Online: Trending Now

Unique biweekly insights and news review
from Ray Schroeder, Senior Fellow at UPCEA

This Fall, How Will You Integrate Gen AI into Your University Work?

We are already halfway through the summer. Now is the time to put into action your resolution to apply the power of AI at work!

Generative AI has been around for a few years, but it hit the higher ed scene in a big way in 2022 with GPT 3.5. All of a sudden, it seemed, artificial intelligence was becoming more than science fiction. Useful tools became available to the average person and the imperative to understand and join the revolution became a reality. This fall, those academic offices, university classes, and research studies that do not tap the potential of GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) apps using LLM (Large Language Models) will stick out like virtual Model T Fords on the turnpikes of the 21st century.

Seriously, the power of these apps is enormous and growing fast. Our colleagues and students are expecting us to utilize these tools this fall. With only half a dozen weeks left to the start of the fall term, what can you possibly accomplish?

Naturally, I asked a couple of the leading generative AI applications for their advice. I prompted ChatGPT+ and Google Bard on June 22, 2023 to give me some ideas of what we can still do at this point in the summer. Collectively, they recommended some 50 different generative AI activities to pursue in higher education teaching and administration. I selected some of those to share with you here.

First, however, I recommend that you take an hour or so to practice writing prompts for the various AI tools you plan to use. Laura Starita, from The Content Strategist, provides a useful list of elements of successful prompts that you will want to review before beginning your quest. In brief, she recommends:

  • Describe your goal output.
  • Describe the audience and style.
  • Include keywords or phrases you want the AI to incorporate.
  • Ask for any special formatting.
  • Provide source material or examples.
  • Revise.

Make sure you read the brief article linked above to learn the important nuances of how to successfully prompt generative AI. You will then be ready to begin.

Each of the apps I prompted came up with uses by categories, here are some of the possibilities that Google Bard and ChatGPT recommended.

Enhancing Teaching

  • Generative AI can be a powerful tool for curating and creating educational content. (ChatGPT)
  • Personalizing instruction: Generative AI can be used to personalize instruction by generating customized learning materials and assessments for each student. This can help to ensure that all students are able to reach their full potential. (Google Bard)
  • Generative AI can be used to create interactive learning modules that engage students and help them learn in a more meaningful way. These modules can include text, images, videos, and simulations. (Google Bard)
  • Personalized Learning: Given the AI’s ability to adapt to user inputs, it can help create personalized study materials, tutorials, or even quizzes tailored to each student’s unique needs. (ChatGPT)
  • Providing feedback on student work: Generative AI can be used to provide feedback on student work, identifying areas where students need additional help. For example, a generative AI tool could be used to analyze student essays and provide feedback on grammar, style, and content. (Google Bard)

Administering Academic Departments

  • Managing budgets: Generative AI can be used to manage budgets and identify areas where costs can be saved. This can help to ensure that programs are sustainable and efficient. (Google Bard)
  • Documentation and Reporting: AI can automate the creation of meeting minutes, reports, or other administrative documents, reducing manual effort and improving precision. (ChatGPT)
  • Communication: AI can draft emails, newsletters, or other forms of communication, ensuring consistency and professionalism. It can also help handle frequently asked questions or standard requests, freeing up time for more complex tasks. (ChatGPT)
  • Identifying trends in enrollments; comparing your programs to those at competing universities including content, emphases, new initiatives (Google Bard)
  • Planning and Scheduling: AI can assist in creating course schedules, planning meetings, or organizing events, bringing speed and convenience to complex logistical tasks. (ChatGPT)

Improving Efficiency

  • Data Analysis: Generative AI can help analyze complex data sets, providing insights into student performance, course efficacy, and administrative effectiveness. This will inform evidence-based decision-making and strategy development. (ChatGPT)
  • Researching topics: Generative AI can be used to research topics and find information. This can save time for professors, deans, and directors who need to stay up-to-date on the latest research in their field. (Google Bard)
  • Recruiting students: Generative AI can be used to recruit students to academic programs. This can help to attract a more diverse and qualified student body. (Google Bard)
  • Automating tasks: Generative AI can be used to automate many of the tasks that are currently performed by humans. This can free up time for professors, deans, and directors to focus on more strategic work. (Google Bard)
  • AI can identify patterns and trends, predicting student performance or foreseeing potential administrative challenges. This can help educators and administrators proactively address issues, improving both learning outcomes and operational efficiency. (ChatGPT)

These are just a handful of the millions of ways in which generative AI can be useful to you in your university position. I recommend that you focus on AI assistance in one aspect of your work at a time. Think of generative AI as your new research or teaching assistant. This is the brightest and fastest assistant you have ever had. It never sleeps. It doesn’t go on Spring Break. It has near perfect scores on the SAT, the GRE, and now, it even has passed a bar exam. So, don’t hold back; Google Bard, ChatGPT and other generative AI bots are fully capable of finding information, organizing, and reporting results in a credible way, whether that be text, image, spreadsheet, or database.

Select something meaningful that generative AI can add to your repertoire for the fall. You will have a bright, shiny, relevant, useful example to share as evidence of your understanding of the potential of this application to enhance and advance a selected part of your job. It will put you on the path to becoming a more productive, efficient and effective leader.


This article was originally published in Inside Higher Ed’s Transforming Teaching + Learning blog.

A man (Ray Schroeder) is dressed in a suit with a blue tie and wearing glasses.

Ray Schroeder is Professor Emeritus, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) and Senior Fellow at UPCEA. Each year, Ray publishes and presents nationally on emerging topics in online and technology-enhanced learning. Ray’s social media publications daily reach more than 12,000 professionals. He is the inaugural recipient of the A. Frank Mayadas Online Leadership Award, recipient of the University of Illinois Distinguished Service Award, the United States Distance Learning Association Hall of Fame Award, and the American Journal of Distance Education/University of Wisconsin Wedemeyer Excellence in Distance Education Award 2016.

Other UPCEA Updates + Blogs

Gainful Employment and Financial Value Transparency Final Regulations Released – Effective July 1, 2024 | Policy Matters (September 2023)

Major Updates   New Gainful Employment and Financial Value Transparency Final Regulations Released – Effective July 1, 2024 The US Department of Education has released final Gainful Employment and “Financial Value Transparency” regulations. The Gainful Employment (GE) regulations include new and higher bars for career programs and connecting outcomes to programs offered by private for-profit…

Read More

Advisory Boards Aid in Alleviating AI Anxiety (Inside Higher Ed)

When it comes to artificial intelligence and higher ed, the excitement and hype are matched by the uncertainties and need for guidance. One solution: creating an AI advisory board that brings together students, faculty and staff for open conversations about the new technology. That was a key idea presented at the University of Central Florida’s…

Read More

University of Texas System Bets Big on Microcredentials (Inside Higher Ed)

As the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. And now going big applies to microcredentials. The University of Texas System, spanning nine academic campuses with roughly 240,000 students, is expanding its partnership with microcredential provider Coursera. The initiative announced last month is Coursera’s largest, aiming to reach 30,000 students with 35 courses by 2025.…

Read More

UPCEA’s Research and Consulting Group Grows, Welcomes Stacy Chiaramonte, and Offers Exciting Career Opportunity

UPCEA Research and Consulting is Growing: As a leader in Professional, Continuing, and Online (PCO) education, UPCEA’s Research and Consulting group continues to expand, aligning with the evolving needs of higher education institutions. Our industry experts bring years of experience to provide unparalleled value in the industry. Welcome Stacy Chiaramonte: UPCEA proudly welcomes Stacy Chiaramonte…

Read More

Biden Administration Issues Resources in Response to Race-Based Admissions Decision | Policy Matters (August 2023)

Major Updates Supreme Court Race-Based Admissions Updates + Webinar Recording Biden Administration Issues Guidance and Resources in Response to Race-Based Admissions Decision The Biden Administration released resources to assist institutions understand the Supreme Court’s recent decision on race-based admissions. These resources will help colleges and universities as they work to lawfully pursue efforts to achieve…

Read More

Listen to Derek Bruff’s Intentional Teaching podcast, now sponsored by UPCEA!

UPCEA is excited to announce that we are now sponsoring the Intentional Teaching podcast hosted by Derek Bruff. Derek is an educator, author, and higher ed consultant. He directed the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching for more than a decade, where he helped faculty and other instructors develop foundational teaching skills and explore new ideas…

Read More

Whether you need benchmarking studies, or market research for a new program, UPCEA Consulting is the right choice.

We know you. We know the challenges you face and we have the solutions you need. We speak your language and have been serving leaders like you for more than 100 years. UPCEA consultants are current or former continuing and online higher education professionals who are experts in the industry—put our expertise to work for you.

UPCEA is dedicated to advancing quality online learning at the institutional level. UPCEA is uniquely focused on excellence at the highest levels – leadership, administration, strategy – applying a macro lens to the online teaching and learning enterprise. Its engaged members include the stewards of online learning at most of the leading universities in the nation.

We offers a variety of custom research options through a variable pricing model.

Click here to learn more.

The Nation's Top Universities Choose UPCEA Consulting

Informed decisions. Ideas that work. The data you need. Trusted by the top universities in the nation.