After being adopted by the Southeastern Conference (SEC) for its 14 institutions, the Auburn-created online Teaching with AI course continues to grow, impacting the research, course material and students of instructors and faculty across the nation. Now available to the general public for a small fee, Teaching with AI leads the way in AI education for educators.
The self-paced, asynchronous online course consists of 8 interactive modules, exploring diverse topics concerning AI, its implementation in the classroom, ethical considerations and more. Launched in spring of this year, the course has enrolled over 600 Auburn participants and more than 35 higher education institutions, resulting in a net enrollment of nearly 4,000 with more expected in the future. Those that have already taken the course have glowing reviews and valuable reflections.
Victoria Ledford, Assistant Professor in Auburn’s School of Communication and Journalism, highly recommends the course to her colleagues. She feels that the course empowers her and her fellow faculty to make the best decisions for their own classrooms regarding AI.
“… it is an incredibly well-designed course… it really does value the instructor’s agency and provides clear tools,” Ledford said. “You don’t need to want to integrate AI or know anything [about AI] to take the course.”
Teaching with AI allowed Ledford to ask important questions about how she wished to continue in her own personal pursuit of AI knowledge, such as “how is AI useful,” “in what context is it appropriate,” and “how do students view [AI]?”
Teaching with AI encourages participants to engage in conversations about AI with their students, demystifying the technology and creating an open dialogue about what some consider to be a taboo topic. With much discussion focusing on the potential of AI to negatively disrupt classrooms, especially surrounding the probability of its use for academic dishonesty, the course demonstrates both the negative and positive attributes of the technology.
In reflecting on his reason for signing up for the course, Jonathan Seifried, Lecturer in Auburn’s School of Communication and Journalism, said, “I thought this [AI] is an extremely powerful tool. I think it can be used for good and for evil. I’m really concerned about the evil part of it, and I don’t know enough about it to be able to understand everything that it is capable of…”
Seifried found the course to be an important medium through which to explore the capabilities and limitations of AI, concluding that AI can be viewed as a tool, “something that would be a benefit to your learning instead of a tool that could be used to replace your learning,” he said.
Megan Burton, Professor of Elementary Education at Auburn, credits the course and Auburn’s Biggio Center with encouraging and enabling her to incorporate AI into her courses, allowing her classrooms of future educators to become familiar with the technology. Burton says that she and her students have found that different types of AI can be very useful, but the personal touch is still important, and AI cannot be relied on as a sole authority.
Even though Burton was one of the first to complete the course and earn her digital badge, she still enjoys following along with the discussion boards, continuing to learn from the diverse pool of educator participants that provide their viewpoints, opinions and updates on the technology. Because of the foundation provided in the Teaching with AI course, Burton will be presenting at a professional conference, the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, about AI in the classroom and is also nominated for an award for the project.
Teaching with AI is available for anyone to purchase and take online at www.aub.ie/teachwithai. It is provided at no cost to Auburn University Faculty and Staff. Institutions interested in a site license for their campus should contact the Biggio Center via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.