Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay in many areas of our lives. In higher education, AI is causing a particular stir with institutions puzzled about how AI should be incorporated into academics and, most importantly, services offered to students. Students in the meantime have increased expectations for personalized, flexible and seamless learning experiences.
It’s no surprise then that out of the students surveyed in a March 2023 Best Colleges survey, 43 percent said they used ChatGPT or a similar AI tool to complete assignments or exams. This aligns with global trends revolving the use of AI in higher education today. Global Market Insights says AI in the Education Market size exceeded $1 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of over 40 percent between 2021 and 2027.
For higher education to remain competitive, universities must adapt to the changing landscape. This includes adapting technological innovations and fostering collaboration between AI and human educators, according to Entrepreneur.
All of this leads to many questions for institutions. Should student service centres incorporate automation entirely and replace human interaction? Should technology play a supportive role, but still prioritize human engagement? Or should these tools be side-lined until a better understanding of how they work, and their potential is unveiled? There are several student service areas where AI can have an impact. There's no doubt that there are numerous operational efficiencies that can be gained. This includes automation, time savings, tailoring the student experience, and offering more precise support.
To understand the complexities of AI’s impact on career centres, Symplicity is launching a three-part series with recommendations to navigate these changes. We hope this will serve as a guide for your institutions and highlight how to utilize these tools to harness the power of new technologies to enhance student experiences and support offices across higher education.
Note: At the time of writing this, this guide is based on Chat GPT 4.1 the latest free version of the program available. AI is a rapidly evolving area of immense change.
What is Chat GPT?
Probably the most popular AI tool within the career services team now is Chat GPT. Created by the San Francisco-based company Open AI, Chat GPT uses natural language processing to create humanlike conversations. The Chat GPT bot can respond to questions and prompts submitted, producing written content, including articles, social media posts, essays, and even code. The dialogue format makes it possible for Chat GPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. Chat GPT has taken the world by storm (and concern), reaching over 100 million users in just two months after it was launched publicly in February 2023.
At the university level, it’s unclear just how many students are using Chat GPT. Yet, institutions are already doubling down on how students can use it by cracking down and investigating students’ use of Chat GPT in cases of cheating and plagiarism for coursework and more.
AI within the career centre
At the heart of their mission career centres enable career exploration, preparation, ongoing support, and guidance. Combining this with the students’ expectations there is a need for rich user experiences that personalise not only the exploration phase, but also the preparation. The interaction between the various technological tools used should be seamless and responsive for any device anywhere.
AI opens the possibility for higher education services to become scalable at an unprecedented rate, both inside and outside the classroom. The changes to higher education are still playing out today and will be for many years to come.
AI within a career centre can be:
- Responsive – Interacting with students, employers, university staff as well as other machines.
- Decisive – Easily make decisions based on information provided i.e. where are the most highly paid analyst opportunities in Europe?
- Adaptive – Utilise new information accordingly and improve its effectiveness.
- Independent – Capable of making its own decisions without constant human input.
Understanding how to use these technologies to work with institutions as tools, rather than in place of human interaction can enable offices to work more effectively to support students.
Stay tuned for part 2 for a deeper dive.
*Co-written by Helena Okolicsanyi