EDU news curated by Kiosk: The spread of AI influence on campus… and other higher ed news

AI pioneer: ChatGPT will soon become scholars’ ‘debate partner’

From Times Higher Education: “Yike Guo…The professor and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) provost has been researching AI for the better part of three decades. This spring, when other universities banned the use of ChatGPT, he oversaw its adoption at his institution, encouraging lecturers to work the tool into their lesson plans…he said that concerns over cheating and misuse have ‘faded away’ as the use of ChatGPT has become widespread at the institution.The big challenge for teachers is to make their tests more difficult so they cannot easily be answered by AI – and lecturers are already adapting, said Professor Guo. ‘There seems to be a common understanding that this technology is useful.’”


As AI Chatbots Rise, More Educators Look to Oral Exams — With High-Tech Twist

From EdSurge: “As educators have looked to alternatives to assigning essays, one idea that has bubbled up is to bring back oral exams…But even fans of administering oral exams admit a major drawback: They’re time-consuming, and take a lot out of educators…Two undergraduate students who are researchers at Stanford University’s Piech Lab, which focuses on ‘using computational techniques to transform fundamental areas of society,’ believe one way to bring back oral exams may be to harness artificial intelligence. The students, Joseph Tey and Shaurya Sinha, have built a tool called Sherpa that is designed to help educators hear students talk through an assigned reading to determine how well they understood it.”


AI Buzz Dominates Annual Ed-Tech Conference

From Inside Higher Education: ‘“I don’t know if I’ve seen a topic dominate the way AI has this year,’ said Ryan Lufkin, VP of global strategy at Instructure. He’s attended the Educause conference for more than two decades…This year’s AI conversations largely come to the same conclusion: there’s a cautious optimism around the technology…Daniel Skendzel, executive director of teaching and learning at the University of Notre Dame, presented on his institution’s academic innovation hub. ‘We’re going through that emerging tech period of trying to understand and leverage it ethically and most impactfully,’ he said. ‘And it’s going to take time, but absolutely this is a game changer and we can’t hide from it. Well, we would be foolish to hide from it.’”


How AI can help make HE campuses more diverse

From University World News: “An algorithm developed by a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania and nine other researchers is able to ‘read’ college and university application essays and determine pro-social and leadership qualities, says a new study released in Science Advances, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science… today, university and college admissions officers look to these essays as part of their ‘holistic’ judgement of an applicant.”


Aging states to college graduates: We’ll pay you to stay

From Hechinger Report: ‘“From the states’ perspective, if they want people in the state to stay and have kids, reducing debt is going to help people make that decision,’ said Arielle Kuperberg…co-author of a study about how student loan debt affects behavior, commissioned by the Council on Contemporary Families at the University of Texas at Austin…Doctors, dentists and pharmacists who work for at least three years in underserved parts of Utah, for example, can get up to $75,000 of their student loans paid off. South Carolina will pay off up to $5,000 per year of student loans for teachers. Illinois will help repay the student loan debt of school social workers.”


In These Red States, Professors Are Eyeing the Exits

From The Chronicle: “The increasingly assertive involvement of conservative lawmakers in the affairs of higher education has spurred concerns about ‘brain drain’ — talented scholars choosing to leave their states or not considering employment there. Now, new statistics from a survey of faculty members in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas back up those fears: Two-thirds of respondents said they wouldn’t recommend academic work in their state to colleagues. About a third said they were actively considering employment in another state, while 20 percent have interviewed elsewhere since 2021.”


Is ‘Gen P’ Ready for College?

From Inside Higher Education: “This fall’s applicant cohort will be the first to have entered high school during the pandemic. Assessing their college readiness will be a challenge for admissions offices…The extent of that problem is just becoming clear. Last week the ACT released its national average score for the class of 2023: a 19.5 out of 36, the lowest it’s been in over 30 years and the sixth consecutive year of decline. The most precipitous year-over-year ACT score decline came last year, when it fell from 20.3 to 19.8, dipping below 20 for the first time since 1991.”


Direct Admissions Spreads, State by State

From Inside Higher Education: “Wisconsin is just the latest entrant in a wave of state higher education systems to take up the experimental practice. The University System of Georgia launched its own direct admissions program on Oct. 7, and Indiana’s Commission for Higher Education announced an initiative in August. All told, there are now 10 states with system-level direct admissions; some say that number is likely to multiply in the coming year.

‘This fall, [direct admissions] has been the clear trend in state higher ed policy,’ said Tom Harnisch, vice president for government relations at the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.”


Abortion bans complicate medical training, risk worsening OB/GYN shortages

From The Washington Post: “Even before Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, access to abortion training was uneven. Medical schools are not required to offer instruction on it, and students’ experiences vary wildly based on their institution…As a result of this insufficient gynecological training, experts warn, a generation of doctors will be ill-equipped to meet their patients’ needs. And across the country, maternal-care deserts probably will expand, as graduating medical students and residents avoid abortion-restricted states.

More than 30,000 medical students are training in states with abortion bans, according to an analysis by the Hechinger Report of OB/GYN programs and residents.”


Classroom walls are shifting. Professors are open to online instruction-but what form is best?

From The Chronicle: “Professors’ and students’ interests diverge over online coursework. Asked which course modality they preferred, 55 percent of faculty members but only 31 percent of students chose face-to-face courses, according to a spring 2023 survey by Tyton Partners and others. And in every other category student interest was higher than faculty interest.

What might explain that? For one thing, even many faculty members who are willing to teach online feel that they do their best work in an in-person class.”


New SAT Data Highlights the Deep Inequality at the Heart of American Education

From The New York Times: “One-third of the children of the very richest families scored a 1300 or higher on the SAT, while less than 5 percent of middle-class students did…Relatively few children in the poorest families scored that high; just one in five took the test at all…The disparity highlights the inequality at the heart of American education: Starting very early, children from rich and poor families receive vastly different educations, in and out of school, driven by differences in the amount of money and time their parents are able to invest. And in the last five decades, as the country has become more unequal by income, the gap in children’s academic achievement, as measured by test scores throughout schooling, has widened.”

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