reflect on the results. The assessment process aimed to show students how simply adopting the first few outputs from a program will serve to devalue their work, while an iterative process of refinement where students can apply their own personal flavour into the design outputs leads to a higher quality outcome.

Ethical considerations for Gen AI use in Design

Lecturer Monica Monin, looked at GenAI more broadly and framed its use within Visual Communication. Monica says she encourages her students to understand and explore the inherent biases of GenAI tools, the training data and the ethical implications of GenAI datamining. Her students were hesitant to use Generative AI due to ethical considerations of generated images which have been trained using the uncompensated work of countless other designers. Through her implementation and awareness of AI in her subjects, Monica is guiding and learning with her students on developing sensibilities and critical awareness of the impact of GenAI beyond the academic sphere, and how it will continue to shape the profession of Design. 

IML and UTS Library updates

We (Rob and Cam) introduced the work we have been doing with the Spring Intensive Assessment Redesign (SIAR) program in the faculty. We presented two tools developed to support the faculty with their GenAI response:

  • a systematic assessment mapping tool, which explores every assessment task offered in Spring session 2023 for its resilience to AI misuse
  • a typology of assessment redesign to provide personalised, targeted and meaningful support to academics to review/ redesign assessment tasks

Gemma and Joseph from the Academic Language and Learning team addressed the elephant in the room: cheating. Our presenters outlined strategies to guide students through the new AI landscape while keeping enriching learning experiences and academic integrity at the fore. Providing feedback and assistance, explaining what is required in assessment, and demonstrating academic skills needed for assessment were key takeaways to supporting students in assessment more generally.

Senior Librarian David Litting demonstrated new resources on the UTS Library website, including referencing guides for citing GenAI, and a GenAI study guide which can be embedded into your Canvas site

Wenes Gunawan and Alex White from the LX.lab gave an update on where to find Artificial Intelligence in learning and teaching resources and the latest in AI news and practice. Teaching staff can now search in Canvas Commons and import template pages such as ‘Use of Generative AI in this subject’ and ‘Academic integrity at UTS’ to their Canvas sites.

Senior Lecturer Melinda Lewis, academic lead of the DAB Faculty Partnership and member of IML’s TACT team, facilitated the workshop. Preliminary feedback on the workshop indicated that 78% of respondents felt “My understanding of GenAI has improved from undertaking the workshop”, and 89% of respondents “I am interested in attending another GenAI workshop”. A full report of the event will be tabled at the DAB Education Quality Committee next week.

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